Our Footnote New Zealand Dance annual choreographic seasons are supported by a range of community engagement programmes; Dance-in-Education (workshops and performances in schools); Choreolab (an annual professional development workshop); Open Studio Showings; Watch This Space (performance in galleries); and collaborations with other arts partners such as Te Papa Tongarewa, Arts Access Aotearoa, Performance Arcade and City Gallery Wellington.

Recent Seasons




A collision of artists from both sides of the Pacific Ocean: Hemispheres is an impressive international collaboration between the longest-running contemporary dance companies in New Zealand and in China. Hemispheres is headlined by Mass Solitude, an astounding new work choreographed by Sarah Foster-Sproull and performed by both companies. Mass Solitude showcases the technical mastery of detailed movement that is a signature of Chinese dance companies, with the powerful physicality that New Zealand dancers are renowned for across the world. Adding to the evening of exceptional artistry is Elliptical Fictions, choreographed by New Zealander Zahra Killeen-Chance and excerpts from The Spring Tide, choreographed by Taiwanese artist WU Chien-Wei.


Nobody Hears the Axe Fall

Created especially for Fringe, ChoreoCo by Footnote is a short-term company of remarkable dance artists. In 2019, the energy of a brand-new ChoreoCo combines with long-time collaborators Julia Harvie and Stuart Lloyd-Harris to create Nobody hears the axe fall. An unruly collection of imagery escapes from Nobody hears the axe fall. Through pattern and rhythm, this fresh new work chews on the complexities of life and spits out a live soundscape for all the senses. Performed by this year’s outstanding ChoreoCo dancers, Nobody hears the axe fall is a striking collision of movement and sound.



Balancing Point

A breathtaking double-bill with intoxicating collaborations by some of Aotearoa’s top dancers, artists and designers. Performed by the captivating Footnote company dancers, who are renowned for their individual and group artistry, Balancing Point intersects two hypnotic new dance works by New Zealand and Australian choreographers Zahra Killeen-Chance, James O’Hara & Eliza Sanders. Drawing on her research during a three-month residency in Taiwan in 2017, Killeen-Chance creates a mesmerising world in her work Elliptical Fictions. Grounded in the idea of opposition, Elliptical Fictions presents a continual shift between forces of the body and mind. In A snail watched dust particles in sunlight,O’Hara and Sanders unite to create a tender ode to returning home. With a virtuosic energy, this new work speaks of elation and comfort.

Search Engine

Shimmering light and captivating movement fill the universe of Search Engine. Within this luminous, metallic world, three choreographers explore and define their experiences of what it means to seek out and to search within our technologically driven society. This brand new show is a different kind of dance experience, where the audience is absorbed by fragmented light displays and close enough to the stage to feel the incredible energy of the five performers. These three short works by Lauren Langlois, Rose Philpott and Tupua Tigafua are guaranteed to intrigue, delight and surprise you.

Die Hard Rock Cafe Müller

Choreographed by Berlin-based Joshua Rutter and ex-Wellingtonian Kristian Larsen. ChoreoCo by Footnote is a short-term company created for Fringe from the brightest dancers. A dance/sound performance gleefully smooshing together three worlds, Die Hard Rock Cafe Müller shows pop culture in charmingly bizarre ruins. Now we have an artwork, Ho.Ho.Ho.




CONTRAST is Footnote New Zealand Dance’s double-bill of exceptional work by two New Zealand choreographers based on opposite sides of the globe. In Sarah Foster-Sproull’s cut-out world, a man stands alone with his thoughts while carefully placed scenes morph around him. Swiss-based Emma Murray finds blurred identities and merged experiences through moments of meeting. Two exploratory, probing new dance works by two distinct artists.

The Rebel Pink

An explosion of hot pink, vintage chrome and live sound, The Rebel Pink by Footnote New Zealand Dance provides three emerging choreographers with an opportunity to create New Original Work in a world conjured by New Zealand dance luminary Malia Johnston, designer extraordinaire Marcus McShane and world class drummer/musician Tom Scrase (ex-Strike).

These inventive choreographers, who are all towards the beginning of their choreographic careers, are exploring this world in their own fascinating creative language. With the brand-new Footnote company members as their performers, Eliza Sanders, Holly Newsome and Nancy Jo-Wijohn are bringing their unique thought processes to life. The three individual works are a colourful mosaic of ideas that explore the joys and pitfalls of human communication, and complex relationships with movement that is nuanced, lively and playful.

The Dark Light

Performed by Footnote’s short-term company created especially for Fringe, The Dark Light by Alexa Wilson is dance the presents us with a unique world. A lost species tries to remember itself. An in-between place is translated to us on screen. A realisation, a flicker in the shadows.

Berlin-based New Zealand choreographer Alexa Wilson is a multi-disciplined artist who explores intersection between movement, digital content, political consciousness and humour. The Dark Light sees Wilson returning to work with Footnote for the first time since the full company performed The Status of Being in 2014.


Footnote has had the honour of travelling internationally over many years to represent New Zealand. More recently, this has included the America’s Cup Pavilion 2013 (with choreography by 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

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.