Language of Living — 12.06.12

The New Zealand Dance Company, presented by Westpac, launch their premiere season:

This August, witness the emergence of Aotearoa's freshest new performance company, The New Zealand Dance Company in their premiere season: Language of Living at Auckland's ASB Theatre, THE EDGE, August 10-11.

The New Zealand Dance Company (NZDC) exists with the genuine desire to change the way New Zealanders see and experience contemporary dance, to stretch the boundaries of what dance can be and to share its power, beauty and humour with a broad audience. The vision of the NZDC is to create new connections to dance by staging compelling works in highly engaging ways that not only entertain but resonate emotionally with the audience.

The company's first foray is a diverse programme of five exquisite works entitled Language of Living - inspired by the belief that dance is the most beautifully truthful language of living.

Earthy, funny, brave and beautiful, the five works on the programme choreographed by Michael Parmenter, Shona McCullagh, Sarah Foster-Sproull, and Justin Haiu showcase some of New Zealand's finest dancers: Ursula Robb, Alex Leonhartsberger, Craig Bary, Sarah Foster-Sproull, Justin Haiu, Hannah Tasker-Poland, Tupua Tigafua and Lucy Lynch as artistic athletes in innovative and relevant choreography. The company's vision for creative alchemy is brought to life by the fusion of new technologies, a visual feast of stunning costume and set design and an exquisite live sound experience.

The programme opens with Evolve, a solo choreographed by NZDC Artistic Director Shona McCullagh featuring global dance superstar - Ursula Robb, whose stellar dance career includes work with the Paris Opera.  Evolve features the animations of Japanese artist Macoto Murayama, a soundscore by NZ composer John Elmsly and innovative design work by Andreas Mikellis, AUT's Head of Fashion in collaboration with CoLab.

Respected dance authority Michael Parmenter's duet Tenerezza works on the premise that no movement occurs without initiation by the other. Beautifully danced by Craig Bary and Justin Haiu, music by C.P.E Bach is performed live by David Guerin on piano.

Release your Robot is choreographed and danced by So You Think You Can Dance star Justin Haiu. Inspired by street dance movement known as robot and liquiding, Release Your Robot features an original score by South Auckland trio The Electric Boutique, who will perform live during the piece.

Shona McCullagh's second work, Trees, Birds then People is a group work set to Gareth Farr's Mondo Rondo performed live by the NZTrio.  This playful work is inspired by New Zealand's unique bird life and explores shifting hierarchy in relationships.

Human Human God by Sarah Foster-Sproull, is a poignant and comical piece about Generation Y by a Generation X-er and features an original music score by Motorcade's Eden Mulholland.

The NZDC's Artistic Director, Shona McCullagh says, "Globally, dance is at a high point right now, which is really exciting.  Our mission is to unravel the current perception in New Zealand of contemporary dance being elitist and inaccessible. There's no reason why it should be out of reach or irrelevant on the fringes. Sharing the power of dance is what we are really passionate about."

The stage is set for the debut of the NZDC speaking with a new voice of New Zealand choreography and dancers' powerful role in our world, our Language of Living.

With thanks to major supporters THE EDGE and Designworks, and our foundation partner Westpac.


ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre
Friday 10 August         7.30pm  Gala Opening
Saturday 11 August    7.30pm          


Gala Elite  $ 69.95  Opening Night only

(Limited invitation to the official after-party with the Company, retain your ticket for entry)                       

Premium   $ 49.95
A Reserve  $ 39.95
B Reserve                  $ 29.95

Concession  $19.95 (Senior citizens, community services card, child price14yrs & under)

 Tickets on sale Friday 25 May available through ;   
and Ph: (09) 357 3355

GROUP BOOKINGS Ph: 09 357 3354 or visit  


A Special Youth Engagement Programme Matinee

In addition to the Language of Living season, the company is also offering a dedicated youth engagement programme entitled Liftoff!

A partnership with Kowhai Intermediate School sees 20 children take to the stage along with the NZDC Youth Company, our own dancers and special guests from Auckland secondary schools performing a dynamic programme of short works that include excerpts from the Language of Living launch performance as well as live music by The Electric Boutique and the NZTrio.

NZDC Artistic Director Shona McCullagh and company member Tupua Tigafua have worked over several months with the students at Kowhai helping them to create their own choreographic language, celebrating identity through their own personal connection with community, whanau, culture and passion. Best We Can Be set to music by Trinity Roots, is a unique work inspiring our youth, to be courageous in their individuality through the transformative power of dance.

This new work will be featured alongside works from the NZDC's Language of Living season, including Justin Haiu's quirky and comical solo work Release Your Robot and Sarah Foster Sproull's intriguing group work Human Human God.

Our Youth Engagement Programme is an important part of our crusade to communicate the power of dance and its ability to transform young lives.  The New Zealand Dance Company is proud to share the stage with some of New Zealand's most talented and inspiring young dancers in a diverse, high energy performance.

ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre
Saturday 11 August 2.00pm

Premium $ 35.00
A Reserve $ 25.00
B Reserve $ 15.00
Access     $ 10.00 children 18yr under, school groups

Tickets on sale Friday 25 May available and Ph: (09) 357 3355
For more information on The New Zealand Dance Company, visit or Facebook

Media enquiries:

Bridget de Launay - de Launay Enterprises,
Ph: (09) 361-6600 / Mob: 021-630-622

Top image: Sarah Foster-Sproull Language of Living, courtesy the New Zealand Dance Company. 
Photo by John McDermott