This is part of Footnote’s Forte series which “has a specific objective to bring New Zealanders who have excelled off shore home to make work here.” Berlin based choreographer Lisa Densem has created a work set to music by Andrew Thomas. In the programme she writes the performance aim is “to create a structure that could allow the heightened ‘attention’ and charged space to continue living with each performance.

The stage is completely open and bare of props. Six dancers meander around, occasionally pausing to pose. Sometimes they slowly turn their heads towards the audience as if to check that we’re watching. There is something slightly unnatural about the way they move.  A knee is bent at a strange angle. Hands are held awkwardly. They often remind me of dolls. A plastic doll has limbs set in a position and when they are moved past a certain point the positions look unnatural. I can sense their concentration. They are aiming for specificity in their poses, sometimes only a few muscles move as they stretch.  Gradually the movement changes as the dancers come together and now there are two people moving as one creature. The creatures feel strangely familiar despite their multiple legs (and arms, hands, faces.) These creatures break and now the dancers are like pool balls bouncing off each other, clumping together, scattering, and forming again. The six of them weave their arms around each other, holding on to shoulders, waists, faces. They are in constant controlled slow motion. Occasionally one will cartwheel in the group, or be spun on the side. I find this the most compelling section of the performance.

The performance is subdued compared to the exuberant choreography usually seen in NZ and it reflects the aim perfectly.