Douglas Wright (1956–2018)

Douglas James Wright, dreamer of dances by Jennifer Shennan Douglas Wright, dancer, choreographer, writer, poet, visual artist, has died at the age of 62. An obituary is normally about the deceased, but I begin with my declaration of conflict of interest (actually, deeply shared interest)—namely, that Douglas is the single most important artist in my life. His fearless vision through an astonishingly prolific artistic output moved us beyond…

Between Two. Kelly Nash and Douglas Wright

…slow down time and embrace a five-month-old baby? The first dance. All four performers take a simple graceful bow and walk quietly away. M_Nod, which is a nod to Morpheus, the god of dreams, opens with the recorded voice of Douglas Wright instructing us ‘Please close your eyes’ and so we do. After a minute or two ‘Please open your eyes’ and so we do. The scene is now set with a prone figure in a shroud, his head beneath…

The DANZ season of Limbs @ 40. Tempo Dance Festival

…phy, each move grows out of the one that went before, so is both parent and child of itself. A miracle of a dance, here exceptionally well performed by Unitec dancers. Emily Hancock, Oliver Carruthers and Atalya Loveridge in Douglas Wright’s Knee Dance. Photo: © Amanda Billing Perhaps Can is a sensuous solo for a skirted woman who does a kind of slow motion flamenco number to Miles Davis’ The Pan Piper. A reverie, made in 1979 by…

The Kiss Inside. Douglas Wright Dance Company

…fectly judged atmosphere that carries throughout. The Pina Bausch season here will soon show equally rich and imaginative performances, the major difference between the two companies being the level of resources their respective countries have made available to them over decades. Wim Wenders in his celebrated film, Pina, has done her proud. Leanne Pooley in her splendid documentary, Haunting Douglas, has done the same for Douglas Wright, and us….

From 1993 …

…as Wright’s. The review was originally published in Dance Australia in the issue of February/March 1994. Truly thrilling GLORIA, THE PROTECTING VEIL Sydney Dance Company Opera Theatre, Sydney Opera House November 1993 Douglas Wright’s 1990 piece Gloria and Graeme Murphy’s new The Protecting Veil opened what turned out to be a thrilling season of dance. Gloria, performed to Vivaldi’s choral piece of the same name, is Wright’s tribute to a…

The Dream. A second look

…ion. It was a lovely, serene performance, despite the medical emergency that was going on in the auditorium at the time. The Dream looked mostly as beautiful as it did on opening night, this time with Miwako Kubota and Jared Wright taking the leading roles of Titania and Oberon. Wright stood out in his solo variation in the final pas de deux. His movements were beautifully shaped and coordinated. Andrew Wright and Christopher Rodgers-Wilson gave…

Swan Lake—Loch na hEala. Michael Keegan-Dolan

…, in the central role (revives memories of Douglas Wright’s choreographies when Alex was in the cast). The exquisite Rachel Poirier is a wounded Dying Swan for our time (as Kilda Northcott was a few years back, muse to Douglas). Keegan-Dolan is to Ireland what Wright has always been to New Zealand, and that has to be my highest praise to them both. Kia ora korua. Salute to the pair of you. Rachel Poirier as Finola in Michael…

The Royal New Zealand Ballet at 60. Jennifer Shennan & Anne Rowse

…unt of performing the leading role in Petrouchka is, quite simply, a rare privilege. It is unusual to hear in some depth from artists about their approach to a role and their thoughts as they prepare for and then perform it. Wright’s essay is followed by a poem, ‘Herd’ written by Wright and beginning with the delicious line ‘a herd of cows does not need a choreographer’. Readers may be surprised at how the poem ends too! One…

Giselle. A second look

…ers, senior artist Juliet Burnett and coryphée Jared Wright, appeared for the first time in the leading roles of Giselle and Albrecht in Maina Gielgud’s Giselle. In rehearsal for Giselle. (l-r) Juliet Burnett and Jared Wright; Jared Wright; Juliet Burnett and Robyn Hendricks. All photos © Lynette Wills, 2015 Perhaps what stood out more than anything for me was the way in which both Burnett and Wright looked unhurried. There was time to…

Lobsters again, again. Borderline Arts Ensemble

…the moment of choreographic collaboration’ sounds like hogwash to me. I prefer Yeats, see below. Dynamics of light and shade in the fully committed dancing body that is not fearful of itself seem like a rare treat nowadays. Douglas Wright always offered that in spades, but he doesn’t choreograph any more. Lobsters has caught it, thank goodness. So an accolade please, to Lucy Marinkovich, for choreographing a stunning and super little show…