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New Zealand School of Dance Choreographic Season

New Zealand School of Dance Choreographic Season 2014

The New Zealand School of Dance in Wellington presents their annual Choreographic Season from 16 May, introducing a series of new works choreographed by third year contemporary dance students. The Residents is a theatrical, curious and technically impressive contemporary dance show, inspired by the students’ own eclectic backgrounds.

James Wasmer’s choreography explores aspects of his dual heritage, “I chose my work to be inspired by the carnival in Waldkirch. It is something I looked forward to with great anticipation year after year growing up in Germany. Since moving back to New Zealand I was also able to further explore my Tongan heritage, especially in the performing arts. I was intrigued in finding ways of using both my German and Tongan side in order to create an exciting and unique experience for the New Zealand audiences.”

The Residents inhabit a distressed, deconstructed world, with doors that float and staircases that lead to nowhere. A place where they come together by chance, uncovering mystery, chaos and creation through movement.

Jeremy Beck, another student choreographer of The Residents, says his work takes the audience on a journey with a mix of visual and movement based scenes, “The most exciting thing about choreographing your own work, is being able to make imagination reality. I want my piece to feel like a journey and I want the audience to take their own experience away with them”.

The Residents is a feast for the senses, with set and lighting design by students of Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School and costume design by Jane Boocock and Donna Jefferis. With a dismantled set and costumes - a fireplace here, a crinoline there - enhanced by an evocative soundscape, you will come away from this dance show with a sense of intrigue and surreal images burnt into your memory.

“Choreographic Season is an incredible opportunity for us to explore our creativity as dancers and develop our individual choreographic voice,” said third year contemporary dance student Tessa Hall. “I’m really enjoying the fact that every day I learn something new about lighting, music editing, set and costume design and I can’t wait to be part of the final product.”

Students train at tertiary level for 2-3 years at the School to become professional dancers. Choreographing their own work is a core aspect of the course and an essential skill for a career in contemporary dance. The School’s Choreographic Season shows the culmination of these three years of exploration into the art of choreography.

The participating students have worked hard to get the show on the stage this year, completing a unique fundraising stunt of dancing through a door 1000 times on Cuba Street in Wellington in April. The challenge, which took over two hours to complete in pouring rain, raised the money needed to install a repurposed film set into the theatre.


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