26 Oct 2021
Natasha Kohler has been awarded Creative New Zealand’s 2021 Tup Lang Choreographic Award towards the development of a site-specific dance work titled Body of Earth.
Natasha says her new work will involve spending time in both nature and the studio investigating eco-somatics and ecopsychology. In its final state, the ‘Body of Earth’ will exist as a contemporary dance performance responding to natural surroundings.
“I have been inspired a lot by nature recently. Its unique possibilities for physical exploration have significantly influenced ‘Body of Earth’,” she says.
“Receiving this award is a massive encouragement to my own development and sustainable practice as an artist. It is an amazing opportunity that I am incredibly grateful for.”
The Creative New Zealand Tup Lang award is worth $10,000 and promotes and encourages choreography in contemporary dance, with a focus on the work of emerging choreographers.
Amanda Hereaka, Creative New Zealand Arts Practice Director - Dance says Natasha’s application was an exciting concept of dance and nature.
“We’re really pleased to offer this year’s Tup Lang award to Natasha as her dance vision offered a different and new perspective on how we view our environment. The dance panel felt Natasha’s own in-depth research into nature would be an exciting concept to evolve, and this esteemed award will enable her to develop her craft further.”
Natasha says the award will support the initial development of ‘Body of Earth’, and that it’s her wish for the work to encourage a healing relationship with nature.
“I believe this is vital, especially in a time of global environmental disaster and divide. My collaborators and I hope to produce an authentic, curious and visually stunning performance.”
The contemporary dance artist first fell in love with dance while taking dance classes as a five-year-old and has always loved the sense of freedom and expression it brings ever since.
Now working predominantly with Dance Plant Collective, Natasha has been involved in several projects including ‘Structure’ by Bella Wilson and Dance Plant Collective, Northern Dance Network’s choreographic intensive Tūrama, Red Leap Theatre’s Greenhouse hui and ‘Magnificent Remains’ by Brittany Kohler and Dance Plant Collective.
And despite the lockdowns, the Tāmaki Makaurau based artist has used her time to discover new activities. Aside from also being a Zoom Pilates instructor, she’s been teaching herself to play guitar, roller skate and make gnocchi by hand.
Natasha has also been on some grounding adventures to reconnect with nature, which has proven beneficial for the Tup Lang award.
“As a dancer and choreographer, I am interested in many ways of presenting dance work,” she says. “However more recently, site-specific work and performance that commits to creating immersive worlds are most compelling to me.
“It’s also very important to me that dance is shared within communities and is used as a tool to encourage social and environmental change where possible.”