Chore­og­ra­pher’s ar­chi­tec­tural leap


It has taken in­ter­na­tion­ally recog­nised chore­og­ra­pher Jeremy Nel­son only 31⁄ weeks to craft his lat­est piece.

Nel­son, who for­merly lived in Lower Hutt and Welling­ton, re­turned home to chore­o­graph Bridges and Doors for Foot­note New Zealand Dance, to be per­formed at Massey Univer­sity’s Tea Gar­dens July 6 to 7.

He ar­rived at the end of May with not much more than an idea, but over the weeks it has de­vel­oped into a fully chore­ographed 25-minute per­for­mance.

The orig­i­nal idea came from New Zealand’s unique hous­ing ar­chi­tec­ture. It ques­tions the re­la­tion­ship be­tween the struc­tural de­sign build­ings and the in­ter­nal ar­chi­tec­ture of our bod­ies.

‘‘Be­cause it’s so dis­tinc­tive, I had this idea to try and do some­thing that re­lated ar­chi­tec­ture on the out­side with our ar­chi­tec­ture on the inside,’’ he said.

Nel­son, who has spent 20 years liv­ing and work­ing over­seas in cities such as London and Copen­hagen, stud­ied at Vic­to­ria Univer­sity. He is cur­rently an as­so­ci­ate arts pro­fes­sor in the dance depart­ment of New York Univer­sity’s Tisch School of the Arts.

Com­ing back to New Zealand to craft the piece was a nat­u­ral de­ci­sion, he said. ‘‘You have a lot of the ma­te­rial right in front of you as you walk around the city. You’re cer­tainly not go­ing to get those types of houses in New York City.’’

He wanted au­di­ences to feel phys­i­cally con­nected to the per­for­mance. ‘‘[I hope] that in some way the view­ers are taken to an­other place.

‘‘When I watch dance I feel that I con­nect on a phys­i­cal and in­tel­lec­tual level with what is go­ing on, so it’s not just about what I see but what I feel vis­cer­ally. I think that’s a re­ally im­por­tant part of dance – that un­spo­ken con­nec­tion that you make with some­one watch­ing it.’’

The per­for­mance is a part of Foot­notes’ Trans­fer show, which also fea­tures a piece by Ber­lin based New Zealand chore­og­ra­pher Joshua Rut­ter.


Foot­note New Zealand dancers, from left: Lana Phillips, Emma Dellabarca, Jeremy Beck, Bry­die Colquhoun, Jared He­mopo re­hearse ‘Bridges and Doors’ as chore­og­ra­pher Jeremy Nel­son looks on.

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