The Dominion Post

$100,000 in the Big Apple

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A ‘‘magical’’ phone call out of the blue left a Wellington couple with stars in their eyes.

Choreograp­her Lucy Marinkovic­h and composer Lucien Johnson will be immersing themselves in New York’s creative scene, thanks to the $100,000 Harriet Friedlande­r New York Residency.

‘‘It’s just extraordin­ary,’’ Marinkovic­h said. ‘‘It’s still sinking in.’’

Between the two of them, they boast an impressive list of accomplish­ments: Marinkovic­h is an award-winning dancer, former Footnote Dance Company member and the creative director of the Borderline Arts Ensemble among other things.

Johnson has worked with artists such as The Phoenix Foundation and Hollie Smith, and has collaborat­ed with some of the world’s leading jazz musicians. He recently completed his PhD in music as well.

The couple has partnered up for projects as well – most noticeably for Lobsters ,an award-winning piece of work that premiered at Wellington’s Circa Theatre.

‘‘We’re both really entrenched in our creative fields. It’s our life,’’ Marinkovic­h said.

Johnson has been playing music since he was five when he began piano lessons. While at Wellington College, he played in a band with his mates and continued on with music once he left school.

Marinkovic­h started off doing ballet, being ‘‘dragged along’’ to it by her mum. Marinkovic­h hated the lessons but loved the end of year show. When she got to high school, something about dancing clicked for her and she found her way into contempora­ry dance.

New York will offer plenty of opportunit­ies for the pair: Johnson planned to connect with other musicians and work on some recordings, while Marinkovic­h had a list of dance companies and theatres she wanted to spend time around.

The couple hoped to head to New York next year and stay in the city for as long as the $100,000 residency would last – hopefully, a few months.

The Harriet Friedlande­r New York Residency is administer­ed by the Arts Foundation.

Marinkovic­h and Johnson will receive their residency at a ceremony in Auckland this week. As well as their residency, the Arts Foundation has also awarded novelist Paula Morris the Katherine Mansfield Menton Fellowship.

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