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Olivia O’Brien Announced as DANZ Dance Residency Recipient

Media release (for immediate release)

Tuesday 19 November 2019

Olivia O’Brien Announced as DANZ Dance Residency Christchurch Recipient

Dance Aotearoa New Zealand (DANZ), has selected Olivia O’Brien as the recipient of the 2019 DANZ Dance Residency at The Arts Centre Te Matatiki Toi Ora in Christchurch. The residency is being delivered for the first time in Christchurch by DANZ in partnership with The Arts Centre and Movement Art Practice (MAP).

Sheryl Lowe, DANZ Executive Director says: “With the ongoing restoration and repopulation of The Arts Centre, DANZ felt Christchurch was an exciting place to host our third dance residency. We hope this residency will contribute to the reinvigoration of the Arts and Dance community in Christchurch and help to build on the wonderful progress already being made.”

In an exciting new collaboration between DANZ, The Arts Centre and Movement Art Practice, the residency will be hosted over two weeks in Christchurch. The residency is set to take place in November in alignment with the inaugural Ōtautahi Tiny Performance Festival (30 November), curated by Movement Art Practice. The DANZ Dance Residency is aimed at an independent dance artist seeking to develop their practice and is part of DANZ’s strategy to further expand its support to new graduates in the professional dance sector. The first DANZ Dance Residency, which took place at Saint Kentigern College in Auckland earlier this year, was awarded to Unitec graduate Caitlin Davey, who presented her work About Others at the TEMPO Dance Festival in October.

Olivia will be based at The Arts Centre from 18 - 29 November 2019 and will have the opportunity to work with assigned dancers and to have access to a dance mentor throughout the two-week period of the residency. At the end of the residency she will present the work she has created at a showing at the Ōtautahi Tiny Performance Festival. She will also facilitate a workshop at The Arts Centre.

Julia Harvie of Movement Art Practice says: "It is vital that we support the next wave of performance makers and build an audience for them here in Ōtautahi. We want the rest of the country to see Ōtautahi as a city where art can be made, artists can flourish and present their work. We are delighted to be partnering with DANZ and the The Arts Centre to provide this opportunity for Olivia O'Brien and we look forward to seeing where the residency takes her."

Raised in Christchurch, Olivia studied with Garmonsway School of Dance and Hagley Dance Company before moving to Auckland where she is in her final year at Unitec in the Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts (Contemporary Dance).

“I am excited for the opportunity to return to my hometown, Christchurch, for this residency to develop my practice. For me, this residency will allow me to come home and re-establish old connections and relationships”, says Olivia.

Dance residencies fill a vital gap and respond to a need for more dance development platforms for independent dance artists, contributing in a very direct and positive way on their professional growth.

The Arts Centre chief executive Philip Aldridge says the complex is delighted to partner with DANZ for this residency.

“The Arts Centre provides opportunities for artists from all forms to develop their professional practice in a variety of ways, and we see this residency as a chance to champion the cultivation of emerging choreographers in Ōtautahi Christchurch.

“We look forward to welcoming Olivia and supporting her and her project.”

Olivia’s residency project, From Residence, will be developed as a duet on her residency dancers, and will explore her interest in making work that pushes boundaries, provoking and subverting expectations through well crafted, dynamic and virtuosic movement. As an emerging artist, choreographer and member of the newly established Mammoth Dance Productions, it is important for her to maintain the momentum that she has gained from Unitec and take any opportunity to practice making, developing and crafting work.

“The residency will allow me to make my first work outside of Uni in the place where it all started for me, which will be a very special and rare experience. This opportunity has the potential to kickstart my career in the right way and will give me the chance to grow and develop as an artist.”


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