Shared Stories of Earthquakes: New Zealand/China Dance Work
Shared Stories of Earthquakes At Heart of New Zealand/China Dance Work
When the shaking stops, what’s left?
Shared experiences of devastating earthquakes in China and Christchurch are at the heart of the dance piece Fault Lines which has its New Zealand premiere at Christchurch Arts Festival this week. Fault Lines is at the Aurora Centre for three nights only from 19-21 September.
Created by Christchurch creative team – choreographer/director Sara Brodie, assistant choreographer Ross McCormack and designer Mark McEntyre – with music composed by Gareth Farr and additional music by Gao Ping and recorded by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, Fault Lines is performed by the dancers of the Leshan Dance Company of southern China and offers a private view of what it is to survive the aftermath of a quake.
The work was commissioned jointly with Melbourne Arts Festival after Festival Director Brett Sheehy travelled to China and saw the company perform a short piece about the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
He saw the potential for the company to work with a Western choreographer and create a full length work and contacted Sara Brodie.
“I had been in Christchurch for the earthquake and it was very much on my mind and in my bones. It affects you in ways you don't expect and I don't think anyone expected there to be such an ongoing series of aftershocks or the emotional toll over time.”
Sara said she was attracted to the idea of working in China – “a place I had very little experience of but which has such a rich, ancient culture and I was excited about what we might create.”
Sara said the shared experience of earthquakes provided the base for the creation of Fault Lines. “There was an overriding feeling that perhaps such things needed to happen to bring us closer together as we all felt the earthquakes had created a greater sense of community and concern for our neighbours than was there previously.”
She said that choreographing with Chinese dancers had challenges. “Their training is entirely different and I have worked with them to build up core strength and release. In the end I think between us we have created our own dance language.”
Fault Lines had its world premiere in Melbourne and Sara said it was strange to perform to an audience which didn’t have the experience of earthquakes and bringing it home to Christchurch will be a different experience.
“Christchurch is my home town – this is where my story has come from and I'm intrigued to see what the response will be. Hopefully Christchurch people will recognise a lot of their own experiences but will connect with the dancers who know so well what they have been through, and open up their hearts to them.”
Fault Lines is at the Aurora Centre in Christchurch for three shows only from 19-21 September as part of Christchurch Arts Festival 2013. Find out more and book tickets at www.artsfestival.co.nz