Back in NZ

20 10 2013

Actually very proud to be a New Zealand woman these days! Forget male sport……female arts are strong and flourishing with Lorde and Eleanor Catton leading the way – go girls!!

In the 3 weeks I’ve been back I’ve had an incredible time – being Honoured by Tempo dance Festival on Oct 11th!

A fabulous night - felt very honoured!!

A fabulous night – felt very honoured!!

Dancing my solo ‘Witch Bitch’ at the Tempo 10th Anniversary Gala on Oct 12th!

An interview with Kathryn Ryan on National Radio was cool – she asked intelligent questions!

http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2572847/a-life-in-dance-mary-jane-o%27reilly

Presented Marching Girls and Horses at a 50th birthday party last night Oct 19th – to huge appreciation from the partygoers! Would be keen to do more of those leading up to Xmas!! They had seen us perform these 2 items at the Gay Pride Gala earlier in the year and loved us so invited us to perform at her 50th!!

Maybe the dude from the Seychelles will get back to us  – that could be fun! He asked us to go there this week but we were overcommitted!

Now working on In Flagrante having further life  – back in the UK next year – London and Brighton in September or October 2014 hopefully, in the meantime Southland tour next March, some local performances in Auckland …not sure when and where yet!

Teaching my MojoCabaret class……if the numbers stay really small maybe it will evolve into a more technical contemporary ballet class……we’ll see  – would actually love to teach advanced technique classes somewhere!

What else?

its Labour Weekend next weekend so will go to Waihi Beach and chill out……





London

28 09 2013

Thur 19th Sept – – Phil and I went to our old stamping ground of Earls Court, Glocester Rd, Queensgate Terrace – where we first met in March 1970. It was amazing to revisit these places!

Fri 20th – we went to visit Rambert studios to watch rehearsal. Mark Baldwin is an old friend (we danced together in Limbs 1977 – 80) and he has been Director of Rambert for 10 years. I was chuffed because he introduced me as his first Cunningham Technique teacher, which is a good way to put me in perspective for the Rambert dancers!

Fridays are good because they are recapping on the whole weeks work – runthru’s of the works for the new triple bill. Comedy of Change (Mark’s piece) was cool and Barack Marshall ( a New York based Israeli and Yemeni choreographer) has created a new work The Casterways which is highly theatrical and very witty.

Fri nite – went to Old Street Station to meet with Benny Ord (dancer in Wayne MacGregors Random dance co) and Shanelle, (In Flagrante dancer) to have a Vietnamese meal – crowded, fun.

In London at a cool vietnamese restaurant

In London at a cool vietnamese restaurant

Sat 21st – went on the London Eye – wow…..

London Eye in background

London Eye in background

then met Gill Davis at her ballet studio – Anna Pavlova’s old mansion Ivy House!! We know Gill because her husband Producer Teg Davis – saw our show in Edinburgh – he loved it – and we have set up a potentially great connection now! Gill greeted us warmly and they kindly remained open at Ivy House so I could look around!!! Than we went to lunch and through the conversation we talked about the older dancer dancing…..the upshot being I offered to teach Gill my Witch Bitch solo!

Sat nite we went to all the way to Canongate Station to have a drink and a laugh with Maria (IF dancer) Danny and Tom (Sauce). Travelling back on the crowded late nite tube at 12:30am was a trip!!

Sun am met with Mark at the NEW Rambert studios – that he has been hugely active in raising the money and deciding the design – what a fantastic achievement!!

Here we are outside the new Rambert studios on South Bank, London

Here we are outside the new Rambert studios on South Bank, London

Then we went back to see Gill and I taught her Witch Bitch – she’s going to be great at it as she has absolutely the right skill set!

at her studio after i taught her Witch Bitch

at her studio after i taught her Witch Bitch

Sunday night Phil and I went to see a cabaret performer Miss Hope –  at the Crazy Coq cabaret venue in Piccadilly, to check it out as a possible venue for IF – the performer was a bit like a mild version Buffy and Bimbo actually, the venue was elegant but too small (no stage) so that was good to clarify.

