Our Footnote New Zealand Dance annual choreographic seasons are supported by a range of outreach programmes; Dance-in-Education (workshops and performances in schools); Choreolab (an annual professional development workshop); Perforum (studio performances); Watch This Space – Maatakitakihia Mai Tenei Waahi (performance in galleries); and collaborations with other arts partners such as the Museum of Wellington City & Sea, Capital E, City Gallery Wellington, Auckland Art Gallery and Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

Short Works Season

Footnote New Zealand Dance Short Works season presents a number of new short works to New Zealand audiences.

In 2017, The Rebel Pink toured to eight centres across Aotearoa with new works by Holly Newsome, Eliza Sanders and Nancy Wijohn. An explosion of hot pink, vintage chrome and live sound, The Rebel Pink by Footnote New Zealand Dance provided three emerging choreographers with an opportunity to create New Original Work in a world curated by New Zealand dance luminary Malia Johnston, designer extraordinaire Marcus McShane and world class drummer/musician Tom Scrase (ex-Strike).

In 2018 Footnote New Zealand Dance brings Search Engine to audiences across the country. See What’s On for more details.

New Zealand Works


Following on from Footnote’s Forte Season tradition, each year we commission New Zealand choreographers, based either overseas or here in Aotearoa, to make a new work on the company.

In 2017 we developed CONTRAST with Sarah Foster-Sproull (Auckland, New Zealand) and Emma Murray (Bern, Switzerland) and toured the length of New Zealand with this exceptional double-bill. These were two exploratory, probing new dance works by two distinct artists.

For 2018, we are delighted to be presenting a double-bill choreographed by Eliza Sanders & James O’Hara and Zahra Killeen-Chance. Keep an eye on our What’s On page for performance details.


Footnote has had the honour of travelling internationally in the past few years to represent New Zealand. This has included the America’s Cup Pavilion 2013 (Deirdre Tarrant, Merenia Gray, Maria Dabrowska, Anita Hunziker, and Malia Johnston) and a co-production, BBeals, in 2014 and 2015 with Reunion Island based company Danses en l’R (choreographed by Eric Languet). In 2017 the company travelled to Switzerland to develop a new work with Swiss-based New Zealand artist Emma Murray for the double-bill season, CONTRAST. Whilst in Europe the company also visited Berlin to redevelop Tomorrow After All with choreographer Joshua Rutter.

Working in an ambassadorial role to show New Zealand work to international audiences has meant that work has been seen in a wide and very public arena.

Residencies at WPZimmer (Antwerp), Pianofabrique (Brussels), and Mousonturm (Frankfurt), have been great experience and professional development for the company dancers, and a real opportunity to network and share practices.

Dance in Education

Footnote Dance-in-Education programmes were born in 1985 as an opportunity for children to experience live performance as part of their cultural experience. Founding Director Deirdre Tarrant felt that the experience of dance needed to be specially developed for the learning and physical environment of school as a chance to not only watch but also actively participate in kinetic learning.


We are a professional dance company perfectly positioned as a resource for both teachers and students. Our Dance in Education programme incorporates repertoire from our touring performances each year, providing access to dance that is current, relevant and inclusive. Our professional dancers and Dance Educators have the ability and experience to relate to young people – understanding, creating and communicating the magic of movement across the country.

The NCEA curriculum asserts that all students in years 1-8 should be given the opportunity to access
dance as a distinct strand of their Arts Education. We strongly believe in the value of kinetic learning
and support schools to achieve this by offering experiences in dance to excite and inspire.

View our programmes or make an enquiry


Cuba Mall becomes the centre for networking and making dance. There are master-classes led by guest tutors, lab spaces for individuals to work, allied arts workshops, industry Spotlight talks, and all with the focus on process and exploration of moving and thinking in contemporary dance.

An exciting time and the connections and liaisons continue into the year as projects are conceived and ideas are discussed.

An identified need for an interface between the dancers of the company and the freelance and wider dance community has resulted in Choreolab. A three week intensive event that allows exploration and development specific to the field of choreography, without the pressure of an end-product.

Choreolab is now the most significant professional development event for contemporary dance in the year, and attracts dancers from here and overseas to work in an intensive series of workshops over a three week period in the summer in Wellington.


ChoreoCo. was a new initiative by Footnote New Zealand Dance in 2014 to provide an opportunity and short term contract for a small company of dancers.  These dancers are selected from the renowned three week intensive Choreolab held in yearly January.


In 2017 ChoreoCo. performed The Dark Light by Berlin-based New Zealander Alexa Wilson. The Dark Light was a total sell-out at Circa Theatre in Wellington and was performed as part of the New Zealand Fringe Festival.

