Malia Johnston has completed the first HOTBOX entitled 'Rogue' with dancers Alisha McLennan, Georgie Goater, Daniel King and new comer Zildjian Robinson.
Rogue showing comments:
"Finally an opportunity to kinaesthetically feel disability and not be separated by it".
"Liked the sense of people in urban setting getting on with stuff …. meeting , parting , moving".
The Hotbox series are small boutique works performed in a variety of spaces including in a theatre, garage, hall, mall, school, shop, museum or art gallery to name a few. The HOTBOX series will consist of choreographed and improvised works, duets, trios or quartets. A community development programme where the participants will be taught how to make their own HOTBOX through workshops and residencies.
If you are interested in hosting a Hotbox please contact Catherine Chappell firstname.lastname@example.org
The Cube in association with Touch Compass proudly presents, "One day of Epic Experiences" - Monday 3rd December - 40 Ethel Street, Sandringham from 3.00pm - 4.30pm.
Show us your moves in a workshop with Touch Compass, then see them dance off against a guest crew !!
Check out the photo's http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.510497428984450.120663.377960202238174&type=3
For information about The Cube go to: www.thecube.org.nz
'SEAMLESS' A double bill from New Zealand and Tasmania
When: 20th October 4.00 pm and 21st October 6.00 pm
Where: Q Theatre, 305 Queen Street, Auckland City
Touch Compass New Zealand’s leading integrated dance Company presents Spring a spacious and buoyant new aerial bungee born out of Artistic Director Catherine Chappell’s recent Creative NZ choreographic fellowship. Spring lofts to new heights with a glorious musical score by Eden Mulholland, stunning set installation by Brydee Rood with original lighting design by Martyn Roberts. Featuring a powerful cast of Matt Gibbons, Sarah Houbolt, Alisha McLennan and Adrian Smith.
“I expected loud overt tricks but receive gentle subtle ones instead. In particular I enjoy watching the way in which the action and elasticity of the bungee cord reverberates through each of the performer's bodies with such liquid ease.” – Anna Bate, Theatre Review
The Company I Keep a journey through the sensations and emotions that we share when we dress up for a first date, prepare for a party, argue with parents or simply share a quiet moment with someone we care for. A heartfelt and enriching journey celebrating relationships as they begin and develop and keep. This is dance, gesture and voice but above all its humanity in all its richness. It is the company we keep.
Award winning director Finegan Kruckemeyer created The Company I Keep on Tasmanian based group Second Echo, produced by Tasmanian Theatre Company and Cosmos Recreational Services with funding from the Tasmanian Government.
SEAMLESS – “It’s a pleasure to be able to present this exciting programme a delicate and poignant show that will connect at a deep level”. Catherine Chappell
GREAT TICKET OFFERS!
Pre-sale to Friends of Tempo are available until Wed, 15 August at 9am
Get preferential booking and $5 off all adult and child prices plus great family, student group and 10 trip tickets. Click HERE to book! .
Great discounts for groups of 6 or more. Book online or phone 09 307 5058.
Experience dance beyond difference, it will change your life.
Alisha is about to travel to the UK and study with Wired Aerial Theatre in Liverpool. We wish her a fantastic
trip. Check out her blog: http://alishamclennan.blog.com/
'Big A' Artistic Achievement awards go to two Touch Compass dancers! Check out facebook for image and more.
Possibly New Zealand’s first and largest aerial capable, wheelchair accessible dance studio will open on Saturday 31 March.
Mr David Shearer, MP for Mt Albert will officially open inclusive dance company Touch Compass’s Sandringham studio at a gala event that includes performances by the community class and the professional company.
The studio has been made possible since an anonymous donation was gifted in 2008. An accessible studio has always been a vision for Touch Compass’s founder and artistic director Catherine Chappell who pioneered inclusive or integrated dance (disabled and non disabled dancers) in New Zealand 15 years ago.
“It’s been such a long time coming,” said Catherine. “When we heard we were to receive such a generous donation it was a no-brainer as far as I was concerned that it would be invested in a studio. So we’ve spent the last three years scrupulously looking for the right inner city location, with the right height for our aerial work, as well as being wheelchair accessible.”
