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FRINGE '04: Dear God Degas!



Image - Penny Towns

In 1999 following two episodes of breast cancer, Crows Feet Director Jan Bolwell began dancing again at the age of 50.

After her appearance as a dancer in Gaylene Preston’s film Titless Wonders a group of middle aged women approached her and asked if she would take them for classes. They said ‘we are sick of doing aerobic dance classes with a bunch of 20 to 30 year olds.’

Crows Feet Dance Collective was born, and their first gig was in front of a group of Wellington businesswomen, dancing at the launch of Osteoporosis New Zealand – an appropriate beginning!
They were soon on the stage again, performing in two highly successful concerts Throwing Like A Girl and Cross Currents.

Now they are back with a new Fringe festival programme Dear God, Degas! a wickedly irreverent look at the painter of dancers, Edgar Degas.
‘We thought it would be a hoot to have a group of older women with normal sized bodies dressed up in tutus’ says director and choreographer Jan Bolwell. ‘Ballet is an art form associated with youth and extremely thin bodies. We want to turn that image upside down. And besides, wanting to be a ballerina is such a universal dream for so many young girls.’

The Crows are busy going through the family photograph albums retrieving photos of themselves as budding ballerinas that will feature in the programme.

Their second dance is called ‘Women’s Work’, a light hearted romp through women’s occupations climaxing with the appearance of the Governor General, the Chief Justice, the Prime Minister and of course the Queen!

Bolwell says ‘This dance is a sort of processional. We are using Ravel’s Bolero, an extremely well known, almost hackneyed piece of music. The challenge is to make such a repetitive score visually interesting for the audience, and for us to remember where the hell we are throughout the work!’

Appearing with them on the programme are guests Carolyn McKeefry, Lyne Pringle and Kilda Northcott.

Crows Feet Dance Collective will give four performances at the Wellington Performing Arts Centre, 36 Vivian Street from
March 5 - 7th, 2004.


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