Dancers

Rodney Bell
Principal Dancer and Tutor
Rodney Bell, winner of the 2016 Attitude Artistic Achievement Award

Rodney has been dancing professionally since 1995; having started out as a Touch Compass founding member. Proud to be a pioneer for physically inclusive dance, Rodney has performed both nationally and internationally – winning an Isadora Dance Award while dancing in the US with Axis Dance Company. Rodney was also the winner of the Attitude Artistic Achievement Award, in 2016, and the Arts Access Aotearoa Artistic Achievement Award in 2017.

Increasingly Rodney finds himself working across varied media, including film, commercials, documentaries, fashion shows and in motivational presentations. With his strong focus on Universal Access, Rodney is also extensively involved in organisations that advocate and pursue wide access for people with and without disabilities.

Honoured to be dancing with Touch Compass, Rodney hopes to continue to change the way we all view dance. His motto is: “He waka eke noa” (a canoe we are all in with no expectations)

 

Duncan Armstrong
Dancer
Duncan Armstrong - Touch Compass 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

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.

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.

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.

 

 

 

Lusi Faiva
Dancer
Lusi Faiva performing in Mr&Mrs Jones DanceBox film

Lusi is of Samoan decent. A founding member of Touch Compass she has performed and toured New Zealand and Australia in the company’s major shows from 1997 to 2007. In 2001 Lusi performed in the highly acclaimed Lusi’s Eden that is based on her life. As a dancer with Splash Dance Company, Lusi performed in Absurd Beauties in 2004 and then went on to perform in Tempo’s Old Yella season in 2005-06.

Lusi was also the star performer of the 2014 DanceBox short film Mr and Mrs Jones that paid tribute to two key people in her life, her foster parents. Lusi currently supports and dances with the company’s community class and has recently performed at the Touch Compass InMotion Matariki event on Auckland’s waterfront and the InterAct Disability Arts Festival.

Sierra Diprose
Dancer and Support Tutor

Sierra graduated from Unitec in 2011 with a Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts majoring in Contemporary Dance. During her final year of study she was awarded the prestigious Eileen May Norris Dance Scholarship. Since graduating she has worked as a freelance dancer, performing with many local artists on a diverse array of projects.

Sierra is also working on her own project, called the #thedoalittledanceproject, whereby she draws upon social media as a platform to challenge her creativity every day.

Sierra has been performing with Touch Compass since the start of 2016 and, as well as dance, works as a support tutor for our youth and community classes.