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“DANCE REVIEW: Language of Living, the New Zealand Dance Company

Opera House, Wellington, June 12

The New Zealand Dance Company’s inaugural national tour is a triumph for all concerned. It is stylish, sophisticated and of a high calibre.

The opening work, Michael Parmenter’s intriguing and innovative Tenerezza, was danced to music by CPE Bach. It explores similar territory to that of an earlier Parmenter work, Absence, performed in 2012 by Footnote Dance. The duet begins slowly with sculptural poses and strongly supported sudden, arcing lifts and builds in intensity. Dancers Craig Bary and Justin Haiu are vigorous and beautiful. Pianist Sarah Watkins accompanied with care and sensitivity.

Artistic director Shona McCullagh’s Trees, Birds Then People is an amusing investigation into behavioural similarities between birds and people. The avian movements were well caught and all four danced with high energy and musicality. Gareth Okan was particularly expressive. As the light faded, it ended with a wonderful leap off stage, as if a bird was taking flight at dusk.”

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