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……

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Why are the arms down in Irish dancing?

28 09 2013

We loved Ireland. After Morocco – which wasn’t our fave experience, we arrived at the Aer Lingus plane to hear laughter, joking, all in this charming accent like twittering sparrows, and felt a huge sense of relief!
Dublin was great – Sally (Danny’s sister) and Brendan gave us a fantastic intro to Dublin by inviting us to the Bernard Shaw Pub on the first night…..and we just went from there. The ‘Craic’ (the chat, the jokes, the puns, the stories) were fantastic, we laughed and laughed…..Phil felt right at home! An invite for a 30th the next Saturday decied the shape of our stay.

Sunday we experienced Hurling – no not throwing up – its the national game and really quite fast and furious – cool!

We had nearly 2 weeks in total in Ireland, 4 nights at first, then we hired a car and went West to Galway, Connemara, Cararroe….stayed at a wee bed and breakfast place 2 nights at Cararroe (pronounced Carrrrroy), then headed back to Dublin – with a night at Longford –  back to Dublin for Des’s 30th birthday where he was going to have a ‘spelling workshop’!! They love words – the Oirish – and it was a fascinating workshop then a great party!

We stayed another 5 nights in Dublin and had time to explore the city really well.

Went to a museum/collection by the engineer Alfred Chester Beatty where we viewed hundreds of ancient manuscripts and learnt how they were created – fantastic. And the floor with all the religions stuff was amazing – much food for thought there….Christian, Hinduism, Muslim, Jewish, Japanese Shintu, Chinese Buddhism, Tibetan, etc all their worship material – beautiful, and so beautifully representing their particular religious ( and political) aesthetic.

Went to the Irish Dance Museum – and I had to ask – why did Irish dance develop with arms down by the sides?

to the Irish Museum - which was really tiny but I found out about the arms!!

to the Irish Museum – which was really tiny but I found out about the arms!!

The answer – from the horses mouth – the dude at the Museum who was also an Irish dancer ………apparently it all stemmed from the Catholic Church not allowing the sexes to intermingle!!! Surprise, surprise!!
So they would go to dance halls to dance but the girls would be on one side, the boys on the other, and no touching, so arms kept tightly down by the sides!
And
another thing – yes they did take the doors down and lay them on the dirt floor because they wanted to make sound with their feet, and the doors were small spaces so it made sense to keep the arms in and down there also!!
So there you go!!

And – we got tattoos! Phil had been talking about getting one all through this trip and I’d been thinking about getting a second one on my 60th ( 3 years ago) but never got around to it soooo – here we  were and we liked their aesthetic – so we found a tattoo place and had matching ones done one afternoon. Phil got the artwork and some words meaning ‘Home and Family’ (Baile agus Can Clann) but I just got the artwork PHOTO – ouch that was enough!!!

Dublin is a great town. Hope to go back some time.





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!!





East Coast of Great Britain – Dracula, Hadrians Wall and all.

26 09 2013
Phil in front of the babe lair of Lindisfarne castle

Phil in front of the babe lair of Lindisfarne castle

I must just write this down, as you may have noticed I’m not really a writer so this is written always in a rush, just wanting to keep a record.

So  –  after Edinburgh where it was all work except for a quick trip to the Highlands –  we went as tourists down the east coast of Scotland and England.

Saw some wonderful sights and ruins.

Tue 28th We stopped at Lindisfarne – a beautiful castle – as Phil said ‘a great babe lair’ with a fab garden over the fields developed early 20th century by a girlfriend of the architect who restored it. She is well known – Gertrude Jekyll !

Wed 29th we went to Bamburgh Castle, another wild windswept site (didn’t go inside this time as they all charge like wounded bulls!)……..

then we drove to just near Newcastle to see the Angel of the North – wow – the scale, the shape, the materials used  -all fantastic……really awesome in the true sense of the word.

The Angel of the North

Then we drove to Hadrians wall – stopped at various places to consider when and where it was built. By Hadrian, the roman Emperor, circa 117  -138 AD to keep out the marauding Scots up North….. he was on a tour of his furthest fringes of the Roman Empire, saw what the problem and said ‘ build a wall’ – beautifully built along the ridge running roughly east to west, only 10 ft high but had garrisons every mile of line of sight from each other.

Thur 30th – we drove to Durham Cathedral – wow again – such grandeur! The monks of Lindisfarne actually carried the body of St Cuthbert around for 6 years and finally laid him to rest there.

Then we went to Dracula’s Lair – Whitby Abbey…cool…..moody, foreboding, deliciously so! Whitby itself was classic small coastal town where James Cook grew up apparently!

Dracula's Lair

Finally arrived at our friend Kate’s place at Castle Acre, near Norwich in Norfolk. Little village, so cute, with its own abbey and everything but all small scale!

Thanks Kate and Pearce for planning this amazing journey for us, thanks Kate for taking us in her car!

Fri 31st August – we headed to Marrakech – which sounds exciting and exotic but ……





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!





End of an amazing month

28 08 2013

The last few shows happened without a hitch – whew!
What a marathon……..but an experience we will never forget and have lots of to think about in terms of the show.

Edinburgh is such a great town – finally got to lots of shows and saw the castle!

The last performance I was actually very sentimental and felt very sad……but hey we’re doing a tour in November to the South Island so In Flagrante will live again!

Phil and I are now on a road trip down the East coast – Northumberland – its absolutely beautiful – then to Norwich and Marrakech on Friday!!





Five more shows

22 08 2013

Getting all sentimental now about ending our season at Ed Fringe! At this stage planning to come back again next year!
Having such lovely response from people – see this on our timeline after last nights show…..

 

Jake Dougal posted on In Flagrante’s timeline
“I have to be honest. I had never seen a show of this genre before, until tonight. And this will not be my last. I guarantee that.

I was absolutely astounded. The number of acts, each with their own individual theme, is striking and captivating. There is humour in all the right places; the shapes and forms created are utterly stunning; I felt hugely entertained throughout and even a little uneasy during one act, although I’m quite sure that was it’s purpose. All of the physical prowess is perfectly complimented by the exceptionally classy electro-swing soundtrack.

All involved have created a show of captivation, beauty and playfulness.

But most importantly, the cast were clearly having a fantastic time. Any show in which the cast radiate such indulgence and passion is a five star show in my books. (Not that my books are particularly important or anything…)

Will highly recommend to all!

(Also, for those considering going to see the show, don’t worry, you’ll only fall in love six times.)”