Guests attending the opening will have a sneak preview of the new aerial bungee work that will feature in the company’s new 15th anniversary season, 27 to 31 June at Q Theatre.
Touch Compass is pleased to announce that its expression of interest in Creative New Zealand's Arts Leadership Investment Programme has been successful. The Arts Board recognised Touch Compass's ability to deliver the programme's key roles of creating, presenting and distributing high quality contemporary New Zealand dance, and providing professional development services and information to the wider dance sector. This is a great coup for Touch Compass and will enable us to truly develop our training and performance programme over a number of years.
The founder of Touch Compass Dance Trust, Catherine Chappell, has been awarded the 2011 Creative New Zealand Choreographic Fellowship.
Worth $65,000, it is the largest choreographic award or fellowship available in New Zealand and provides the resources and time for established choreographers to commit to a period of investigation, experimentation and research.
Auckland-based, Catherine Chappell’s professional dance career spans 25 years and a variety of roles, including dancer, teacher, choreographer, mentor and producer. Following on from a strong background in contact improvisation, Catherine established Touch Compass in 1997 – New Zealand’s first integrated Dance Company for mixed-ability performers. From the first performance, Touch Compass has developed ‘aerial work’, which sees wheelchairs and dancers suspended and swinging above the stage. This work has earned Touch Compass the reputation of being a pioneering and ingenious contemporary dance company.
Touch Compass dances around North Island for 10th birthday celebration Renowned New Zealand dance company Touch Compass celebrates its 10th anniversary in Auckland from October 17, 2007 with a four centre North Island tour. The company's most memorable works have been selected for this retrospective showcase, including the outstanding and critically acclaimed work - Lusi's Eden. Over the last ten years audiences have been drawn to the beauty and skill of this ground breaking company, unique for its integration of professional dancers and choreographers with and without a disability. Highly regarded for their innovation and "flying", which sees wheelchairs and dancers suspended and swinging above the stage, the company creates work to challenge public perception of "what dance is and who is a dancer". The work that has resulted has earned Touch Compass the reputation as a pioneering and ingenious contemporary dance company. A decade ago, artistic director and founder Catherine Chappell returned home from the United States to experiment with her newly learned contact improvisation skills. Touch Compass was created in the same year and in 1997 the first Touch Compass season proudly premiered at Auckland's Maidment Theatre. Lusi's Eden is a theatrical journey which sees the heroine Lusi Faiva trade her electric wheelchair for a harness, to fly her to freedom across the stage and high above the audience. This physical and metaphorical flight of fancy inspires and uplifts audiences, who identify with the liberation of spirit which is captured by this poignant and exuberant work.
Congratulations to two of our dancers!
Our newest company member Sarah Houbolt was awarded the inaugural Big ‘A’ Artistic Achievement Award 2012, recognising her outstanding achievements and contribution as an artist with a sensory impairment. A Highly Commended certificate was presented to long standing company dancer Daniel King.
The 2012 awards ceremony were held in the Banquet Hall at Parliament on 18 July.
Jesse Johnstone-Steele and Duncan Armstrong attended the World Down Syndrome Day Masquerade Ball and both received an Achievement Award in March 2011.
Winner: Suzanne Cowan - Touch Compass choreographer and dancer
There were 8 categories of Attitude Awards - Youth, Employer, Enterprise, Arts, Community, Sportswoman, Sportsman, and Spirit. Form each of these categories, one Supreme Attitude Award winner was selected. Congratulations Suzanne!
Touch Compass received two Tempo Dance Festival awards in 2008 for:
Best Costume Design:
Grotteschi-- Suzanne Cowan (from Touch Compass' Harmonious Oddity)
People's Choice Award for "Best in Show:"
Touch Compass' Harmonious Oddity
Winner: Suzanne Cowan - Touch Compass choreographer and dancer
Congratulations to Suzanne Cowan for winning the Attitude Art Award. These were the first Attitude TV Awards, designed to honour the outstanding achievements of people living with disabilities, in the Arts, Sport, and Business.
