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New Zealand School of Dance Choreographic Season 2015

New Zealand School of Dance Choreographic Season 2015

The New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) showcases the choreography of eleven final year students in this year’s Choreographic Season. The show presenting contemporary dance at its freshest and most creative will be at Te Whaea: National Dance & Drama Centre in Wellington 15-23 May.

KARST, directed by Contemporary Dance Tutor and NZSD graduate Victoria Colombus, steps out of the theatre creating a multi-layered world, where the dancers interact with an ever-changing space around them. Multimedia projections on the walls, floor and other on-stage elements continuously transition the space for both the audience and the performers. Victoria said, "Changing the performance space means the students have to think outside the normal realms of traditional theatre. This challenge is bringing interesting results, both creativity and exploration, into the choreography."

Photo by Stephen A’Court

The highly physical choreography is influenced and inspired by the architecture and size of the space. Third year contemporary dance student Laura Beanland-Stephens reflected on this, “The space is a piece of art in itself, it has its own story and character. It is our task to add to this established picture, to highlight, reflect, or juxtapose by incorporating the characteristics and architecture of the space into our work.”

The dancers impress the audience with their athleticism and agility. From time to time, they display almost theatrical expression using nuanced gestures and organic movements while moving through the space. Student-choreographer Tyler Carney said, “Creating work for a space that is not a traditional dance-stage was both challenging and exciting. It was refreshing to have all these unique elements to play with, but it also required a lot more thought about the use of space in relation to the audience’s perception and journey during the performance.”

Some of the visuals used in the performance were created by 3rd year contemporary dance student Jacob Edmonds. The movement of the space is enhanced with lighting and design by students from Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School, allowing the audience to experience the work from different perspectives. Toi graduate Te Aihe Butler created a unique soundscape just for the show. Costumes designed by Donna Jefferis add drama to this inventive collection of new dance works.

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.


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