Danc­ing into a legacy

New dance com­pany uses NZ song­writ­ers

Napier Courier - - Front Page - BY BRENDA VOWDEN [email protected]

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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.