The Body Festival is Christchurch’s annual event of dance and physical theatre. This year it runs from 25 September to 11 October. Participation is an important part of the festival which gives everyone an excuse to give it a go and get their body moving!
As always this year’s event offers a broad range of dance workshops and beginners’ classes as well as performances and exhibitions.
The opening night event, No Lights No Lycra was energising (and sweaty) with the kind of upbeat playlist sure to get a body moving, but there are plenty of other opportunities to “trip the light fantastic”.
Christchurch is currently hosting the 2012 Body Festival of Dance and Physical Theatre. The programme attracts a large number of people, with a steadily increasing participation every year. It showcases a variety of dance performances ranging from classical to contemporary, as well as other performance arts such as puppetry and circus. The Body Festival is being held from 21st September to 14th October at various locations – check out the events calendar on its website.
One of the dance performances in the classical genre which I am particularly looking forward to is the Bharatanatyam, a highly intricate Indian dance requiring several years of practice to perfect. The dancers, Vivek Kinra and the Mudra Dance Company, will be performing a piece called Satvika, narrating stories of the romances and battles of Hindu gods and goddesses. In the dance, the performers truly use the body as a medium of communication, depicting the stories’ various characteristics through subtle expressions, gestures and emotions.
Christchurch City Library also holds a number of informative books on the physiological, anatomical and emotional aspects of dance, which can help you gain a general understanding of the biomechanics of movement and body-mind conditioning, and learn exercises to attain flexibility and control of movements.
Last night I went and saw the Back of the bus show presented by Java Dance Company as part of the Body Festival currently under way in Christchurch. This dance work is highly innovative in the way that it dissolves the boundary between performers and the audience found in the conventional theatre setting. It does this by taking the audience along for the ride, on the bus and beyond, always intimately close to the lives of the characters being portrayed.
The show consists of a number of scene specific pieces danced solo or as a group by several very different characters. The dancing is performed with astonishing physicality and intensity by the Java dancers Rosanne Christie, Sacha Copland and Natalie Hona. There is also a humorous cameo by local dancer Jessica Kennedy.
The choreography is principally by Sacha Copland but with pieces contributed from the rest of Java also and is wonderfully varied but always intense and physical. It makes clever use of the bus and other props.
This show contains some wonderful moments but I don’t want to give away the special surprises involved. Let’s just say its a unique experience and a rare opportunity for Christchurch audiences to see such innovative and high quality contemporary dance. The show is emotive and moving but also a lot of fun and is well worth the ticket. Don’t miss it! There are two performances per night for the rest of this week with the final show at 8pm on Friday 9th. You can make bookings at the Body Festival site.