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May 20, 2014

An evening of inventiveness at the New Zealand School of Dance’s The Residents

Jack Yan/14.18

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Stephen A’Court

Top Third year New Zealand School of Dance students, choreographers of The Residents. Above Amanda Mitrevski and Michael Ramsay.

Wellingtonians have a few more days to get to the New Zealand School of Dance at Te Whaea at 11 Hutchison Road, Newtown—the old Show Buildings complex—to check out The Residents, a series of works from the third-year contemporary dance students, supported by second-year contemporary majors.
   The show opens strongly with ‘Fade’, which takes the audience on a surreal journey with radio waves, a mysterious doorway and a feeling of dissonance as we relate to the dancer who finds herself in a new world. The performance, choreographed by Jeremy Beck, set a very high standard. As with ‘Fade’, subsequent acts had dancers move very purposefully and every part of the stage had some dance activity.
   The door was used as a central part of the action in ‘The Game’. Placed centre-stage, the audience was then invited to interact by providing commands to Ally, one of the dancers, to lead her through the door. Once she was through, one audience member could choose one of three outcomes: A, B, and C. It was inventive with a feeling of suspense throughout.
   The romantic ‘Surpreme Arcitecture’ (sic) told the story of a bee and pollination, through a dancer dressed in a suit choosing from others in their costumes; while love was the central theme in ‘Pink!ish’, where ‘Sempre Libera’ from La Traviata suddenly cut in at numerous points (with bright lighting effects to boot) during the main performance about the uncertainty and madness of relationships.
   Roymata Holmes’s ‘Born under a Bad Star’ blended traditional dance with the choreographer’s Cook Island heritage, while in the final segment, ‘Fasnet’, James Wasmer explored his dual German–Tongan heritage with a carnival theme.
   For those who love 1940s music, ‘In the Mood’ begins with the Glenn Miller number and one dancer in the role of the Tramp, as Chaplin’s ‘Smile’ and other numbers are played. ‘Line’ was The Residents at its most inventive in the second half, with ribbons running across the stage like webs, literally tying performers between them.
   The annual Choreographic Season, directed by Victoria Colombus, began on May 16 and runs through May 24. Set and lighting designs are by the students of Toi Whakaari, the New Zealand Drama School, with costumes by Jane Boocock and Donna Jefferis. It is the culmination of the three years’ work by the School of Dance’s students.
   Ticket prices are NZ$23 for adults, NZ$17 for students, seniors and groups of 10 or more, and NZ$12 for children under 13. There is a cash bar with a good selection of wine. For bookings and more information, visit www.nzschoolofdance.ac.nz.—Jack Yan, Publisher

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