The Springboard Award for Dance, gifted by Abby McCormick O’Neil and D. Carroll Joynes
Bella is an independent contemporary dancer, choreographer, teacher and adjudicator based in Tāmaki Makaurau. She trained full-time at the New Zealand School of Dance as a contemporary major and graduated with a Certificate in Dance Performance in 2013. From 2015-16 Bella furthered her dance training at Unitec, graduating with a Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts majoring in Contemporary Dance, and receiving the Senior Scholar award. Bella is currently studying part-time towards her postgraduate Honours degree in Dance Studies at The University of Auckland.
Bella is a co-director of Dance Plant Collective (DPC). She has worked as both a dancer and choreographer on every major project with the collective, including Desire Line(s), The Cost of Arms and Legs, MEAT, Exist as a Rainforest, Desperate Late Night Energy, Lite Moves, STRUCTURE, Magnificent Remains and Body of Earth. As a performer, she has also worked with choreographers Alexa Wilson (with Footnote NZ Dance), Natalie Maria Clark, Claire O’Neil, Xavier Breed, Emma Cosgrave, Zahra Killeen-Chance and Kit Reilly. Some career highlights include touring the critically acclaimed dance-theatre show MEAT across 5 centres in Australia and NZ.
Bella’s choreographic interests lie in fusing virtuosity with deep, conceptual thinking. Her choreographic kaupapa is dancer-centred. She places her dancers’ well-being at the forefront of their experience. Her recent choreographic achievements include winning ‘Best Newcomer’ at the Auckland Fringe Awards 2018, for the double bill which included her work Cha(order)os; choreographing a dance work for Lela Jacobs’ NZ Fashion Week show in 2019; and undertaking a ‘Making a Start’ choreographic residency at Lucy Guerin Inc. (Melbourne).
In 2022, Bella is continuing to develop her full-length work STRUCTURE with DPC, which is due to premiere in August. Bella has a diverse teaching practice, and regularly teaches contemporary dance technique, ballet, dance conditioning, improvisation and choreographic practice within dance studios, pre-professional training programmes, high schools and tertiary dance institutions across Auckland and beyond. She currently teaches for The New Zealand Dance Company and is a part-time dance lecturer at Unitec. She also recently lectured on the University of Auckland’s Dance Studies programme in both technique and choreography. She is a sought-after contemporary dance coach, and many of her students have gained success at competitions and auditions for full-time training.
Bella Wilson will be mentored by 2018 Harriet Friedlander Residency Recipient Lucy Marinkovich
Lucy Marinkovich is a New Zealand based contemporary dancer and choreographer. As a performer, Lucy has worked with New Zealand’s elite contemporary dance companies such as Footnote Dance Company, New Zealand Dance Company, Movement of the Human and Taki Rua Productions. Her dancing has been described by critics as “mesmerising...completely captivating. She attacks her role with incredible energy, focus and a real presence.” Her choreographic work, notably the dance-theatre productions she has created with her company Borderline Arts Ensemble, investigate the realm of the subconscious, positioning the performer as an intermediary between dreams and reality.
Statement from selection panel:
“It's apparent that Bella Wilson has a vision. But perhaps more importantly she appears to have the necessary drive and determination to realise this vision and in doing so, go on to make a valuable contribution to dance in Aotearoa in the future. This award was made for artists like her.”