Wellington Scoop

WOW Awards show opens, with 40 top dancers and Vector Orchestra

Press Release – Brancott Estate WOW Awards Show

Onstage - Tourism New Zealand Avant Garde Section, Brancott WOW Awards Show

An excited sellout crowd of close to 3800 people were entertained from the moment they stepped onto Queens Wharf in Wellington last night as the 2012 Brancott Estate World of WearableArt Awards Show opened for its 24th show.

As an awards show WOW presents WearableArt competition entries to nearly 50,000 show-goers each season, showcasing the garments in a show of spectacular AV effects, stunning choreography and beautiful music.

WOW Founder Suzie Moncrieff says the sheer brilliance of the garments, the stunning sets and the choreography come together to make this year’s show another outstanding success.

An alien introduced the show, entitled “Out of This World”, sending the crowd into fits of laughter before he was teleported through the air ahead of the first of the seven WOW sections.

The show itself opened with the Mainfreight Duffy’s Books in Homes Children’s Section, which was set amongst giant cardboard boxes, out of which characters of a little girl’s imagination reveal themselves – as do the WearableArt garments around her. The pyjama-clad girl played with giant stuffed toys and a real life musical-box ballet dancer, as around her beetles, buzzy bees, butterflies, spiders, flowers and red cabbages, and even a sock monster, move around to the music of childhood memories. Who wouldn’t want to play in this world?

The Air New Zealand South Pacific Section opened with a powerful Karanga performed from amongst the audience, while on stage ceiling height film effects of smoke and tribal warriors were choreographed to interact with live warrior performers. The dance sequences were created by guest choreographers Tanemahuta Gray and Victoria Colombus, with dancers moving around the garments, which encompassed Pacific Island culture, from the land to the sea to the sky. At the end of the section the thumping Pacific beats were replaced with the soft sounds of the Wellington East Girls College Choir.

The American Express Open Section combines the country’s best dancers in two dramatic dance pieces. At the beginning, bright full-circle skirts fly in a striking female-only tango, countered at the end of the section by a sensual all-male tango – the latter choreographed by Michael Parmenter. Michael has been in France completing his PHD and studying the intricacies of the Tango. As the music’s tempo increased the crowd responded, cheering for the garments which were of all shapes and colours.

The lights then dimmed as the CentrePort Illumination Illusion Section opened with a dozen spinning orbs generating flicking patterns of UV light across the stage, followed by a parade of bright and fun illuminated garments moving to a strange soundscape.

The Gen-i Creative Excellence Section opened with two of the Wellington Vector Orchestra musicians playing while suspended from the ceiling on a wingback chair and clawfooted bath. The rest of the orchestra’s musicians were transported onto stage to form a large junk pile, as they sat on various cast out items, such as wheel barrows, shopping trolleys and babies’ cribs. After arriving on stage on the back of a weird, punk-inspired chariot, Gareth Farr conducted the music score he composed, which combined the orchestra’s music with the sounds of WearableArt garments. This high energy section is indeed a “Visual Symphony.”

The sections then move from steampunk to sophisticated elegance as the Tourism New Zealand Avant Garde Section opens with a peaceful procession of dancers in long white gowns carrying candles, who gracefully light large gothic candelabra. Stunning black garments enter the stage, punctuating the white light, followed by garments in red. As other garments are presented on stage, the section becomes spiritually charged with the fluid movement of more than 40 of New Zealand’s strongest dancers.

The Grand Finale of this years’ show is a show-stopper. Inspired by Sci-Fi, Flash Gordon, Barbarella and the hilarious B-grade movies of the 60s and 70s, the WOW & Classic Car Museum Bizarre Bra Section is best described as outrageous. A fire breathing performer, space policemen and a giant alien octopus entertain and provide a fun-filled backdrop for the most fantastic collection of bizarre bras we have had so far. This energetic section finishes with an all cast dance – bringing down the house in its share size and volume.

The Brancott Estate World of WearableArt™ (WOW) Awards Show is New Zealand’s single largest arts show, and is now into its 24th year. It is a world-class event, with this year’s show season another sell out as nearly 50,000 show-goers from around the globe witness the breathtaking two-hour spectacular of art, theatre, dance, and music, bringing to life 164 incredible designs. The high energy show tells a powerful visual and aural story, presenting the top designs selected in the annual WOW competition.

Dame Suzie Moncrieff created the WOW concept in 1987 to challenge designers to take “art off the wall and onto the human form”. Designers come from all occupations, from many different backgrounds and from around the globe. WOW gives designers the opportunity to be innovative and original, while not being bound by the constraints of commercialism. The only limit is imagination.

WOW is in shop windows too