Review of workshop performance at Waikato University, 25 September 2008
ENORMOUS TALENT SECRETED AWAY
Company Z dance Trust and Auckland University of Technology Dance Collective presented a most extraordinary event on Thursday of last week at The Waikato University, Hamilton. This revived company, under the inimitable artistic directorship of Timothy Gordon, presented a work in progress, a rehearsal demonstration and then completed costumed sections of the Lilburn Variations.
Renowned critic and musician, William Dart spoke about Lilburn, connecting us the New Zealandness and the history behind this embryonic work.
A slightly bemused audience drank in the spectacle of sunset starting, kowhai trees beyond the studio windows and the irregular looming of cyclists and walkers moving past outside. Timothy used these images to invent an imagery, sensory backdrop for his dancers, to encourage them to feel beyond the space of the choreographic invention.
Mature dance artistry in the bodies of Benny Ord, Estelle Vermeulen and Simon Pointon was exquisitely matched by newcomers Caroline Gray, Sassy Niven, Britt Carter, Jonelle Kawana and Beata Mathews.
The work is exhausting; exhaustive use of balance and spiral turns dusts off these beautiful musical scores. There was a clear sense of ownership of the music - of our place. As much of New Zealand dance like this is secreted away, hardly watched and mightily underfunded, I felt emotional, desperate even.
This choreographic artist has an enormous talent and the clear support of artists like himself from other disciplines. His dancers are committed and extraordinary.
The event was memorable - a real treasure. How can it be that this critical expression (similarly well beyond the boundaries of choreographic event) of us, as a people, is so consistently denied access and care?