New Zealand School of Dance Graduation Season, 2019

…and demonstrated that truth (as also did a recent film viewing of Douglas Wright’s masterpiece from Royal New Zealand Ballet repertoire, rose and fell—truly superb contemporary choreography being performed by ballet dancers. QED.) O body swayed to music, o brightening glance, how can we know the dancer from the dance?     William Butler Yeats The performance opens with Concerto Barocco by George Balanchine, to the Double Violin concerto by Bach….

Anzac Day 2020. Aotearoa New Zealand

…emia’s early career, as for so many of the dancers who worked with Douglas Wright, absorbed much influence from the driven and airborne choreography  of that master dance-maker. An indelible image that remains with me is from Wright’s The Kiss Inside—a scene in which a gorilla-suited figure passes a tray of cut oranges around a group of boys (a team of rugby players, refreshments at half time?). Soon, just a little older, the same young men are in…

Giselle. A second look

…lgud’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 savour each moment of their dancing and their interpretation of the roles. They were strongest in Act II. Burnett was as light as a feather, a frail wisp, …

The Dream. A second look

…autiful 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 excellent performances as Demetrius and Lysander. Wright in particular was able to demonstrate how skilled Ashton is at incorporating humour into his w…

New Zealand School of Dance Graduation Season, 2018 (2)

…phere it evoked, of dangerous and mysterious forces, of relentless drive and unstoppable momentum. It uncannily evoked history, presaged the future, and kept reminding me of the three books I am reading – Vincent O’Malley’s New Zealand Wars, Stephen Fry’s Mythos, and Douglas Wright’s Terra Incognito. That’s a big ask of a short dance, but just occasionally that’s what choreographic masterpieces can deliver. Jennifer Shennan, 23 November 2018 Featu…

Lumina. New Zealand Dance Company

…side: I saw a few weeks ago a screening at the New Zealand Film Archive of Douglas Wright’s work, Now is the hour, from 1988.  It is extraordinary and insightful choreography, and wonderful that the work has been so skilfully filmed. Shona McCullagh, now artistic director of the NZDC, is in the cast and moves with very great grace. Dance is such an ephemeral art. Anything to save and savour its repertoire is to be treasured. It shows us where we w…

New Zealand School of Dance Graduation 2016

…NZSD and RNZB. Choreography by José Limon, Jiri Kylian, Michael Parmenter, Douglas Wright, Eric Languet, Cameron Mcmillan, Andrew Simmons, Neil Ieremeia, Daniel Belton, Malia Johnston and Laura Jones all come to mind, and that’s just for starters. Thought-provoking. One’s every good wish goes to the students striking out for the next stage of their careers. A graduate company where they might test those waters would be a dream destination. Dreams…

. Choreography by Kelly Nash. Atamira Dance Company        

…of the contemporary dance scene here, freelancer but earlier a protégé of  Douglas Wright and a sometime member of Black Grace, plays Maui. He is both seasoned and innocent, a man with strength yet seemingly unaware of how to harness that. He is Everyman, and not only referencing Maori tradition. His movement has no clichés, but carries a sense of discovery as to what might happen next from moment to moment, position to position. He creates a mime…

Lobsters again, again. Borderline Arts Ensemble

…ancing 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 that scores top marks on every front. You can tell, come the curtain call, how much they have all enjoyed performing, but there’s no such distracting evidenc…

Dance diary. December 2018

…er’s illustrations, done in the style of naïve art, are a delight. Douglas Wright’s ghost dance is a book that has been sitting, unread, on my bookshelf for a long time. Wright’s death earlier this year was my cue to get on with reading it. In his author’s note he writes: ‘ghost dance is not a conventional autobiography with a linear progression through life, but a faithful record of the journeys I felt compelled to make into my own past and that…