09 Jun 2011
The founder of Touch Compass Dance Trust, Catherine Chappell, has been awarded the 2011 Creative New Zealand Choreographic Fellowship.
Worth $65,000, it is the largest choreographic award or fellowship available in New Zealand and provides the resources and time for established choreographers to commit to a period of investigation, experimentation and research.
Auckland-based, Catherine Chappell’s professional dance career spans 25 years and a variety of roles, including dancer, teacher, choreographer, mentor and producer. Following on from a strong background in contact improvisation, Catherine established Touch Compass in 1997 – New Zealand’s first integrated Dance Company for mixed-ability performers. From the first performance, Touch Compass has developed ‘aerial work’, which sees wheelchairs and dancers suspended and swinging above the stage. This work has earned Touch Compass the reputation of being a pioneering and ingenious contemporary dance company.
Alan Sorrell, Chair of the Arts Board of Creative New Zealand, says Catherine Chappell’s selection reflects the importance of accomplished artists having the opportunity to experiment within their chosen medium.
“We are pleased to award Catherine Chappell the 2011 Creative New Zealand Choreographic Fellowship as she has contributed such innovation to contemporary dance in New Zealand,” Mr Sorrell says. “This fellowship is designed to recognise excellence and experience while offering the recipient the creative freedom to explore new work over a one-year period.”
Catherine plans to use the Fellowship for a period of concentrated professional development, researching and developing a new aerial dance form combining bungee and contact improvisation. She will also work with other international companies practicing in this area.
“This fellowship offers an invaluable chance to rejuvenate my ideas, explore new knowledge and refresh my skills in this area”, says Catherine.
“I feel excited and highly motivated by the opportunities ahead and believe that I can bring to New Zealand’s dance industry, and Touch Compass, a more enriched and invigorated performance product.”
Previous recipients of this Fellowship are: Shona McCullagh (2004), Douglas Wright (2005), Michael Parmenter (2006), Lemi Ponifasio (2008) and Daniel Belton (2009).
Note to editor: Contact improvisation is form of dance in which physical contact provides the starting point for improvised movement.