The Double Bill Show You’ll Be Sorry You Missed
In ‘Stage of Being’, The New Zealand Dance Company (NZDC) presents a double bill featuring works by established choreographers with a rich history of collaboration with the company. The production marks a significant milestone for NZDC, celebrating a decade of boundary-breaking contemporary dance.
The performance begins with Tupua Tigafua’s ‘LittleBits and AddOns‘, transporting the audience into an ethereal realm in which the line between comfort and unease becomes blurred. Set to a folky composition by David Long, the piece evokes a sense of nostalgia, bouncing between themes of novelty, memory and mortality. The cleverly presented metaphors used aren’t lost on the audience either; even I, someone who was essentially kicked out of my hip-hop troupe in year 6, could grasp the messages the movements were designed to convey.
The dancers embody the personalities of their characters entirely, moving with a sense of serenity before launching into animalistic displays. We see chicken impressions (amongst those of other animals that I couldn’t quite identify) and dancing sacks, tackling themes of consumerism and industrialization. Yet even with these heavy themes, the performance remains personal, almost like a stream of consciousness, and consistently captivating, even to (and I can’t stress this enough) someone with no knowledge of dance whatsoever.
The tension established in ‘LittleBits and AddOns’ reaches fever pitch in the following ‘Made in Them,’ which examines the ways in which we’re shaped by our environment. Choreographed by Xin Ji and Xiao Chao Wen, the piece opens with a potent solo by the talented Katie Rudd. The lighting rig is lowered during this section, embedding the performance with a dystopian tone. Dancers are clad in black jumpsuits and glistening black helmets, virtually identical; conforming.
Their movements become erratic, as if the dancers are beginning to glitch under the pressure of the modern world. It’s an evocative display; distressing yet somehow familiar. It poses the question of whether we’re able to establish an authentic sense of self or if who we are is simply pre-determined by the systems, people and objects that surround us. To be able to capture the high emotionality of being caught between opposing forces or the desire for authenticity vs conformity is a great feat, speaking to the incredible talent of Xin Ji and Xioa Chao Wen.
The enchanting performances on this double bill signify a new era for The New Zealand Dance Company. With equal homage paid to past, present and future, they expertly push the boundaries of contemporary dance, establishing meaning and showcasing great talent while still proving accessible for dance novices like myself.
Artists On Artists
After an incredibly successful first year, Artists on Artists is set to return to Tamaki Makaurau from the 10th of May, and it’s an event you won’t want to miss. Like links in a chain, each artist in the exhibition is the subject of another artist’s work; a concept that allows artists the opportunity to step out from behind the frame and be celebrated as the subject.
Artists On Artists highlights the importance of interconnectedness in the art world, of collaboration and of homage. Audience members will also have the opportunity to take part in the ‘draw and be drawn’ event, in which each participant will take on the role of both the artist and the subject.
Artists On Artists Will Run From May 11th to June 8th at Studio One Toi Tū