Monday 23rd – we did an organised tour of the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden. OMG – I used to dance there as an extra when I was at the Royal Ballet School…….brought back memories from that time in 1970!.  Simon ( the dapper very professional tour guide) took us around – he was great. We were taken into the auditorium where they were rehearsing the lighting for the new production of Don Q, then we went backstage and through a viewing window were able to watch the soloists class for the dancers of the Royal Ballet – sweating it out  – they were up to class adage! Beautiful dancers!!

Mon afternoon we went to the Portrait Gallery – saw Bob Dylan’s drawings, a sculpture / self portrait of Marc Quinn

‘Every five years, the British artist makes a mold of his face, which he gradually fills with 10 pints of blood drawn from his veins. The finished sculptures are kept at freezing temperatures to stop them from liquefying.

“Self” (2006), the fourth and most recent, has just been acquired by the National Portrait Gallery in London — with cash from the Art Fund charity and other donors — for 300,000 pounds ($500,000). It’s on display at the gallery, in a Perspex box filled with silica and chilled to minus 18 degrees Celsius.’

Mon evening went to St Pancras Station to meet with friends Katie and Pearce – massive cast iron frame atrium –  refurbished – fantastic! Had pink champagne at the longest bar in the world as we watched the Paris train come in!

St Pancras Station

So much of London has been refurbished and rehabilitated since we were there in the early ’70’s – its a beautiful really liveable city now. Many no vehicles areas – come on Auckland – you can do it……….and love the transport system of course!

Sadly we leave now to head back to NZ – but really looking forward to seeing my family and friends, doing my Honouring, dancing my solo, all good!!





Edinburgh wrap up

17 09 2013

Its now the 17th Sept and so its been nearly 3 weeks since we completed our season in Edinburgh.

The thing that stands out for us in the European context is that New Zealand need have no cultural cringe!
It is seen as a credible source of contemporary culture and creative originality.
Indeed there seems to be a surprising number of references to New Zealand – its narratives, artists and ideas as part of an overall conversation on global culture in the media.

Looking at our own self image from offshore – we often seem to wish to re-affirm negative stereotypes about ourselves, defer to often expat or offshore ‘experts’ to explain ourselves to ourselves and reinforce our own insecurities.
For instance – we note in spite of several excellent and publication credible reviews in the UK media on our show, it was panned by a commissioned expat kiwi academic reviewer living in Edinburgh for theatreview.org.nz and given a prominent negative headline to that effect. To be fair, the editor of the site added links to our UK based reviews, once we pointed them out, but it just seemed so typically New Zealand.
Note to reviewer in this case – we do satire not moral propaganda….. don’t quit your day job!

Our next performances of the whole show are now going to be March 2014.

A Southland tour ending up at the Dunedin Fringe in March is in place.  November just seemed way too soon to get good houses, which are needed for the amount of financial risk level we have to make to do this tour.

In the meantime hopefully we will get some smaller gigs at parties or Xmas do’s over the next few months….and Tempo is looming with my Honouring on the 11th Oct and performing my Witch Bitch solo at the 10th anniversary Gala o the 12th!





Solos

15 07 2013

photo In Flagrante Eve Molly

Here is a photo of Molly McDowall dancing her solo Eve to the track Addiction by Waldeck from his album Ballroom Stories. This album is the basis of the show, with a few other tracks added to add spice and variety.

In Flagrante preparations are going well – I’m making sure all the pieces, groups and solos, have other dancers from the company as covers who know them well enough if anything happens. I might even change the casting occasionally anyway to keep them ‘on their toes’!

Please go to https://www.edfringe.com/whats-on/cabaret/in-flagrante to book for our performances in Edinburgh

As well as preparing to perform in Edinburgh – I’m also preparing to perform myself when I get back to NZ.