Suzanne was nominated by Touch Compass, for her outstanding work as a choreographer and dancer, most recently choreographing and dancing in the acclaimed duet Grotteschi. Suzanne is also a Touch Compass Board member, and is completing a Masters (MCPA) in Dance at Auckland University.
Touch Compass received four Tempo Dance Festival awards in 2007 for:
Best Production: Touch Compass 10th Anniversary Tour
Best Lighting: Nik Janiurek
Best Male Dancer: Jeremy Poi
Best Female Dancer: Dolina Wehipeihana
In November 2007, North and South Magazine awarded Touch Compass Dance Trust an Honourable Mention in the New Zealander of the Year Awards Arts category. Congratulations to Catherine and the Touch Compass team!
Reviewed by Anna Bate, 29 Jun 2012 for Theatre View
Choreographers: Catherine Chappell, Carol Brown, Marc Brew
Composers: Eden Mulholland, Russell Scoones, Drew MacMillan
Touch Compass, New Zealand’s leading integrated dance company, took to the stage at Auckland’s Q Theatre last night to present their 15 year anniversary show; Run, Slip, Spring. This triple bill featured choreography by Carol Brown (NZ/UK), Marc Brew (UK/Au) and company director Catherine Chappell (NZ).
Before I launch into the review I think it is important to briefly acknowledge the accomplishment of this company, as they have survived and continue to thrive at the ripe old age of fifteen. That’s ancient in New Zealand dance company years! The visibility this company has created for the validity of ‘all bodies’ expression within (and outside of) the NZ professional dance sector is remarkable. So, sending out many thanks to Catherine Chappell and company members past and present for your work and contribution to changing attitudes and lives through dance in NZ.
And now for the show:
The program opens with a re-worked version of Carol Brown’s Slip, I’m not falling I’m just holding on for as long as you can hold me (2010). The work revolves around a personal story from each of the six dancers; Alisha McLennan, Emilia Rubio, Daniel King, Melanie Turner, Georgie Goater and Jesse Johnstone-Steele – who are joined on stage by singer Tracy Z.
As an audience member I zoom in to encounter the re-telling of life changing events, and then back out to view the expanded picture, a group at play. Whilst individuals are highlighted the group remains visible, supporting as back up dancers to an album of life’s greatest hits. What appeals to me in these narrative accounts is that they are told through multiple mediums and that the ‘whole’ is never revealed in an easily definable way. We are instead exposed to partial stories through differing forms of expression: original song (Russell Scoones), costume (Christina Houghton), and movement (Carol and dancers). The proficient integration and layering of these elements, at times produces poetic moments of poignancy, emerging skillfully from the ever-changing rhythm of the work and revealing a depth of human experience that resonates clearly in the performers’ bodies.
In particular I am drawn to Dan preparing to tell, Georgie shedding the cotton-wool skin of her dress, and Alisha suspended and ‘falling’ whilst openly supported by the weight of the group. However some moments, for me, lack the impact that I think was intended. In particular I struggle with the more up-beat sections of the work, they feel forced and the dancers appear to lack a physical connection to the material in these instances, (Jesse being the exception). I wonder how these sections may be approached choreographically and performed in a way that is more genuine and in keeping with the sincerity that permeates most of the work?
Following this is Marc Brew’s choreography, Run, self-described as a work that explores escaping the past whilst fearing moving towards the future. From this image I expected a standstill of sorts, riddled with tension and Run most definitely delivers on this front. Conveyed through sharp, direct and at times mechanical movement Adrian Smith, Daniel, Georgie and Suzanne Cowan perform this choreography with committed gusto. I enjoy the punchiness of the vocabulary and am intrigued and drawn into the floor work that exhibits a skillful knowledge of low-level movements that my body is not accustomed to.
The musical score by Drew McMillan is a driving force, emotively conjuring tension and suspense. This music teamed with the other production elements, black and silver costumes and rectangular boxes of light, has me making associations with action movies from the 90s. I am however not sure if this aesthetic is intentional? And think that perhaps these stylistic choices (costumes and lights) need to be re-considered, because, for me, they don’t support the work as effectively as they could.
