North Shore Times - Pick & Mix article

Touch Compass, Auckland's inclusive dance company, reaches new heights with a show for kids

Fun, games and dance as Touch Compass presents All The Way Home at Auckland Live's 2015 Pick & Mix series.
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Fun, games and dance as Touch Compass presents All The Way Home at Auckland Live's 2015 Pick & Mix series.

Working with challenges and trying new things is nothing new for Auckland's inclusive dance group.

However, their next performance is a first even for them: performing for young children.

Touch Compass Dance Co. is New Zealand's only professional, inclusive dance company and provides the stage for both disabled and non-disabled dancers to meet, on the floor and in mid-air.

High art and inclusive dance members have always been Touch Compass's premise.
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High art and inclusive dance members have always been Touch Compass's premise.Artistic director Catherine Chappell, originally from Mairangi Bay, has been working with Touch Compass for nearly 20 years.

While her next show is perhaps venturing into new territory, Chappell says that she is excited to be tailoring her work for this new demographic.

Instead of following a rigid plan from a book, this time the group are "making it up as they go".

"Not necessarily all of our work is tailored for children," she says.

Pick and Mix's Auckland Live series is a free, non ticketed event that brings performances and workshops to families from June 17 to September 4.

Entitled All The Way Home, Touch Compass's show is a feature of this series, and is suitable for 4 to 10-year-olds.

An inclusive dance cast aims to advocate, change perceptions and change expectations held by some people.

A sort of "isn't it nice what they do for those people" attitude can be patronising, she says.

"It's great working with people who are younger because they don't have those preconceptions".

Despite the demographic, Chappell will not scrimp on style.

"Children's theatre has to be as good as adult theatre," she says.

"We've made something especially for it."

The show features lots of props, a red trike, and a boy character who weaves his way through different worlds.

"It's important to get the right art to the work, so the audience feels like they are engaged in and on the journey.

"We have to get the flow right," she says.

Back in 1997, Chappell had no intention of founding such a successful dance company.

She says it was just an "organic pathway".

"There wasn't anyone who was open to doing it and it wasn't known that people with disabilities could dance."

  • Saturday, August 20 from 10.30am till 11.30am. Concert Chamber, Auckland Town Hall.
  • Sunday, August 21 from 10.30am till 11.30am. Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna.
Date: 
Thursday, 4 August, 2016
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