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Performed Close Enough To Touch [Please Don’t Touch] Except…COVID

Fresh from a sell-out 2021 Dunedin Fringe season, object and dance artist Jess Quaid has curated a night of dance and installation from seemingly-perpetually-locked-down Tāmaki Makaurau.

Two performance solos, an intimately decorated space, INHERENT AWKWARDNESS entices an audience into an exploration of femaleness that is close enough to touch but untouchable. Two dancers, one encompassing installation with stories and projection mapping, tea and knitting, a wolf and a warrior, and bodily forms just out of reach.

For Quaid’s debut curatorial performance night, she has invited women-identified artists who welcome clumsy beauty, vibrant uncertainty, and spatial negotiation. “I wanted a sense of intimacy that was reachable but untouchable. Accessible but discomfiting.” She explains. “Performing under COVID-19 restrictions has shifted this dynamic, but reinforces this layer of the mysterious woman, revealing her primal stories”.

INHERENT AWKWARDNESS features Disssordered Deficit of Active Attention by explicit body performance artist Virginia Kennard. A work that premiered at Experimental Dance Week Aotearoa 2021, Kennard places her dance body in an empty bath, unpacking and processing her recent ADHD diagnosis via cups of tea, knitting and, strangely, sex work stories. Awkward silences around woman’s autonomy much?

Quaid has choreographed new dance work Red for this season, whereby her body becomes a forest dweller’s retelling of Red Riding Hood. Weaving text and movement into an exploration of character and desire, Quaid’s physicality and dynamic prowess shines in this choreographic play between dance and voice.

Using detritus and disposability and womanness as a conceptual framework, Dunedin-based installation artist Maggie Covell creates a response to both performance solos through the notion of readdressing or re-dressing the space as a form of connectivity. Projection mapping and time-based installation graphics creates an immersive experience, conflating public and private.

This triple-bill is explicit, exquisitely watchable, and performed close enough to touch. Domestic yet mystic, familiar yet discombobulating. Covell explains “These performance works make space for my inquiries into wallpaper as a sophisticated skin in a domestic space, and the intrasection of private, domestic, and public spaces.” Virginia simply ironically wonders “what is the conceptual framework for my queer body in a bath?”

We’re inviting you in…But. Please don’t touch.


Fri 18 - Sun 20 March 2022, various times and venues
Streaming online from Mon 21 March 2022

Tickets available here

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