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NZ Dance Company's 'Kiss the Sky' heralds Matariki

Kiss the Sky brings international choreographers from Aotearoa, Korea and Australia. 

John Daly-Peoples
Fri, 16 Jun 2017

The New Zealand Dance Company's Kiss the Sky
Bruce Mason Theatre
June 29-July 1

The New Zealand Dance Company, which has developed a strong reputation here and internationally, is premiering its latest triple bill at the end of the month

Kiss the Sky will showcase works by three international choreographers from Aotearoa, Korea and Australia on the theme of the seasons, the southern sky and time, presented to coincide with the Matariki Festival.

Combining the physicality of Korean choreographer Kim Jae Duk, the clean aesthetic of New Zealander Sue Healey, and the complex artistry of Australian choreographer Stephanie Lake, this dynamic tripartite featuring a world premiere will expand the forte of the already remarkable dancers of The New Zealand Dance Company.

Dance company artistic director Shona McCullagh says, “I’m interested in shared perspectives of the fragility and beauty of our planet, and therefore us as humans in our special place beneath the southern skies.”

“It’s a chance to honour the beauty we witness every night and day here in New Zealand – a place where the sky is vast and a magnificent part of our life on earth.”

The programme includes its first commission from Asia, a world premiere by Korean composer, rapper, and choreographer. Kim Jae Duk. As Singapore’s T.H.E Dance Company’s first resident choreographer, and director of Seoul’s Modern Table Dance Company, his works have been described by critics as gripping and innovative, giving contemporary forms to traditional Korean themes. His quartet, developed especially for NZDC, titled Sigan (time), draws from the dual themes of meditation and attack, with a dynamic score created by Kim and featuring traditional Korean instruments: jang-gu (drum), kkwaenggwari (small gong) and jing (large gong) within a contemporary composition.

Multi-award-winning choreographer, educator, filmmaker and installation artist New Zealander Sue Healey presents The Seasons Retouched set to German-born British composer Max Richter’s Recomposed, a score reimagining Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. The Seasons Retouched draws on the idea of subtle and shifting sonic tides meeting the modular patterns and geometries of the dancers in space – images of the seasons and changing weather combine with a formal architectural approach to the choreography.

The music will be played live by The Blackbird Ensemble, a 13-piece chamber group featuring virtuoso violinist Amalia Hall. This work promises a rich aural and visual experience, heightened by the use of AV design by leading Auckland-based film, digital and design house Augusto.

Renowned Australian choreographer, dancer and director Stephanie Lake will present her choreography If Never Was Now. Described by Australian critics as “eccentric and whimsical with a playful, riotous edge…urgent and brilliantly unpredictable,” the work is a surreal hive of buzzing activity reflecting the beauty and brutality of the natural world.

As former Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship winner and Dame Peggy Van Praagh Choreographic Fellow, Lake is one of the world’s most innovative choreographers of her time, with her work having been performed widely internationally.

Presented with Auckland Live, Kiss the Sky opens at the Bruce Mason Centre in Takapuna on Thursday, June 29 and runs until Saturday 1 July. The season includes special opportunities to connect with The New Zealand Dance Company through an engaging “whole whanau” workshop and creative pre- and post-show talks.

John Daly-Peoples
Fri, 16 Jun 2017
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NZ Dance Company's 'Kiss the Sky' heralds Matariki