Touch Compass Dance Company's Acquistions is a lively, vigorous works
Dominion Post Review by Ann Hunt
Te Whaea Theatre, Wellington, until August 29
Touch Compass is a contemporary dance company comprised of disabled and non-disabled dancers and is based in Auckland. It is New Zealand's only inclusive dance company and their aim is to challenge people's perceptions of who can dance and what dance is.
Artistic director Catherine Chappell has curated this very enjoyable multi-media dance production, which features two performance works and a series of short films. The setting is an extremely versatile plywood box, known as the DanceBox. The company dances, literally and figuratively, inside and outside the box.
Undertide is a mixed media dance and film work by Body Cartography, United States-based choreographers Olive Beiringa and Otto Ramstad. The opening film sequence resembles beautiful sepia photographs. The minimalist movement is delicate and subtle, yet always intriguing.
Slowly, the film figures morph into live dancers who gradually ascend to the box and take over the performance. The ending, with the dancers turning and turning, is a lovely image. Claire Cowan's mysterious and slightly melancholy music adds to the hypnotic quality of this inventive work.
In this and in the other performance work, images of people squashed into boxes that don't fit them, is a telling metaphor for situations in which many disabled people find themselves – boxed in and confined by societal expectations.
In another film, drummer/dancer Duncan Armstrong begins playing on a drum kit, only to have the drums removed one by one, until he is left with just the sticks. Finally these are taken away and all he has is his hands. But he keeps on drumming - on the floor, the walls, and will not be stopped, until he is joined by one, then many, in a vigorous scene of energy and hope.
Watching Windows concludes the evening. A lively work created by the company dancers in collaboration with Chappell, Georgie Goater, Liz Kirk and Adrian Smith, it plays with scale and space, again utilising boxes of various shapes and sizes. The excellent music is by Chris O'Connor.