In talking of the work Marc emphasises ‘challenge’ as being an important factor within the choreography. This ‘challenge’ is evident in the physicality of the performers as they navigate difficult movement pathways. However there is ease in my watching of the work, as I follow the ride, witnessing a whirl of tension, I begin to question how Marc might also catch me out with a challenge. Despite these criticisms, on the whole I feel that the performance traverses and explores a particular physical state, and does so with success, exhibiting a skilful rigour in the rehearsal direction and performance of the work.
Concluding the program is company director Catherine Chappell’s new work Spring. For me this choreography is a quiet surprise - a spaciously rich work that demands a kind of attention from both performer and audience that I had not previously experienced at a Touch Compass show. Spring was devised through an exploration of the bungee equipment the company have recently acquired. It appears that the quality of movement that this equipment generates infiltrated the entirety of the work: the music (so carefully crafted by Eden Mulholland), the performance design, and the open attentiveness that oozes through the dancers (Alisha, Matt Gibbon, Adrian and Sarah Houbolt) bodies from beginning to end.
I admire Catherine’s simple approach to this work, both in the opening pre-amble as bodies playfully position themselves in space and in the choices of material performed on the bungees. I expected loud overt tricks but receive gentle subtle ones instead. In particular I enjoy watching the way in which the action and elasticity of the bungee cord reverberates through each of the performer's bodies with such liquid ease. And how the act of working with these cords, in such close proximity to another body, requires unfaltering attention and constant moment-to-moment decision-making. They were not showing, they were doing and this I like.
For the past 15 years Touch Compass has been inspiring and entertaining audiences here and in Australia with its innovative integrated dance works. Over that time Touch Compass has grown into a world-class company that challenges the way we think about dance.
I had the pleasure of attending last year’s Triple Bill and seeing firsthand the remarkable creativity and skill of the company’s dancers and choreographers. They are well deserving of the critical acclaim that each of their performances receive.
We all know the positive values the arts bring to people’s lives. But we also know life is not always a level playing field and many New Zealanders struggle to have access to the arts. Touch Compass helps redress this imbalance by valuing everyone’s creative aspirations and providing equal access to performance opportunities.
I am pleased the Government is able to support Touch Compass through funding from the Arts Council. In recognition of the company’s excellence it was accepted into the Arts Council’s new Arts Leadership Investment (Toi Totara Haemata) programme at the end of 2010. This programme provides longer-term funding for organisations that play a key role in providing high-quality arts experiences to New Zealanders.
The opening of this new studio marks another important milestone for Touch Compass. Congratulations to everyone involved in the company. All the best for the future.
Hon Chris Finlayson
Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage
Reviewed by Jennifer Shennan
This intrepid little company combining dancers with and without disability visiting from Auckland presents a trio of contrasting works in a coherently themed programme.
The performance offers insight into the very nature of dance via physics of movement coupled with determination of spirit. The choreography is mature, edgy, and keeps our unflagging attention throughout.
Fastidious preparation has always been a hallmark of Touch Compass''s work. It has to be – so much is at stake. That''s not because dancers in wheelchairs are travelling and spinning at speed, or because of the huge challenge to find balance when gravity and physical asymmetry are the givens.
Rather, it is because the company, under visionary director Catherine Chappell, has always set sights on the aesthetic, expressive and affective aspects of performance, never on the mere display or demonstration of abilities.
Grotteschi, Suzanne Cowan''s astonishing choreography, evokes a work of Hieronymous Bosch. Hell and Heaven are there, and surely an entomologist set this tango.
Cowan and Adrian Smith in quirky rhythms and broken angles release superb lines of epaulement in the upper body.
Six, by Jeremy Nelson, takes the numeral and spins it from arithmetic into geometry.
Scores of abstract patterns, beautifully phrased, shape encounters between the cast – Catherine Chappell with the laid-back grace of her mastery of contract improvisation, Daniel King as trustworthy as a strong tree in the wind, Cowan and Alisha McLennan leaning through elegant easy curves, Julia Milsom and Adrian Smith in fine clarity of movement.
Carol Brown''s Slip, is an unconventional work of quiet yet real power, with dancers telling something of themselves.