My solo Witch Bitch has been invited to perform at the Tempo Dance Festival Gala in October….its been great getting this solo dance work  I made 4 years ago back into my body. I love the music from the Book of Longing by Philip Glass and Leonard Cohen (I’m a total fan) and I love to dance and perform so am feeling privileged that I still can!





My Solo ‘Witch Bitch’

21 04 2009

witch-bitch-031witch-bitch-069Have performed my solo again. Its a little pathway I’m enjoying. I never thought  I would be in this position but its kinda neat to have these 2 pathways. One being Artistic Director of a Dance festival so the ‘overview’ large vision is required. The other is to perform my own work as a solo dancer – a kinda personal, mini / under the radar pathway.

So I offered a performance of my solo to the Tango studio as a thank you, in appreciation of their studio (Pasion por Tango, run by Bev and Marion), the gracious culture and the skills I have learnt in dancing tango. Diego ( tango teacher) has gone now – back to Argentina then on to Paris to meet up with Liza – his gorgeous French girlfriend whom he met here! But his influence and artistry was so inspiring to many of us.

So I danced my solo at last Friday’s Milonga in acknowledgement – as a gift.

Have been filming this solo with the help of my nephew-in-law Stephen Waspe. He’s doing a great job with it. Looking forward to seeing the edited version. here’s a photo of the setup for the filming.

witch bitch B and W at tango 009cool eh?





Tango Adorno

28 04 2008

Went to a special ‘adorno’ tango lesson the other Sat afternoon. A lesson where you learn the way the legs and feet should be styled so it enhances the dance expereince and the look of the womens legs.

Intriguing.

It was taught by a dynamic mature woman Maina – she was very stylish herself in an off the shoulder top, who gave us lots of good info re the legs and how to manipulate the guy (slow down etc) so he dancers with you how you like it.

( it could have almost been a sex education lesson if you took out the dancing and did it lying down!)

The class was mainly women in their 30’s upward – elegant attractive women who became more so when dancing in this stlye!

Inspiring!

Attended another class last night (28th April) Like anything its 2 steps forward, one back in trying to get the hang of this form. Will keep on trying.

Went to Malia’s party the other night to wish her well as she’s going to Oz for a while – to spend time with Guy of course but also to set up and arrange a season of NZ dance at the Melbourne Dancehouse. I think thats great. They plan to perform ‘Terrain’ and other NZ dance artists will be joining them to peform their own works. Kristian Larsen and Maria Dubrovska I think.

Have booked to go to see Legacy, a hiphop crew from Wellington, who are performing at the Taupo Arts Festival on the 12th May. Looking forward to seeing their show.

And going to Pilobolus on Wed night so will report back about that show later.

 





Tempo, Tango and Dancing with the Stars

15 04 2008

Things are coming along with Tempo planning of the programme. Am meeting with lots of dance people who will hopefully be contributing to the festival in their various ways. Excited about the depth of the festival, all local content this year, with Michael Parmenter headlining, which is great, and other groups such as Touch Compass, Atamira, Tai and Taane’s new company Okareka!

Had a tango lesson on Monday night. Feel like i’m starting to feel it in my body now – a bit less on the surface. I really like the leg designs, hope to go to a class on Sat where we (the women) are shown ‘adorno’ which is how to add those fancy leg actions into the dance apparently.

As i was leaving the class I bumped into the young women from Backlit. Apparently they are learning a dance for Marianne Schultz for her doc about the ‘New’ Dance Group which existed here in the 1940’s.

Last night we all (4 pairs and our teacher Owen Scott) had a salsa lesson then watched ‘Dancing with the Stars’ finale. An interesting cultural experience. Ballroom is so camp isn’t it? They know it too. The big jazz dance number Candy and the group performed at the end was sooo OTT, but it worked because they brought out Rodney Hide – which tipped it into farce and therefore it worked. A man transformed by dance, a politician dancing on nationwide TV – only in NZ!

My favourite was Miriama – the actress – but all the amateurs had their individual strengths, even if it was only to have the courage to give it a go – well done to the blokes especially!