Acquisitions - The Beautiful And The Unexpected
By Leah Maclean
Touch Compass Dance Company has been challenging the perceptions of what dance is and who can dance for almost two decades now. Touch Compass is New Zealand’s only professional, inclusive dance company where disabled and non-disabled dancers work together to create high quality contemporary dance.
The company are thrilled to be reviving the popular 2014 multi-media production, Acquisitions, with a new look team. Acquisitions is a two piece production which sits alongside a series of short films. The first piece, Undertide, is by US based choreographers Olive Bieringa and Otto Ramstad. It explores the experience of living within a body and raises questions around how we experience life from the inside out.
The second work is a piece created by company dancers in collaboration with Touch Compass Artistic Director, Catherine Chappell. Watching Windows plays with the idea of scale and physical boundaries. Bodies, objects and moments are hidden and revealed in a journey of discovery and intrigue. The accompanied short films were created as part of the company’s outreach programme and feature the company’s professional dancers with community participants.
“The two works have their own unique beauty about them,” explains latest Touch Compass recruit, Joshua Pether. “They demand a certain physical and emotional quality that is truly specific to that work.” Having attended the 2015 Touch Compass Summer School, Joshua has come across from Australia to work with Touch Compass on Acquisitions. Inspired by the company itself and the opportunity to perform internationally, Joshua made the decision to come across the ditch. “Since being here I have felt completely welcomed and a valued member of the company. There is no hierarchy and we treat each other equally, regardless of how long each of us has been in the company.”
At a young age Joshua underwent an operation to correct Scoliosis but has not let that get in the way of his passion for dance. “In the future I see myself running a similar company to Touch Compass. I am really passionate about providing those opportunities to other dancers who may not fit the mould of the mainstream dancer and to give them a platform in which they can harness their creativity,” says Joshua.
Joining Joshua in the Acquisitions revival is Georgie Goater, Cameron Lansdown-Goodman, Duncan Armstrong, Alisha McLennan, Julie van Renen and Samantha Wood-Rawnsley. Curator and co-choreographer, Catherine Chappell, explains that the production’s choreography draws on the dancers’ unique disabilities and, as such, their differences become artistic features.
“Physical restrictions disappear in Acquisitions ’14 and Touch Compass unequivocally meet their missions making a difference in terms of who can dance,” reviewed Dr. Linda Ashley. If praise for Acquisitions ‘14 is anything to go by, Acquisitions ’15 is sure to be as influential.
The show opens in Hamilton on 21 August and then heads down to Wellington from 27-29 August. “Acquisitions is beautiful, unexpected and has some great people
performing in it!” says Joshua.
For more information see the Touch Compass listing.