A Year in the Life



Any writing which looks back at a year in any company could begin with hyperbole about achievements and significant events: this was ‘huge’, that was ‘record-breaking’, the other thing was ‘critically acclaimed’. Often, as is the case with Footnote New Zealand Dance and 2015, the reason these bold statements are made is because they are true and we’re not sure if you really know about them yet.

This has been a growing year. 2015 kicked off with a record-breaking Choreolab, our three-week professional development workshop, followed by the ChoreoCo. season. Choreolab shared the learnings and practises of New Zealand’s premiere choreographers and dancers with 35 outstanding freelance dancers from around Aotearoa. Claire O’Neil’s Just Bet/ween Us was brought to life by the six dancers making up ChoreoCo., and the short-term company explored chance, gambling and picking favourites to the delight of audiences in Wellington to win Best Dance and Best Dance Performance at the NZ Fringe Awards. The other ChoreoCo. project, Lucy Marinkovich’s Bosch Box, was one of the highlights of Performance Arcade 2015 on Wellington’s waterfront.

This has been an adventurous year. We launched our first ever international co-production, which saw Footnote working with choreographer Eric Languet and the Dans en L’R company both here in New Zealand and on the French island of Reunion. The result was Bbeals – a moving deconstruction of Flashdance. Bbeals pushed boundaries and ultimately succeeded, with New Zealand’s North and South Island tour featuring some of this country’s best choirs in each theatre, and our four centre tour of Reunion selling out.

This has been a changing year. Following Bbeals we farewelled Manu Reynaud and Alex Ford, and welcomed Jeremy Beck and Brydie Colquhoun to Footnote. In a company of five dancers these kinds of changes are significant. They present challenges as well as fresh, positive energy. The company has performed brilliantly throughout 2015 – a testament to the talent of the individuals involved and the strength of the teams they built. As this blog is written, a new group of hopeful Footnote dancers are auditioning for the opportunity created by the departure of Kosta Bogoievski.

This has been an experimental year. They all are, really – it’s part of what defines Footnote. NOW 2015 gave four choreographers the chance to play and explore, challenging audiences in Wellington, Auckland and Hamilton to think differently about movement. We made some wonderful discoveries through our Watch This Space performances this year, too. Every time we respond to new art in museums and galleries (whether the art is new or just new to us!) we feel that spark of connection to something bigger. There is an element of freedom to improvising movement in spaces often considered suitable only for quiet reflection, for performers and audiences alike.

This has been our 30th birthday year. Design exhibitions, launches, suppers, world premieres, PechaKucha, open houses, a jam-packed tour, rave reviews, and a real sense of occasion centred around 30Forward. The show looked back on stand-out works from the past, which were curated by founding director Deirdre Tarrant, and forward to the future with a new work by Malia Johnston called FLIP PIVOT BOOM – made in choreographic collaboration with Footnote. Our birthday was so huge we needed an extra dancer to make it happen, and we acknowledge Adam Naughton for his talent and energy during 30Forward.

This has been a year of collaboration. Making and sharing art involves creation, administration, compromise and constructive discussion (AKA occasional healthy argument), and it can not be done alone. Footnote worked with 9 choreographers in 2015, presented 23 days of Dance-In-Education workshops in schools around the country, danced in 9 festivals, provided masterclasses and forums, performed for 54,600 people during the World of WearableArt Award shows, shared 72 performances with audiences from 14 regions, and was supported by a generous group of individual supporters and funders including Creative New Zealand and Wellington City Council. Our heartfelt thanks to all of you who make our work possible.

This has been 2015. And we promise 2016 is sure to deliver more of what you love about Footnote. Announcements regarding choreographers we’ll be working with and our new company member are due any moment.