Monthly Archives: July 2012

Waka, choreographed by Neil Ieremia, performed by Black Grace

This work explores "the idea of a raft as a metaphor for hope". It started from The raft of the Medusa by Theodore Gericault, which inspired The Arrival of the Maoris in New Zealand by Louis J. Steele and Charles F. Goldie. Ieremia says he thought about 'history being written by the victor, never by the people who were slaughtered' and how sometimes that history (as in the Steele and Goldie painting) is misrepresented. Then his mind turned to musing on what would happen if he was one of ten people left on the raft, all the food and water had been lost – would he turn to his companions and start thinking that one of them looked pretty good?

Overall, this piece confirmed that I like watching Ieremia's work when it is interpreted by professional dancers. They are usually more experienced. There is something about the way the work is held and expressed by their bodies that is stronger than that for amateur dancers. It's not necessarily that they are more precise, or more drilled. To my eyes they seem heavier, more connected to the ground. I really liked the way choreographic elements were picked up and repeated throughout the whole piece. In fact, the first two movements seemed to me to be visual representations of the sound of a symphony. Not the music that they were dancing to, but a completely different piece. If musical notation didn't exist, then I think the first couple of movements could be scores for music. (It put me in mind of The RSVP cycles which explores scoring (like music) human endeavour.) The third movement has made it onto my favourite dance pieces list. As well drilled as a marching team, it was repetitive, sharp, with flashes of humour.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the athleticism of the dancers. They work hard for 65 minutes. They are stripped back and strong. Nga mihinui.

Waka, choreographed by Neil Ieremia, performed by Black Grace

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Two things for tweeps

Stated bias: I use the Twitter web and mobile interfaces so anything I say will be based on that.

1. So you're going to the New Zealand International Film Festival? Excellent. I will be eavesdropping on your excited tweets about how cool that film was or how this film made history come alive for you. Please make it easy for me and use the hashtag #nzff rather than @nzff. That way I can easily call up all the tweets about the festival. The other way means that I have to follow the conversation to find out what you're saying. I first noticed this trickiness during the New Zealand International Arts Festival. It's possible to find out what people are tweeting by searching the twitter handle then selecting 'all' but it's much easier to just click on the hashtag.

2. Have you noticed what's going on with verified accounts? I can look at their stream with all the @'s stripped out (sometimes that's all it is…) OR look at the stream with the @'s in. Useful.?? Here, have a look at Cory Jane's account. Just because.

Metaphorically speaking

For some reason, today in staff meeting I started listening for the metaphors people used when they were talking. I’d been in a discussion earlier in the day where a way of working had been described as ‘orchestral’. i.e. a group were teaching something and each individual would pipe up when needed, adding to the picture and therefore the learning. I’d been extending the metaphor. We were about to continue a piece of work that I thought would change our usual ‘rhythm’ of working from fast and dense with information, to a much slower pace where each idea would be able to be examined. (Each idea was a musical theme. It would be laid down in the first (fast) movement, in the second (slow) it may be chopped up or flipped upside down, then in the third (fast) it would be reincorporated to reflect both the first and second movements, in the fourth (slow) the theme would be changed, reflecting all three movements, and so on.)
Then I became aware of the metaphors other people were using. The three I remember best are:
*hunting – this was accompanied by grasping gestures. Both stalking and running after something were indicated.
*journeying in a waka – travelling the ocean, each person on the waka knows their role, knows how it contributes to the journey, and just gets on with it.
*a kotare sitting high up, watching the stream, then darting in to get the fish when it is sure of success.
Metaphors are not exceptional at my work. Weaving, especially of tukutuku panels is often used. I like to talk about the Slinky Theory of Evolution. I do not know what it was about today that made me take notice. But it was interesting.

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