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$100,000 Fellowship granted for experimental choreography

$100,000 Fellowship granted for immersive experimental choreography


“I rage against the idea of dance as an elitist art form,” says dance practitioner Sacha Copland, who has been granted the $100,000 Creative New Zealand Choreographic Fellowship to bring her experimental, highly-participatory project, Beginning Again, to life.

“I think now in 2019, everything is becoming more polarised and art needs to be louder, dirtier and bigger,” says Sacha, an award-winning dancer, choreographer, and founder and Artistic Director of Java Dance Theatre.

“Art needs to play a role in connecting people and I believe the kind of work that can achieve this is interactive, site-specific and participatory,” she adds.

Sacha intends to use the fellowship for the research and development of three concepts which draw on participatory performance practices, bringing people from all walks of life closer to each other.

The first is a street work involving 100 volunteer dancers who are all physically linked. Sacha’s second idea is site-specific, gestural, relational choreography, involving two houses and the street between them. Audiences will start in one house, and move to the other, this movement becoming part of the piece.

Sasha also plans to experiment with outdoor choreography involving the performers carrying people for long distances.

“After 15 years of choreographing, producing, finding markets and extensive touring, it’s the right time for me to explore new ideas without preconceived parameters. As with all of my work, people will remain at the heart of the ideas,” says Sasha.

Creative New Zealand’s Chief Executive Stephen Wainwright says, “We’re really pleased to be supporting choreographers like Sacha to develop works that are engaging, and stimulating for participants.”

“Encouraging community involvement in works like this help connect people, which is what we are always striving to achieve as an arts sector,” he says.

The biennial Creative New Zealand Choreographic Fellowship is awarded to a choreographer who has produced a significant body of work. It provides time and resources for the fellow to commit to a period of investigation, experimentation or research in their practice.

Previous recipients include: Sarah Foster-Sproull (2017), Ross McCormack (2015), Malia Johnston (2013), Catherine Chappell (2011), Daniel Belton (2009), Lemi Ponifasio (2008), Michael Parmenter (2006), Douglas Wright (2005), and Shona McCullagh (2004).


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