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Dance Troupe Returns To NZ

Dance Troupe Returns To NZ

American Fulbright alumna Emily Cross returns to New Zealand tomorrow, with her full dance troupe the Dartmouth Dance Ensemble in tow. Ms Cross, from New Hampshire, first came to New Zealand as a Fulbright US Graduate Student in 2002, completing a Master of Science in Psychology at the University of Otago. A practising dancer, she performed with Dunedin modern hip-hop dance company Slightly Synthetic throughout her stay. On this return visit to New Zealand, Emily and the Dartmouth Dance Ensemble will perform in several New Zealand towns, instructing and collaborating with local performers in the Fulbright programme’s spirit of increasing mutual understanding through international exchange.

The sixteen member Dartmouth Dance Ensemble is comprised of undergraduate and graduate students of the ivy league Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, who perform under the direction of Ford Evans. The multinational group includes members from China, Israel, Japan and the US who study academic fields as broad as economics, molecular biology, Native American studies and creative writing in addition to dance. In New Zealand they will perform works by internationally renowned dance luminaries Laura Dean and Twyla Tharp, as well as their own work Complexities.

Their programme in New Zealand includes performances in Lower Hutt, Kaikoura, Dunedin and Wellington. At Waiwhetü Marae in Lower Hutt the ensemble will exchange performances and ideas with a local kapa haka group. In Dunedin they will spend two days performing for and collaborating with University of Otago Dance Studies students. Emily Cross will give a lecture on her recent neuroscience research into functional changes within dancers’ brains as they learn complex new sequences of movements. Her lecture will be coupled with a performance of the same dance piece studied in her cutting-edge research.

The Dartmouth Dance Ensemble’s visit to New Zealand will also include a tour of Alexander Turnbull Library’s dance archives with Fulbright alumna Jennifer Shennan, a lecturer in dance at Victoria University of Wellington. Dr Peter Adds, also from Victoria University, will lecture the group on Mäori and New Zealand history and culture, and they will take a day off to enjoy the sites of Queenstown.


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