08 Oct 2013
Touch Compass, New Zealand’s only professional inclusive dance company, has a busy schedule this month with performances in three festivals, starting today in Christchurch with the Body Festival.
Performing in the South Island for the first time in ten years, Touch Compass will start with a public performance of Rogue at Re:Start in Cashel Mall at 2.30 pm today. The next day it will perform Rogue at Hohepa Canterbury, the Spinal Unit at Burwood Hospital and, finally, in Jolt Dance’s annual show, I Will Wait For You, at the Aurora Centre at 7pm.
It will finish the festival on 10 October with an inclusive workshop with Jolt Dance at Papanui High School, led by Catherine Chappell, Artistic Director of Touch Compass, along with its dancers.
Rogue is one of the works in the company’s Hotbox series, designed to be performed outside of a traditional theatre.
It consists of a three-metre-square dance floor that requires no lighting or set. This means that the viewers focus solely on the dancers and engage more intimately with the performance, Catherine says.
It also means that the dance can be performed in a wide range of spaces with minimal preparation.
“Hotbox is a new dance product,” Catherine says. “Our long-term plan is to make a variety of Hotboxes – ranging from professional to community, from choreographed to improvised – all based around diversity and difference.”
After its South Island shows, Touch Compass will return to Auckland to perform in two festivals: the Tempo Dance Festival (9 to 20 October) and the InterACT Festival (23 to 25 October).
The Tempo Dance Festival celebrates dance in all its forms and Touch Compass will be showcasing both Rogue and Grotteschi from the Hotbox series as well as its youth performance called Squared.
“Squared was created by young people taking part in our holiday workshops, where they crafted a short work,” Catherine says. “This will be their second time performing it.”
Touch Compass consists of eight disabled and non-disabled dancers. It has won national and international awards and for the past two years, it has received recurrent funding from Creative New Zealand.
Karen Fraser Payne, General Manager for Touch Compass, says the recurrent funding from Creative New Zealand has enabled the company to plan and deliver more work.
“It has made a huge difference in our ability not only to provide performances but also tour to different parts of the country.”
For Touch Compass, Karen says, it is all about dance and inclusion. “Across the board, we aim to provide a platform for disabled performers, choreographers and production crews.
“Touch Compass presents dance that challenges perceptions of what dance is and who can do it. It’s performance about social change.”
For more information visit www.touchcompass.org.nz
Photo 1: Alisha McLennan and Zildjian Robinson in “Rogue” (2013).
Photo 2: Suzanne Cowan and Adrian Smith in “Grotteschi" (2013).