Back home, time to dance

Coming from warmer climes to the deep South as winter approaches means internationally acclaimed dancer and choreographer Michael Parmenter is having to do stretches and warm-ups, just to prepare for his usual stretches and warm-ups.

"I think it’s also to do with the fact that I’m a Gold Card holder now, so one has to look after the body and certainly take more time to get it prepared.

"I do have vivid memories of going to 8am lectures here in the winter time, so I’m getting revisitations of those."

The Dunedin-born and educated 67-year-old arrived back in the city three weeks ago and will be giving a performance tomorrow in Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, as part of World Dance Day.

He said it would be his first performance in Dunedin since taking up the University of Otago’s 2022 Caroline Plummer Fellowship in community dance, and it would serve as an introduction to the community.

"This is a ‘hello Dunedin, I’m here, and this is what I’m going to be doing’ performance."

University of Otago Caroline Plummer Fellow Michael Parmenter will give a free talk and dance...
University of Otago Caroline Plummer Fellow Michael Parmenter will give a free talk and dance performance at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum tomorrow to mark World Dance Day. PHOTO: LINDA ROBERTSON
Mr Parmenter started dancing in Dunedin, and will revisit his first choreography, presented here in 1979.

In doing so, he will entertain the idea that his journey in dance has come full circle.

He will also give a talk on the theme of "How Dances Travel".

After leaving Dunedin in the 1980s, Mr Parmenter studied dance in New York before forming the dance company Commotion in 1990, performing works including the dance opera Jerusalem.

His choreographing began while he was a student at the National School of Ballet and he presented the first evening of his own choreography with On The Move in 1982.

His first solo show, Between Two Fires, based on the sonnets of Michelangelo and the diaries of Franz Kafka and Vaslav Nijinsky, followed a year later.

Altogether, five major works emerged from his first decade of dance.

After his return from studies in New York in the late ’80s, he created signature works GO, The Race and The Dark Forest - the latter was made into an award-winning film.

He was 2010 Arts Foundation laureate and his choreographic credits include work for Footnote Dance Company, the Royal New Zealand Ballet and the New Zealand Dance Company.

More recently, he has taught at the New Zealand School of Dance and Unitec.

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