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Dance Lineup - Festivals Aotearoa 2022

Dance audiences will be spoilt for choice this Summer arts festival season; from smaller outdoor performances to large scale world-premiere productions, there is a broad array to discover. Here is a sample of what’s coming up in February and March, and please see below for the full programmes.



Enter a space mesmerisingly transformed by light and sound with BELLE – A Performance of Air. Above and all around you a performance of air is created by internationally renowned aerialists, a live musician and dance artists. Known for her innovative projects and direction on the World of Wearable Art (WOW), Malia Johnston collaborates with fellow artists Rowan Pierce, Jenny Ritchie, Eden Mulholland and an exceptional all female cast. BELLE takes its name from the French word libellule (dragonfly) and is also the name of the show's unique purpose-built piece of circus apparatus. In some cultures, the dragonfly is symbolic for transformation.

Firmly rooted in Te Ao Māori worldview, Taurite is a visually striking large-scale haka dance theatre on the art of balance and duality by celebrated Māori performance company Hawaiki TŪ. With twenty kaihaka (performers), this powerful performance is a physical interpretation that fuses expressions of kapa haka, dance, 3D projections intertwined with ngā taonga tuku iho (treasures of traditional heritage steeped in ancestral roots). Taurite is a collaboration between artistic director Kura Te Ua and senior creatives from the film, theatre, dance and haka sectors including Rereata Makiha, Neil Ieremia, Te Kohe Tuhaka, Louise Potiki Bryant, Eds Eramiha, Paddy Free, Calvin Hudson and Jane Hakaraia.

Royal New Zealand Ballet presents three works by inspiring and internationally celebrated choreographers with Venus Rising. Aurum by RNZB alumna Alice Topp glows with inner light and profound peace. Meditative and moving, this award-winning ballet, created for The Australian Ballet in 2018, is shaped by kintsugi, the Japanese art of healing cracks with pure gold–celebrating the beauty of the broken. RNZB’s choreographer in residence, Sarah Foster-Sproull’s The Autumn Ball, commissioned in 2021, dances through the circle of life with tenderness, grace and floor-filling fun. Global dance legend Twyla Tharp brings the New Zealand premiere of her Waterbaby Bagatelles.

How do you convey the shifting nature of memory? Pōhutu is an ode to the human experience that navigates time, memory, place and loss. A powerful collaboration between choreographer Bianca Hyslop (Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Tūrourangi, Ngāti Wāhiao) and multi-award-winning performance designer and artist Rowan Pierce. Bianca’s grandmother, Ramari Rangiwhiua Morrison (Ginger) is at the heart of this narrative, reflecting on her life’s stories and connection to her ancestral whenua. Pōhutu artfully incorporates image, movement and sound to mirror Ginger’s shapeshifting mind as she grapples with memory loss.

Take a journey with the world's most streamed classical composer Max Richter, as you venture through his reimagined landscape of Vivaldi's pictorial masterpiece The Four Seasons. Led by acclaimed violinist Martin Riseley, musicians from the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra melodically intertwine with dancers of all abilities from inclusive dance company, Jolt. This energetic and evocative performance is a joyous and affirming celebration of movement, music and life.




A new work commissioned by AAF, Waiwhakaata – Reflections in the Water is co-produced and choreographed by Eddie Elliot and performed by Sean MacDonald, Carl Tolentino, Chrissy Kokiri, Faith Schuster, Brydie Colquhoun, Toa Paranihi and Lezharn Avia-Elliott. A return to ancestral origins and legacy. Mystical and magical beings. One man’s journey of self-rediscovery. Contemporary dance, explosive and innovative physical theatre, taonga puoro, and kōrero tuku iho combine to bring us this story of hope and reconnection.

Experience the energy of a multi-genre, multi-influence showcase from this fresh and vibrant street dance crew who have impacted, both nationally and globally, the landscape of urban dance. Melting Pot sees hip hop, street dance, haka, and pacific movement combined with a unique soundtrack of chart toppers, originals, and throwbacks. Join Freshmans Dance Crew and guest artists as they bring together genres, styles, and cultures to create a refreshing and thought-provoking performance of short works that provides a Māori, Pacific, and Indigenous youth lens on social issues.

“Wherever we work, no matter what we do, we must not resist that sudden urge to break into interpretative dance.” That’s the statement that inspired Arts Laureate Ross McCormack to create Artefact – How to Behave in a Museum - a playful site-specific, world premiere dance work. From the visitor hosts to the security team, the people who run the iconic Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum offer rabbit holes of possibility. Featuring NZDC performers Carl Tolentino, Chrissy Kokiri, Katie Rudd, Ngaere Jenkins, Kosta Bogoievski, and Katrina Bastian.


Double Goer – the literal translation of doppelgänger – is a deeply surreal work in which two strikingly similar female performers are born, reborn, meet, battle, and try to find the limits of and spaces between their bodies. The two dancers move between interdependence, love, care, competition, wit, physical agility, and stamina in a terrain of intricately handpainted and radically constructed artefacts. Foster Group Dance, led by acclaimed choreographer Sarah-Foster Sproull alongside established designer/advisor Andrew Foster and dancers/collaborators Rose Philpott and Tamsyn Russell, leaves no stone unturned in its exploration of the power of women’s subjectivity.

Two professional dancers and two ordinary guys are given the same instructions. The complex, refined movements that one man can do with ease, another can only approximate. How they execute them reveals an individual portrait of each man’s character and physicality, as well as an unavoidable comparison between them. Untrained will have you on the edge of your seat as you are launched into an extraordinary and unpredictable display of backspins, turns, and head slides – and a fascinating insight into the stories our bodies tell about masculinity and humanity. Melbourne contemporary dance company Lucy Guerin Inc brings one its most popular works to Aotearoa; while Arts Laureate Ross McCormack returns to the stage to perform one of his career highlights.


View the full Festival Programmes:





Dance Lineup for Festivals 2022

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