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Fringe Review: Footnote Perforum

Fringe Review: Footnote Perforum

Review by Rory MacKinnon

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Footnote Perforum
Footnote Dance Company
Choreographed by Sarah Foster & Claire O’Neill
Anita Hunziker, Sarah Knox, Jeremy Poi, Francis Christeller, Lucy Marinkovich, Jesse Wikirwihi
Tarrant Dance Studios, 125 Cuba St
18 February

Footnote’s Perforum is unique amongst Fringe’s offerings: with no costume, no set and nervous adlibs accompanying each piece it’s more an open rehearsal than a performance in itself. That said, Footnote has a well-deserved reputation as one of the country’s foremost dance companies and the shows are an opportunity to see their work stripped of spectacle.

Thursday’s performance saw works from two choreographers, Sarah Foster and Claire O’Neill. Foster’s three quirky pieces are part of a work for the company’s Made In New Zealand tour later this year, while O’Neill’s is a radical restaging of her epic MTYLAND for next month’s International Arts Festival.

Foster’s offerings showed a clear collaborative approach with two pieces inspired by that staple of school projects – Google search returns – and a third inspired by awkward conversation and inappropriate touching. The work was brief and expectedly raw, but Footnote’s dancers proved more than capable and Jeremy Poi and Francis Christeller’s duet stood out as a vigorous and tense exploration of manipulation and confrontation.

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O’Neill’s excerpts from MTYLAND were more polished and complex affairs, drawing inspiration from Sun Tzu’s Art Of War. The eerie, pregnant Crossing The Sea Without Heaven’s Knowledge saw dancers slinking in unison and looming over one another like mythic figures, all to a traditional Chinese instrumental by Herman Martin.

The second excerpt, Waiting Leisurely For An Exhausted Enemy, was less conventional: dancer Sarah Knox writhed in her colleagues’ arms like a petulant child, spouting clichés in a frustrated monologue and generally running herself ragged. Coupled with The Velvet Underground’s Sweet Jane, it’s an odd but striking counterpoint to the heroism of Crossing The Sea that offers itself to the vanquished rather than the victor.

Footnote’s Perforum sessions are probably not for the general public – the pieces are by necessity brief and disjointed – but they indicate great things on the horizon for Footnote this year.


Footnote's MTYLAND will be at the Festival of the Arts from 27 Feb to 1 March: New Dance Programme Defies Borders - RESTAGE to Support New Zealand Performance
Perforum press release
Scoop Full Coverage: Arts Festival 2010

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