A unique theatrical collaboration between one of Massey University’s resident dramaturges, Dr Emma Willis, and award-winning choreographer and artistic director of the Wearable Art Awards, Malia Johnston, hits the stage this month.
Dr Willis and Ms Johnston’s Body/Fight/Time is a theatrical dance work that seeks, through playfully exploring images of collision and impact, to understand how our bodies define us.
Dr Willis says Body/Fight/Time was an exciting and enlightening piece to put together.
She says the two-year process from workshop to show began in 2009 and since then Body/Fight/Time has developed into a colourful, visceral, exploration of time, age and conflict.
“We were very interested in the way that our sense of the world is very much informed by our physical experience of it,” Willis says. “Because each of our bodies is different, and constantly changing, each of our experiences of the world is very subjective, and this often leads to conflict.
“Conflict is always central to drama. One of the first lessons we teach theatre students is drama equals conflict. In this work we explore conflict in a very physical way and use images of fighting through choreography, giving the work a theatrical quality.”
Dr Willis and Ms Johnston have handpicked a star-studded cast of dancers that range in age from New Zealand School of Dance student Carl Tolentino, 21, to New Zealand dance icon Kilda Northcote, 56.
“The large range of age and experience of our dancers allows us to explore and examine different kind of bodies and how they move. We want the audience to feel as though they are on a physical journey with us, where they can experience the energy and emotion the show represents first-hand.”
Dr Willis has produced a number of successful works including her previous collaboration with Ms Johnston, Dark Tourists (best dance work of the 2008 Wellington Fringe Festival), The Swimming Lessons, Never Never, and Milk (best theatre work, 1998 Wellington Fringe Festival), Flood (most original production 2000, Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards), and Fever and A Perfect Plan (nominated for three awards at the 2002 Chapman Tripp Awards).
Body/Fight/Time will show at the Wellington Opera House on September 21 and 22 as part of Footnote Dance’s Made in New Zealand 2011 season. It will also be performed at newly built Q Theatre in Auckland in October as a closing night show for the Tempo Dance Festival. Tickets are available from Ticketek – adults $35.00, students, children (14 & under) and seniors $25.00.