Rotunda; dancing to a big brass band
The New Zealand Dance Company
August 30 – September 1
The New Zealand Dance Company made a major impact on the New Zealand contemporary dance scene last year when they launched their debut production Language of Living.
This week they have just opened their latest production, Rotunda at Auckland’s Q Theatre.
In reviewing last years production National Business Review described one of the works as ‘Operatic in scope … full of inventive and evocative sequences with marvellous sculptural tableaux, with a small group of dancers using their bodies to create shapes and patterns which expressed personal and collective turmoil".
Rotunda is the company’s first full-length work directed by artistic director Shona McCullagh, choreographed with The New Zealand Dance Company and created in collaboration with singer, songwriter and composer Don McGlashan as musical director.
The production takes an innovative approach to dance in bringing together eight dancers and twenty-five brass band players. It questions what binds us together as people, and brings to life the world of the band rotunda, an iconic symbol of community.
“The creation is timed to coincide with the 2014 – 2018 ANZAC Centenary; marking 100 years since New Zealand’s involvement in the First World War and commemorating those who have fought and served in all wars, conflicts and peace operations over this time. We wanted to honour the themes of loyalty, courage, loss and hope with a contemporary work that will touch a wide audience. The collision of powerful live brass with the beauty and strength of the dancers creates a potent space for creating new connections to dance” says Artistic Director, Shona McCullagh.
As the dancers’ stories weave together we go to the heart of crisis, where sacrifice and courage are played out to the contemporary brass music of Gareth Farr, John Ritchie, Edward Elgar and Don McGlashan, woven with traditional hymns. The work references contemporary culture where conflict, both political and personal, still challenges us.
“There is something in the voice of the brass band, which carries the emotional weight of a community’s joys and sorrows. Hope, aspiration, and loss are things that bind us together as a nation, but which we often find so difficult to express. The social landscape within the Rotunda, as an increasingly lonely ornamental focal point, has both flourished and declined. Our raw, new movement revitalises this space and makes the Rotunda alive again” Ms McCullagh says.