Double celebration of the legacy of Limbs

Press Release – DANZ

DANZ (Dance Aotearoa New Zealand) will acknowledge the 40th anniversary of the founding of pioneering contemporary dance company Limbs at two special events in October.

Founded in 1977 by Chris Jannides, Mark Baldwin, MaryJane O’Reilly, Kilda Northcott, Debra McCulloch and Julie Dunningham, Limbs Dance Company paved the way for a new mode of physical expression in New Zealand.

Chris Jannides says; ‘Limbs enriched our cultural heritage and made our dance whakapapa so unique. This is worth acknowledging and celebrating’.

‘Limbs was like a comet that flew across the New Zealand landscape, very quickly in 12 years; that’s as long as it existed. But it was a very bright light and had a huge impact’, says MaryJane O’Reilly.

In recognition of this significant milestone for dance in Aotearoa, DANZ has partnered with Tempo Dance Festival to support the presentation ofThe DANZ Season of Limbs@40 to be staged at Auckland’s Q Theatre on 5 & 6 October and will be hosting a launch of the book Limbs Dance Company 1977 – 1989: Dance For All People by Dr. Marianne Schultz in Wellington on 21 October.

The re-embodying of some of their most iconic works in The DANZ Season of Limbs@40 features choreography developed for the Limbs repertoire by resident dancer/choreographers Douglas Wright, Mark Baldwin, and MaryJane O’Reilly. It is appropriate that these works will be brought to life by students from the New Zealand School of Dance and Unitec Performing and Screen Arts Programme together with MaryJane O’Reilly’s ‘In Flagrante’ dancers (graduates of Unitec).

In her book, Schultz tells the story of Limbs, from their first public performance in Auckland in May 1977, to the last shows in Wellington in the winter of 1989.

As Simon Wilson comments in his Foreword; ‘They were serious and comic, physically daring, shockingly sexy, innovative, political, beautiful of course, and so skilled. They were Limbs. They changed our culture. Marianne Schultz was there, and in her book, written with great affection, insight and critical inquiry, she tells us all about it’.

Limbs Dance Company 1977 – 1989: Dance For All People will be launched at the Auckland Central City Library on Wednesday 27 September. DANZ will host another launch event in Wellington on Saturday 21 October at Nga Taonga Sound and Vision which will include a screening curated from the Limbs Collection. The programme will include live performance and rehearsal footage, along with television interviews with company members.

Anton Carter, Chief Executive of DANZ says; ‘It’s important to look back on developments of dance over the years and to acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of many individuals who have contributed to making dance what it is today.’

‘DANZ is thrilled to be part of two very special celebrations to acknowledge and commemorate Limbs Dance Company’s legacy and influence in New Zealand contemporary dance’, says Carter.

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