Per­for­mance treat


Agroup of Nel­son per­form­ers will be re­ceiv­ing top-flight in­struc­tion when a lead­ing phys­i­cal the­atre teacher vis­its the re­gion next week.

Lisa Wor­thing­ton, of Bris­bane-based the­atre com­pany Zen Zen Zo, will hold an in­ten­sive mas­ter class at River­side Com­mu­nity with Nel­son’s Body in Space ac­tors and stu­dents, as well as per­form­ers from around New Zealand.

The train­ing pro­gramme has been held in all the cap­i­tal cities of Aus­tralia as well as Auck­land, Van­cou­ver and Hong Kong.

The workshop par­tic­i­pants will train in the per­for­mance meth­ods of Suzuki, Bu­toh and also View­points, a tech­nique that al­lows per­form­ers in cre­ative the­atre to lift their aware­ness of their body in re­la­tion to space and time.

They will be work­ing from 9am to 5pm ev­ery day and will cre­ate a per­for­mance at the end of the week based on Os­car Wilde’s Salome.

‘‘Zen Zen Zo is a very big, very well sup­ported phys­i­cal the­atre com­pany; they get mil­lions of dol­lars in fund­ing a year,’’ Body in Space co-artis­tic di­rec­tor Lisa Al­lan says.

Lisa and her hus­band, Body in Space co-artis­tic di­rec­tor Dan Al­lan, flew to Bris­bane to study with Zen Zen Zo for a month in 2009, be­fore mov­ing to Nel­son to start their own the­atre com­pany in­cor­po­rat­ing its teach­ings.

‘‘It’s a fan­tas­tic op­por­tu­nity for pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment,’’ she said.

‘‘Usu­ally you’d have to pay thou­sands to go to Bris­bane and do this, so by bring­ing her in it’s amaz­ing for us.

‘‘It wouldn’t be ac­ces­si­ble to us oth­er­wise.’’ She is also pleased to fur­ther de­velop net­works be­tween New Zealand and Aus­tralia.

The camp was mas­ter­minded by Body in Space mem­ber and cir­cus/phys­i­cal the­atre per­former and teacher Da­mara Sylvester, who went to Zen Zen Zo her­self for a five-day ses­sion in Jan­uary.

She stud­ied tech­niques in­clud­ing Suzuki, View­points and de­vis­ing new the­atre and was so in­spired that she be­gan schem­ing ways to bring Ms Wor­thing­ton to Nel­son.

She teaches reg­u­larly at River­side and says it’s a beau­ti­ful venue.

‘‘[Zen Zen Zo] al­ways looked quite cut­ting-edge and in­trigu­ing and were do­ing quite dif­fer­ent stuff at arts fes­ti­vals,’’ Ms Sylvester says.

‘‘Body in Space uses those two train­ing modal­i­ties [of Suzuki and View­points] and I re­ally wanted the other peo­ple in Body in Space to have that op­por­tu­nity and also open it up to other peo­ple from around New Zealand, bring peo­ple to­gether in do­ing it and just cre­ate more aware­ness and deeper knowl­edge of those forms.

‘‘One of the nice things of the Bris­bane ex­pe­ri­ence was that it was that in­ten­sive you were im­mersed in it from wak­ing to sleep­ing.

‘‘It’s quite a gift to your­self as a per­former to be able to do that with your peers.’’

Silky strong: Da­mara Sylvester per­forms at a re­cent show.

Work­star is a free ser­vice for em­ploy­ers in the Nel­son Re­gion. We have work­ers who man­age a dis­abil­ity who are seek­ing re­tail, light in­dus­trial, clean­ing or land­scap­ing work.

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