In lyrics powerfully performed by Tracy Z, the cast of six, here including Kerryn McMurdo and Jesse Johnstone-Steele, sketch a narrative that gives a poignant cameo to what the whole evening is about.
McLennan''s high-flying sequence is superb.
My companion has been watching dance performance for close on 70 years. This evening moved him more than any other he can recall.
The performers take their exit not through the conventional side wings but a gap in the back curtain, like a travelling troupe of players in search of their next audience.
Try to be in it.
TEMPO 08 - Touch Compass - Harmonious Oddity, Maidment Theatre
By Raewyn Whyte, 02 October 2008
The standout highlight of Tempo 08's opening week was Grotteschi, an enthralling duet by Touch Compass dancers Suzanne Cowan and Adrian Smith, alias Ava the Spiderwoman and Argyle the Mantis Man, set in and around Ava's lair. From the opening moments you knew that Ava, in her low-cut frilly red and white polka dot dress with her six dangling legs and her subtle webbing of light, was both queen of all she surveys, and very hungry. So when Argyle, an upside down, inside out, extremely agile and insouciant creature yearning for love came within her reach, you just knew it wasn't going to go well for him.
Choreographed by Cowan, with a carnivalesque score by Charlotte Rose, the dance became a saga of seduction (from his perspective) and parry and feint for domination (from hers), almost entirely achieved through extraordinarily responsive partnering. Tailor-made to exploit the capabilities of these performers, the dance drew sustained applause.
Sidestep and Theatreview Review
By Felicity Molloy, 02 October 2008
Touch Compass have undergone a metamorphosis. The core dancers have remained the same and the newer dancers fit beautifully with the company’s movement ranges and style, but the dance itself has shifted.
Maybe it is the driving beauty of Suzanne Cowan, her precise and articulate movements capturing the dream range of Miss Muffet, of her Grotteschi story and at times a complicated juxtaposition of who gets who in the spider web, drives this programme forward?
Lusi''s Eden May 5, 2001 by Marianne Shultz, NZ Listener The real crowd-pleaser turns out to be the final work on the programme, Lusi''s Eden, performed by Touch Compass and created by choreographer Catherine Chappell and director Christian Penny. The eight performers (abled and disabled) dance, speak, sing, run, tricycle and fly, via ropes, to convey a moving tale of loneliness and intimacy. Penny''s influence is evident in the tight structure and focused performances from all the cast.
October, 1999 by Linda Ashley, DANZ Bulletin (excerpt) Five different choreographers were employed and this gave a suitable variety. I would have been happier with fewer of them and more developed works, which had less room for fluctuation in quality. However the mix was potent. Humour and a richly gestural language in This Word Love (Carla Martell) captivated and amused as the highs, lows and many contradictions of love manifested themselves in a pas de quatre. Cerebral contemplation of humans in space in Airborne (Raewyn Thorburn) wove pathways through the very air we breathe. The simple, effective use of the silk seemed to weave a spell in which the audience were trapped. The whole showed a satisfying development of movements, theme and the relationships between the dancers. In Infinite Sides (Malia Johnston) tenderness was mixed with echoes of the show''s overall deeper values, as mentioned above. The problems of copycat or emulation or reflection of a physical disability were addressed, whether or not it was successfully so is a question that remains. A difficult area which needs perhaps more psychological considerations if it is to really hit the mark. But there was some intriguing vocabulary, and lots of it. The main work of the evening, Disclosure by Catherine Chappell, is a real promise that this company is movin'' and shakin''. It presented more challenging food for thought and is definitely the way ahead for such work. The fact the dancers had a large input into this dance was clear as through the carefully observed and chosen signature movements their personalities gradually emerged. This was resonant and supported by the sculptures of their hands and feet (Kirsten van de Meijden). The tendency to be a little disjointed was a pity, and there needs to be time spent on the question "When is a transition not a transition?" Perhaps the lighting and difficulty of lack of wing space were contributing factors here. In spite of this the piece was involving, delightful and led to a fine finale. Throughout, the set (Patsy Blackstock) and costumes (Suzanne Sturrick and Christine Klingenberg) provided substantial enhancement to the evening. As did the terrific accompaniment sounds by Philip Colson.