Watch This Space

 — Maatakitakihia Mai Tenei Waahi —

Arising from a two-fold objective to develop audiences and reach a wider arts interested audience in their own space has seen the evolving of a strong partnership programme with art galleries and their programmes.

A physical and dance response to exhibitions of art, sculpture, or installations give another perspective to the way that art connects and responds to our lives.

Essentially an improvisational ‘happening’, Watch This Space occurs in gallery spaces and has had a varied number of approaches from an on-the-spot response to dialogue between dancers and the artists about their processes and work.

Partnerships with Dunedin Public Art Gallery and City Gallery Wellington have been significant, as well as other galleries around New Zealand including Tauranga, Auckland, Hastings and Christchurch. The Museum Art Hotel in Wellington has also been a consistent supporter of Footnote dance and especially identifies with this outreach initiative.


An opportunity for an audience to get up close to the process of a choreography. Perforum brings the dancers and choreographer to show work-in-progress as a new choreography is evolving.

Movement material is performed and comments shared about the ideas and inspiration for the work being made. The forum is a chance to talk with those who will be the audience when the work is shown.

An informal and invaluable experience, Perforum generates debate and dialogue that truly feeds the process of the choreography.

Past Programmes



Made in New Zealand

Made in New Zealand was the touchstone annual Footnote Dance programme which ran for 7 years – beginning in 2007 – with a specific objective to develop, present and tour new New Zealand works by Kiwi choreographers with New Zealand music. Each year Footnote commissioned New Zealand Choreographers to make work on the company, and toured nationally as well as taking works from the  Made In New Zealand repertoire to students in communities and schools as part of their Dance-In-Education programme.

Footnote New Zealand Dance has a long history with the local music scene and a real commitment to working alongside composers – in the early days Footnote used to tour and present contemporary works at rock concerts around the country.

Their passion for New Zealand music hasn’t changed with a long list of musicians who have written for them over the years including Eden Mulholland, Nic McGowan, David Downes, David Long, Stephen Gallagher, Chris Winter, The Black Seeds and many more.

Strong associations were nurtured and choreographers for the Made In New Zealand programmes had ongoing opportunities to evolve works. There is currently a strong and fascinating ‘stable’ of Footnote choreographers working in New Zealand, who make their own work as well as making dance for the company. Emerging and established, these are the very now and happening makers of dance in Aoteoroa, and include Malia Johnston, Maria Dabrowska, Michael Parmenter, Sarah Foster, Lyne Pringle, Kristian Larsen, Ross McCormack, Sarah Knox, and Lucy Marinkovich.

2013 was the seventh and final Made in New Zealand season created, with choreographer Sarah Foster-Sproull developing and touring COLT with the company as Acting Director. With a full-length score of music by Eden Mulholland, COLT had a second national tour in early 2014.

In  2014 with the arrival of new General Manager Richard Aindow and a new direction for the company, the format of this annual season was revised to become the NOW season.



Forte Series

Forte Series was a programme that evolved as dance with a difference in the alternate years of full length Forte programmes, and gathered its own following and impetus to become a more frequent season. There were usually five or six short works linked by a theme, to form a site-specific series of works that reflect some specific aspect of what it is to be a new Zealander and to call this country ‘home’.

Footnote invited choreographers to explore and devise their ideas and there is a flexibility to perform in alternative spaces and ‘out-of-a-theatre’, including galleries, bars, and hotel foyers.

Inspiration from Kiwi personalities made up the first series in 2008. In 2009 inspiration came from New Zealand’s social environment, and in 2012 that quintessential Kiwi trait – ingenuity and curiosity – gave the starting point for the series of works.



Forte Season

Footnote Forte was an initiative to bring outstanding Kiwi dance artists home to New Zealand to make a full length work that will be seen by a wide local audience, and to give us a chance to share something of what has made these Kiwis successful away from ‘home’. The development processes are important and have often taken place both home and away, as the company travels to perform off-shore and to spend time in the artistic environment that these outstanding creators inhabit.

The result is a unique and very special experience that engages in actively inviting and bringing these voices to our stages and industry.

Forte works have provided real artistic challenges for the company, and this is now a key initiative in the world of contemporary dance with international interest. Forte works have included  Here Lies Within (Raewyn Hill), Miniatures (Malia Johnston), Mtyland (Claire O’Neill), Hullapolloi (Kate MacIntosh & Jo Randerson ) and in March 2013 Lisa Densem and Footnote Dance presented We have been there (Cloud in Hand), touring from Wellington to Dunedin, Auckland and Nelson.

In 2014 Footnote New Zealand Dance welcomes Berlin-based New Zealand choreographer Alexa Wilson to develop and tour a full length work The Status of Being with the company.