Alexa Wilson: Dancing Star
Tempo Dance Festival, October 7 – 19.
Photo by Jane Ussher.
Performance artist & choreographer Alexa Wilson has presented her dance work Star/Oracle so widely she says she can almost detect where she is in the world by the response. In the show, she reacts to questions from the audience: in New Zealand, she gets asked practical questions (“Should I go overseas?”) and some curly ones (“Do I believe in love?”).
Europeans tend to be more serious. “When’s World War III going to start?” “What’s the difference between good and evil?”
Wilson is fascinated by the unpredictable. The Aucklander based in Berlin — “the centre of performance and arts right now” — has returned home to present two works at Tempo dance festival.
Wilson usually performs in fringe venues and is excited to be on Q Theatre’s main stage choreographing a new work for Wellington’s Footnote dance company. Like Star/Oracle, The Status of Being features real-world questions and audience participation. The piece is divided into three sections on the past, present and future. Audiences vote on their favourite, which then influences a fourth section. The movement draws inspiration from Europe.
“Its form is quite a departure from the normal contemporary dance we see in New Zealand, which is very form based and influenced by American dance from the 60s. It’s more conceptual, but still very physical.”
Inevitably, that potentially damning adjective “challenging” gets bandied about but Wilson says audiences are eager for dance that grapples with today’s issues. “It seems that people are willing and interested to go to that place at the moment. People aren’t reserved about expressing opinions. They want work that’s topical.”