Earthly delights and animalistic desires

MIKE MATHER
Last updated 13:42 03/10/2013
Fringe festival
Supplied/Blair McTaggert

Beyond the Fringe: Rosa Provost, left, and Natalie Maria Clark, who hails from Cambridge, perform in the dance choreography Demigod/Half Human.

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It has been described as "Alien meets Exorcist in an Hieronymus Bosch garden of earthly delights and horrors" - so what is a nice Cambridge girl doing in a production like this?

Demigod/Half-Human is a haunting, revealing and provocative new dance choreography about people's most primordial desires. Being staged in Hamilton as part of the two-week Fringe Festival programme of events, the production features former Cambridge resident and contemporary dancer Natalie Maria Clark in a big role.

The show is choreographed by Clark's colleague and former dance school classmate Shani Dickins, who won the Wallace Arts Emerging Artist Award at Auckland's Short+Sweet dance festival earlier this year.

An old student of Sacred Heart Girls' College, the Cambridge School of Dance, Footwork Dancesport Studio and Directions School of Dance, Clark now lives in Auckland, where she graduated from Unitec with a bachelor of performing and screen arts (contemporary dance) in 2011.

She returned to Hamilton in July with Okareka Dance Company's show K' Rd Strip on tour manager duties.

Clark's own choreography, How To Make Friends and Still Appear Normal, toured New Zealand in late 2012 and early 2013 and won the best dance and best newcomer titles at the New Zealand Fringe Festival Awards.

She said she had always admired Dickins' choreography.

"To assist Shani with creating her work and bringing it to my home is an absolute delight."

Clark still has roots in the Cambridge community. For the past two years she has choreographed St Peter's School's end-of-year show - something she will do again this year.

More information about Clark, can be found on her website nataliemaria.weebly.com, which includes a link to her poetry-filled blog.

Demigod/Half-Human is an investigation into what it means to be human, stuck in the conflict between having animalistic desires and being expected to act "civilised". It features historical, religious and cultural icons being morphed and manipulated, juxtaposing the mundane with the absurd.

Writing in Theatreview, critic Linda Ashley described the production as dark and scary - "gripping my attention and leading off somewhere into the midst of Alien meets Exorcist, in an Hieronymus Bosch garden of earthly delights and horrors."

Demigod/Half-Human features original compositions by James Risby, costume design by Fraser Mildon and lighting by Ruby Reihana-Wilson.

It is being staged at The Loft Space, 32b Alexandra St, tomorrow and Saturday night at 8pm.

Tickets cost $10 from hamiltonfringe.co.nz, although a small booking fee may apply.

mike.mather@waikatotimes.co.nz

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