Dancing into a legacy
New dance company uses NZ songwriters
Sonja Christensen may be leaving behind a legacy, but for now, she’s starting one up.
Sonja has been dancing for more than half a century — recently stepping sideways from her love of contemporary into ballet and passing her RAD advance foundation at 54, alongside dancers in their teens. Now Sonja has formed Legacy Dance Company, an opportunity which sprung from adversity.
“I started to choreograph around a family issue and ended up obsessing about New Zealand Music Month in May. I wanted to work on a New Zealand track and used Split Enz’ I hope I Never. That was also a nod to our iconic New Zealand songwriters — the seed was planted.”
As well as around a dozen Year 12 and 13 Napier Girls’ High School and William Colenso College students — including a couple of blokes — there are also three adult dancers in her troupe, including Colenso HOD Leah Kersey from Rochelle Spence Studio.
“We’re building a wee community — I’m a firm believer in being inclusive,” Sonja says.
Leah invited Sonja to put a body of work together for her end of year showcase — she came up with three Split Enz pieces and one Dave Dobbin-inspired dance.
“I built on the theme of music from Aotearoa from the 80s and brought them to 2018.”
And now Sonja is taking Legacy Dance Company on tour.
“We have been invited to dance in Taupo¯ during the NZ Music Month next May. My dancers need to be seen — they need to dance,” she says.
And to do that, they need money. Fundraising has begun, which will help towards the costs of costumes, transport, lighting, sound and accommodation.
“We can’t always rely on people to do something for nothing.”
Sausage sizzles are on the cards, as well as some public shows. Sonja is always on the lookout for sponsors, and donations would be welcome. “Our dancers work really, really hard — doing major exams and having huge pressures at school. Dancing is a remedy. There are so few opportunities for our dancers to be in companies — they don’t have to be the best in the country to be in a company. It’s a passion and a love of dance.”
■ For more information, to donate or sponsor phone Sonja on 027 571 2998. Deposit donations into 03 1369 0235605 02.
Sonja Christensen (front, second from left) with members of newly formed Legacy Dance Company.