Beautiful dance to kick off festival

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Blending martial arts, military precision and sensitivity, the dance Sigan will be performed during Kiss The Sky at the Southland Arts Festival. Photo: John McDermott

THE wait is over – the Southland Arts Festival kicks off early this year with a performance by the New Zealand Dance Company (NZDC).

Artistic director Shona McCullagh said it had been several years since the company had performed in the south and they were grateful to be invited to be part of the festival.

Kiss The Sky, which will be performed at SIT Centrestage Theatre next Wednesday, features two works – Sigan and The Fibonacci.

McCullagh said Sigan, which means time in Korean, was created by Korean choreographer and composer KIM Jae Duk.

One of the interesting things about the work was that it was a beautiful blend of martial arts, military precision and sensitivity, she said.

It also features a combination of contemporary and traditional Korean instrumentation.

“As a work he describes [it] as being a meeting point between meditation and attack.

“The work starts with a solo and it just builds and builds and builds, and he crafts this crescendo into a climax at the end really brilliantly.”

The second piece, The Fibonacci, is a new work by South Island-born choreographer Victoria Colombus.

“[Colombus] has been a very powerful and instrumental contemporary teacher at the New Zealand School of Dance for the later part of her career, to date,” McCullagh said. “She has crafted a very very beautiful and again very intricate work based on the mathematical Fibonacci sequence.”

She said the dancers’ counts followed the sequence which was a bit of a “mind blow” for them.

“This is obviously lots of odd numbers and a sequence which is very unfamiliar for the dancers, but through that it has this amazing calming effect on the viewer.

“It’s a bit like looking at a shell, which of course is based on the mathematics of the spiral. It’s very soothing to look at, but actually it’s a very very complex structure.

“She’s worked incredibly carefully and diligently to create a work that morphs and changes and shifts constantly and it’s very soothing and beautiful to watch.

McCullagh said Colombus’ style was very different from KIM Jae Duk.

“Her style is very fluid and gentle and surprising, and she is very very clever at moving the dancers through the space in intricate, shifting patterns – like sand shifting in a way.”

Both works feature lighting design by Jo Kilgour, who has lit many of the company’s works, McCullagh said.

McCullagh said the NZDC was a diverse company, and she was enormously proud of the dancers’ skill.

“Most of them have been working together for four years intensely and they now have a kind of telepathic short-hand with each other. Their ability to dance in sync with each other is pretty astonishing.

“They’re not only wonderful dancers but wonderful human beings, and it’s a joy creating opportunities for them to share their work with New Zealand.”

Kiss The Sky, SIT Centrestage Theatre, Wednesday, April 10, 7.30pm. Tickets available from TicketDirect.

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