New Zealand Dance News – February

By Rain Francis of Dance Informa.

Here is the latest New Zealand Dance News!

The New Zealand Dance Company are soon to embark on an Australasian tour of Rotunda – a  tribute to the Centenary of the WW1 ANZAC landing at Gallipoli. The production received standing ovations at every performance earlier this year at the Holland Dance Festival. Featuring the New Zealand Army Band and a score by Don McGlashan, the Rotunda tour kicks off in Tauranga on March 13 and travels to Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, before finishing up its Auckland season on Anzac Day at the Aotea Centre with North Shore Brass. It then heads to Australia, performing in Adelaide, Melbourne, Parramatta and Geelong. Tickets are available here, and you can watch a preview of the work in the Rotunda webisodes, here.

After a sell-out season of 37 shows and 4 to 5 star reviews at the largest arts festival on earth in Edinburgh, Java Dance Company returns to NZ to create two new works for Capital E before premiering the greatly anticipated Wine Project. Dirt & Other Delicious Ingredients is a production for 3 to 8 year-olds, where three dancers “mould dust into works of art, twigs into fences and rocks into everything under the sun”. Streets of Gold, for 7 to 14 year-olds, is an interactive performance installation where “no two paths are ever the same”.

While in Europe, Java’s artistic director Sacha Copland choreographed a commission for Dance4 in Nottingham and continued to develop The Wine Project in Burgundy, France through a residency at La Porte Peinte in Noyer-Sur-Serein.


‘Mother/Jaw – Hero’. Photo by Richard Symons.

New Zealand School of Dance graduate Andre Santos was recently promoted to soloist with the West Australian Ballet, following a stellar season of Snow White and the 7 Dwarves. Also, recent graduates Jesse Holmes and Benjamin Obst have joined the company’s Young Artist Programme.

Part of the Auckland Pride Festival, Freak Show is a dance showcase extravaganza challenging societal rules on gender and breaking them. It’s about no longer being victims, but vanguards to the system; about taking risks and pushing the boundaries. Freak Show is a 45-minute showcase fusing New Zealand’s Pacific heritage with voguing and hip hop; a multi-disciplinary experience combining dance, projection and theatre elements. Mario Faumui and Amanaki Prescott-Faletau present Freak Show, which plays at the Mangere Arts Centre on February 19 and 20. 

The Auckland Fringe boasts a number of dance works this year, including 3 in 2 1, Jabber and Mother/Jaw at The Basement, and Stripped Bare at the Q Theatre Loft.

3 in 2 1 (9 – 12 Feb) is a trio of new short works from three up-and-coming choreographers, Sam Wood-Rawnsley, Jesse Quaid and Amy Mauvan. Working collaboratively between two countries and developing work with composer Andrew Batt-Rawden, these young choreographers explore themes of identity and rethinking what we know – and what we see.


‘Jabber’. Photo courtesy of Gracie Pilgrem, Vivian Hosking-Aue and Chloe Baynes.

Jabber (25 – 27 Feb) is a triple bill choreographed by Gracie Pilgrem, Vivian Hosking-Aue and Chloe Baynes, drawing on Lewis Carroll’s famous nonsensical poem, The Jabberwocky. Consumerism, translation, confusion, debauchery and fantasy are explored in a whimsically macabre interpretation of the beast. Original score by Thomas Stoneman.

Mother/Jaw (25 – 28 Feb)  is inspired by Grace Taylor’s poetry collection Afakasi Speaks. It is choreographed by Jahra Rager Wasasala and Grace Woollett, with music by Addison Chase.

Stripped Bare (12 – 14 Feb and 17 – 18 Feb) is a “gaunt, stark and beautiful” solo exploring vulnerability, silence and emotional intensity.

The Auckland Fringe takes place between February 11 and March 1. For more information, head to

Photo (top): Sacha Copland in ‘Wine Project’. Photo Emma Hellowell.

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