Douglas Wright originated from Tuakau and was once born in 1956, Southern Auckland. In the early 1980s, he joined the Limbs Dance Company and later joined the Paul Taylor Company and later DV8 Physical Theatre in London in the late 1980s. Douglas has managed to come up with over 30 choreography works namely, Ghost Dance (2004) and Terra Incognito (2006), Laughing Mirror (2007) among others.
Douglas’s choreographic style is incredibly physical and mimics the traditional New Zealand people and contemporary music. The movements in his dance come from theatrical standards and through his imaginations. The dancers in Douglas’s music regularly employ the use of sound and texts to accompany their dancing styles. Since Douglas’s work is primarily through creativity and personal experience, he uses it to create a unique background that shapes people’s personalities about their stories. Douglas’s style embodies gestural movements with a hint of dark themes as a well as elements of theatrical performances.
Douglas’s choreographic style is primarily facilitative in the sense that t aids the choreographer, dancers and the audience to fully understand the technique. The process is equally commanding and entails the use of design elements like props and costumes among other things. In Wright’s (2004) ghost dance, for instance, the performance is partly a memoir and partly a love story whose theme touches on the deep meditation of performance exhibiting the absence of life. Douglas uses various tasks that include turning text into movements, distilling gestures and acting out scenes physically among others.
Lloyd Newson was born in 1957 in Australia. Lloyd first studied psychology and sociology in Melbourne before moving to England where he and others formed the DV8 Physical Theatre (Lansdale 2007). Disillusioned with the contemporary dances in England, Newson then decided to come up with better dancing and choreography techniques that impact more on the society. Hence Newson’s work is iconic in the sense that he makes his work for both films as well as stage performances.
Newson’s personality is almost that of an introvert in nature as he prefers to keep most of his stylistic features and performances anonymous. However, he embraces a lot of physicality in his performances which are also theatrical. Newson emphasizes the need to address emerging issues and hence hi dance style is unique and creative as it entails unison, rolls, fast movement and jumps as a way of expressing emotions through physical gestures. Newson states that he creates choreographies only when he sees the needs and does not commercialize his skills. Lansdale (2007) states that the DV8 group has a unique style because they were creative and hence improvised and established collaborations rather than sticking to scripts. DV8’s main choreographic technique rejects the concept of abstraction in dance but instead addresses psychological and social issues like sexuality, politics, and gender-related issues.
Newson’s choreographic process is facilitative and embraces improvisation as its core tenet is performance. The choreographic design is equally collaborative and cuts across dances from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The DV8 mostly use theatre, films and inter-disciplinary approaches to accompany their dancing techniques and choreographic patterns. Newson is unique and artistic in his method and states that dancers ought to push their bodies and make different movements with a purpose that accompanies its themes like in “John (2014) Death, Drugs, and Survival.” Newson’s technique is involving and vigorous as he emphasizes on communicating to the society through body movements and non-verbal cues (Pymm & Conquer 2004). Newson’s iconic choreographic style attracts criticism from a large population, and he remains anonymous claiming that the issues need to be addressed and the only way to bring them to attention is through creative means like choreography.
Lansdale, J. (2007). The struggle with the angel: A poetics of Lloyd Newson’s Strange fish (DV8 Physical Theatre). Alton, Hampshire, Engl.: Dance Books.
Pymm, J., & Conquer, A. (2004). A student’s guide to AS performance studies for the OCR specification. London: Rhinegold Pub.
Wright, D. (2004). Ghost dance. Auckland, N.Z: Penguin
Wright, D., & Savage, J. (2009). Black milk. Nelson, N.Z.: Craig Potton Pub.