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Event: Experimental Dance Week 1-5 Dec

Building on the success of an impressive inaugural year, Experimental Dance Week Aotearoa (EDWA) 2020 returns, with a refreshed local-focused format running from December 1-5 at the Herald Theatre, Auckland Live. Award-winning choreographer Alexa Wilson againcurates the programme, returning home last year after a decade based in Berlin to create the sell-out festival. Committed to providing support for performing artists and platforming their work during a truly challenging time, this will be Aotearoa’s first live dance festival held since March.

“Experimental Dance Week temporarily brought together experimental practitioners in an attempt to create an atmosphere of support, empathy, solidarity and conviviality.”
Victoria Wynne-Jones, The Pantograph Punch.

The expansive programme has adapted significantly due to the changing conditions 2020 has presented, as the original line-up announced for June was an even split between local and international artists. Due to the changes forced by COVID-19 travel restrictions, more talented dance artists from across the country have had the opportunity to come into the fold. Responding to the need to move with the times, the spirit of innovation is alive in the experimental dance community. Australian artists Rebecca Jensen and David Huggins are still programmed in EDWA 2020, as while they remain physically distant in Melbourne and Sydney, their works are being created in collaboration with local performers and can be presented live in Auckland.

The full 2020 Programme features: Kyah Dove, Charles Koroneho, Virginia Kennard, Julia Harvie, Rebecca Jensen, Amber Liberté, Faasu Afoa-Purcell, Katrina E. Bastian, Kelly Nash, Joanne Hobern and Jazmine Rose Phillips, Zahra Killeen-Chance, Jessie McCall, Caitlin Davey, val smith, Janaina Moraes, Neža Jamnikar, and David Huggins.

Aware of how the pandemic has disrupted live art and artists, curator Alexa Wilson has been overwhelmed by the patience, support, and understanding she and the rest of the community have received. Speaking about the excitement of finally putting up the festival in a tumultuous year, Alexa says “We recognise the power of art and performance to speak to these times and connect people whenever possible. We are hoping this is a chance for the Aotearoa performance community, audiences, and supporters to come together to celebrate the live during such transformative times.”

The inclusive craft of alternative dance is growing across the globe, reflecting a trend of dance that breaks boundaries. Auckland is becoming a sought-after destination to present work in, thanks to our local artists embracing the ingenuity and inventive nature of this form of dance, and sophisticated audiences creating a community to perform to.

Embracing the energy of a new decade, EDWA 2020 will focus on the art of this dance-form and its intersectionality. All works presented in the programme will be New Zealand debuts, with at least two performance sessions daily, plus talks, workshops, and off-site experiences spanning the 5-day festival. Many of them will bring discourses which are non-heteronormative and feminist to the week; a celebration of non-modernist contemporary artists that work to embody interdisciplinarity, improvisation, somatics and socio-political content in their work.

“A necessary platform for our arts industry to develop beyond the restricted conditions of places and spaces to meet and share our practices. It achieved its expectations to make visible a whole bunch of incredible artists who are often marginalised for their ‘experimental’ nature in work… yet experimental work (especially in dance) is integral for social and political change”
– Anonymous feedback, EDWA 2019.

Alexa Wilson is an award-winning dancer, choreographer, collaborator, curator and teacher who has spent 10 years performing in Europe and worldwide. The festival is her offering of avant-garde dance; a joyous celebration of artists and art, and a gathering of like-minds for performance and discussion. Among her credits, Wilson choreographed the award-winning Magic Box (2004) and Toxic White Elephant Shock (2009), for which she earned the prestigious title of Best Emerging Choreographer and the Creative New Zealand Tup Lang Award respectively. She returned in 2011 to win four Auckland Fringe Awards for her solo Weg: A-Way and had since created two works with Footnote NZ Dance – The Status of Being (2014) and The Dark Light (2017). Her work has taken her all around the world, including Berlin, Vienna, New York City, Germany, Belgium, Poland, London, Stockholm, Zurich, India, China and Vancouver, with a canon of choreographed work that includes Star/Oracle (2014), The Resistant Body and 21 Movements (2017), Extraordinary Aliens (2016), 999: Alchemist Trauma Centre/Power Centre, (2018). She curated Morni Hills Performance Biennale in India (2017) and published Theatre of Ocean in 2020.

NOTE – copy for this event provided by Elephant Publicity

Experimental Dance Week Aotearoa 2020

December 1-5, 2020

Herald Theatre, Auckland Live

n.b. This festival can still occur in the event of a shift to COVID Alert Level 2

Tickets available through Ticketmaster

Performances (including one off-site): Adult, $25; Concession & Groups 4+, $18
Workshops:  Adult, $15; Concession & Groups 4+, $10
2-for-1 deal: $35
Multi-show and workshop passes are available, visit for full details

Full details of performances and workshops are available at https://cargocollective.com/experimentaldanceweekaotearoa/Programme-2020

Tuesday 1 December

7pm: Herald Theatre, performances by Charles Koroneho & Virginia Kennard

Charles Koroneho: Opening Herald Theatre Space Performance
Virginia Kennard: Disssordered Deficit of Active Attention

9pm: Herald Theatre, Joanne Hobern and Jazmine Rose-Phillips: Magnificent Violent Sparkles
R18.Contains nudity and adult language

Wednesday 2 December

1pm-4pm: Workshop, Janaina Moraes, Landscaping, Wellesley Studios, Studio 1.
Sharing tasks and compositional questions that have been driving the performance Assistir Árvores

5.30pm: Alys Longley and Guests Panel talk, Herald Theatre foyer:
Lo que cruzamos para llegar aquí/ What we cross to get here

7pm: Herald Theatre, performances by Amber Liberté & Fa’asu Aloa-Purcell

Fa’asu Aloa-Purcell, ‘Let them eat cake’

9pm: Herald Theatre, performance by Kelly Nash: Body I(s)land

Thursday 3 December

1pm-4pm: Workshop, Joanne Hobern, Game Making, Wellesley Studios, Studio 1.

Explores the nature of physical games.

5.30pm: Conversation Relay Game, Herald Theatre foyer.
Open conversation to anyone interested about experimental and performing arts during this time.

7pm: Herald Theatre, performances by David Huggins/Olivia McGregor & Caitlin Davey
David Huggins: Performing Object I – created by David Huggins, NZ performances by Olivia McGregor

Caitlin Davey: Stargirl

9pm: Herald Theatre, performances by Rebecca Jensen & val smith

Rebecca Jensen: The Effect – video performance
val smith: I’ll grow back

Friday 4 December

1pm-4pm: Workshop, Fa’asu Aloa-Purcell and Katrina Bastian: Dance Care Map: Creating a Dancers’ Manifesto, Wellesley Studios, Studio 1.
Using collective dialogue and action to create a manifesto for a more equitable, sustainable, and compassionate dance future

7pm: Herald Theatre, performances by Zahra Killeen-Chance & Neža Jamnikar

Zahra Killeen-Chance: Elliptical Fiction

Neža Jamnikar: Love, instantly!

9pm: Herald Theatre, performance by Kyah Dove: To Cut a Mermaid’s Tongue

R18.Contains nudity, sexual content, references to violence and themes that may disturb.

Saturday 5 December

1pm: Off-site performance by Janaina Moraes: Assistir árvores. Meeting at Herald Theatre

7pm: Herald Theatre, performance by Jessie McCall: Daybreak Estate

9pm: Herald Theatre, performances by Katrina Bastian & Julia Harvie

Katrina Bastian: Soliloquy in Sweat

Julia Harvie: Hummingbird


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