Opera House
Sept 5-6 | Reviewed by Shruti Navathe

THE Footnote Forte season for 2008 consisted of three dance pieces: The False Waltz, Nest and Mtyland. The False Waltz premiered in April of 2008 and has been included in a previous performance. As such I already knew that I like the choreography and the music for the piece and was prepared to sit back and enjoy. The False Waltz lived up to my expectations entirely. The dancing was sharp, the movement within the piece fluid and emotive. All six dancers performed their parts exceptionally well and worked well together to create an intimate and intense atmosphere. Eden Mulholland’s music had depth and created contrast within the repetition.

The second dance piece for the night was Raewyn Hill’s new work Nest. The work is inspired by a traditional Singaporean ritual wherein caged birds are taken to a park by their owners to socialise with other birds. The dance piece sought to explore this ritual through dance. The choreography for the piece was excellent. It created an atmosphere of tension as well as freedom and extended the concepts to both those in cages and those who were, at least ostensibly, free. The lasting impression left by the piece was of pathos. You could see why the caged bird sang, and understand the cage that masters were living in. The three dancers worked seamlessly together and showed considerable technical skill and emotive depth. The music by David Long was haunting and melodic and worked well with the mood of the piece.

The final piece for the night was Caire O’Neil’s Mtyland. The piece sought to explore the concept and complexities of emptiness. The dance began with an empty stage with stark lighting. The choreography was based on the conversation between the dancer and the space around them. The principles from Sun tzu’s Art of War gave a structure and rhythm to the performance. My personal favourite being the principle, “wait leisurely for an exhausted enemy”! The dancers performed their parts well and used the space wisely. The music, like the lighting, was stark and occasionally startling. This piece had an excellent concept and design but felt a little incoherent. Some elements such as the changing of signs to inform of us of the shift from one principle to another felt distracting. I would’ve liked to have seen these integrated into the dance. I felt that all the elements of the dance were interesting in themselves but didn’t always gel together well.

It was a pleasure to watch the works of talented New Zealand choreographers and I would certainly recommend the show to anyone with an interest in contemporary movement. For Nest alone, I would go and see the show again.