Dancers

Duncan Armstrong
Dancer

Hailing from the Capital, Duncan is new to Auckland – but he certainly isn’t new to performing. First dancing with Touch Compass in 2011 in the youth project Embedded, he’s gone on to play an integral part in many other projects and events – including the Wellington and Auckland Dance Festivals. Duncan is also a talented actor and drummer, performance abilities that add further depth to his dancing.

                         

Alisha McLennan
Dancer and Support Tutor

Alisha joined Touch Compass’ community class in 2002, and has danced steadily with the company ever since. She is now both a dancer and a support tutor for our Youth and Secondary Schools Programme. A talented individual with a multitude of career highlights behind her, those of particular note include receiving a North Harbour AIMES award to study aerial dance in the UK in 2011 and being awarded the TV One Attitude Artistic Achievement Award in 2013. Alisha’s goal is to continue working with New Zealand’s disability and dance communities to ensure that dance is accessible to everyone.

Meet Alisha in her interview with the Attitude Awards Trust

Adrian Smith

Picking up a dance degree from Unitec in 2003, Adrian went on to work on numerous artistic, corporate and film and TV projects, both in New Zealand and internationally. After collaboratively devising a series of award-winning shows, he won Best Male Dancer at the 2006 Tempo Dance Festival – and was nominated again in 2008. This was also the year that Adrian joined Touch Compass, where he has played a leading role – both literally and figuratively. Adrian’s performances are inspired by improvisation, martial arts, contemporary dance, breakdance, laughter, compassion, sports, animals, kids and various other moving things.

Suzanne Cowan

Suzanne has been an integral part of the Touch Compass performance team, working with us as both a dancer and a choreographer since 1999. Involved in professional contemporary dance in one way or another for the last 15 years, she has had roles ranging from everything from a dancer to a dance researcher. Suzanne has created and performed in numerous Touch Compass performances, as well as performing internationally with UK-based CandoCo dance company. Career highlights have included winning the inaugural Attitude TV Art Award and the Supreme Award in 2008 and being awarded First Class Honours for her Masters in Creative and Performing Arts from Auckland University in 2009. More recently, she won a 2013 AMP National Scholarship, as well as the June Opie Fellowship and the Ian Campbell Scholarship in 2014, in recognition of her research and work in the fields of contemporary dance and disability.

Georgie Goater
Dancer and Integrated Dance Teacher

Georgie has been with Touch Compass for three-and-a-half years, after joining our 15th anniversary show. She trained at Unitec and went on to co-found award-winning dance collective BackLit Productions. A performer and collaborator, Georgie has worked with local choreographers Malia Johnstone, Carol Brown, Alexa Wilson, Kristian Larsen, Anna Bate, Morag Brownlie, Mary-Jane O'Reilley, Kelly Nash, Katie Burton and Zahra Killeen-Chance. She taught at the Marian McDermott School of Dance for three years and currently teaches integrated dance at Takapuna Grammar School with Touch Compass.

Cameron Lansdown-Goodman
Dancer

Growing up in the Northern Territory, Cameron started taking ballet classes at the age of six – going on to become deeply involved in the development of Darwin’s dance community. After completing a Bachelor of Arts in Dance at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Cameron developed an interest for education too – especially in creating awareness of dance as a form of self-expression. In his final year at WAAPA, Cameron participated in a Dance Integrated Australia’s Bundanon Residency, which sparked his interest in integrated dance practice. In 2015 Cameron joined Touch Compass, where he is eager to put everything he has learnt into practice.

Julie van Renen
Dancer

Graduating from UNITEC in 2003 with a Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts majoring in Contemporary Dance, Julie has been busy ever since working as a dancer, choreographer and teacher. Her freelance career has given her opportunities to work with many noted choreographers such as Megan Adams, Jessie McCall, Carol Brown and Mary-Jane O’Reilly. Julie has also performed with Backlit Productions and is a long-standing member of Spinning Sun Dance Company under the direction of Ann Dewey. Julie joined Touch Compass earlier this year, and is enjoying living our motto of dancing like no-one is watching – or like everyone is.

Joshua Pether
Dancer

A new Touch Compass recruit, Joshua is over here from Western Australia. There has been a lot of packing in recent years, as he only moved to Perth from Queensland in 2012 to join LINK Dance Company, where he worked with many noted choreographers. Joshua went on to set up dance collective Symbiosis with fellow LINK graduate, Catherine Ryan. Together they choreographed and performed in various works, and received an Australia Council for the Arts grant allowing them to work with mentor Dan Daw in Sweden, Perth and the UK. Joshua is a passionate advocate for disability in the arts, and his practice approaches the topic from a keen research base. 

Samantha Wood-Rawnsley
Dancer

After graduating from Unitec in 2009 with a Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts majoring in Contemporary Dance, Samantha began to fly. A co-founder of Etched Dance Productions and an independent freelance artist, she has choreographed and performed in works and festivals around the country – including the NZ Fringe Festivals, Tempo Dance Festival, The Body Festival, Short and Sweet, The Beaten Track platform and White Night. In recent years Samantha has worked as a dance specialist with dance4everyone, providing enjoyable and inclusive dance experiences – something she now excels at doing with Touch Compass too.