Review: Contrasting works, yet linked

Sarah Foster-Sproull works with the Footnote dancers on her latest piece, Super Ornate Construct....
Sarah Foster-Sproull works with the Footnote dancers on her latest piece, Super Ornate Construct. Photos: supplied

Footnote NZ Dance
Mayfair Theatre
Saturday, November 11

Reviewed by Penny Neilson

In Footnote’s last performance of this national tour,  Contrast presents two works that are thematically complementary but stylistically divergent: hence contrast.

Penny Neilson
Penny Neilson

The two choreographers, while New Zealand-born, are based on opposite sides of the world -  Emma Murray  in Switzerland and Sarah Foster-Sproull in Auckland.

This in itself provides a contrasting approach and insight into movement and form. Both works are performed thoughtfully by the engaging company of five dancers: Georgia Beechey-Gradwell, Tyler Carney, Joshua Faleatua, Adam Naughton and Anu Khapung.

Emma Murray’s Participation has a subtlety and trance-like quality that draws in the audience in an infectious way.

The rhythmic repetition forms the base layer for this partially improvised piece and means  the dancers have to be completely in tune with one another and their movements to develop further layers in exploring the notion of oneness and being one.

These concepts of individuality and being involved see the dancers moving as one, subtle changes in independent defiance and at times entwined with one another.

For the most part, it is only four of the dancers. They are later joined by Khapung, who attempts to insinuate herself into the established movement.

Super Ornate Construct, from Sarah Foster-Sproull, is an exploration of the sense of self by looking at outward persona or facades that people portray compared with the internal reality. Through those competing perspectives, this work focuses on "the man alone" archetype, Adam, and how he copes with his existential crises and the barriers he has created.

At times, the other dancers are his puppet master and he is pulled and twisted, but, as the piece develops, he attempts to take back control.

The work is fun and doesn’t seem to take itself too seriously - the use of cardboard cutout arrows, wine glasses and clouds to assist with the narrative is a lighthearted poke at reality. The work is accompanied by a voiceover from Andrew Foster that explains the seemingly obvious story as it unfolds, but again, this reaffirms the piece’s humour.

While contrasting in content and style, these two works are linked through their overall reflective nature by leaving the audience with a sense of self-examination and self-awareness. 


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