Tight 5 - Holly Newsome from Footnote

3 minutes read
Posted 14 March, 2024
Advance to Go by Holly Newsome copy

Advance to Go by Holly Newsome

Holly Newsome is a Pōneke-Wellington based artist living a life that showcases the results of full self expression. A creative jack of all trades, she has been working as a choreographer, teacher and dancer, since graduating from the New Zealand School of Dance in 2016 - the year she also became the Artistic Director of award winning project-based dance company, Discotheque.
While dance is always at the forefront of Holly’s work, her experience in and appreciation of other art forms such as visual art, painting, writing and sound design, is forever tied into her practice, informing and influencing the way she approaches movement. She’s on a mission to create gateways for audiences across Aotearoa to access the beautiful and ever-changing language of contemporary dance.

When did it all ‘click’ for you as a dancer / choreographer?

I’ve always felt that I was so deeply connected to art and expression in a way that was wrapped seamlessly around my identity. I never really understood how that may eventuate or look in the future, but always in the present I have simply enjoyed dance, creating, and the opportunities it has presented. I strive to remove any pressure placed on where it may take me and follow what interests me in the current.


What is your vision for dance and movement in this country? Any words for the upcoming generation of dancers?

I hope for greater exposure for dance in Aotearoa. We have such a connected a grounded way of moving here, and we need to share this with the world. I hope we can foster energy and passion in younger dancers. I dream of a world where everyday people go to theatre like we go to the movies.


Are there major themes or concepts you try to express when you’re creating the choreography?

I tend to gravitate to looking at the human race like we are ants on a microscope. Or like we are all players in a game? It feels to me as though we are all part of something much larger. It’s interesting to me, to see how I can characterise the dancers in a way that plays on humanistic tendencies in a less literal way. I often wonder how we can make contemporary dance accessible to the everyday audience, whilst upholding the integrity of the art form. I also just love dance in its simplest form, without the need to load concept all of the time. Athleticism versus art fascinates me, and I wonder how these two ideas can co-exist together.


What’s your dream project?

My dream project is happening all of the time. To be immersed in artistic practice in any capacity feels dreamy to me. But maybe also… I would love to make a large scale work under my company, Discotheque. A wider sense of collaboration with artists of all strengths to engage in multimedia work.


In one line, what does a life of dance and dynamic creativity mean to you? / what has it given you?

I feel so lucky to have found something that constantly makes me feel and understand the magic of being alive.


Holly Newsome and Footnote New Zealand Dance are coming to Queenstown with their electrifying contemporary dance production IYKYK (If You Know You Know), showing at the Queenstown Memorial Centre on 23 March.
Tickets at footnote.org.nz

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Holly Newsome

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Premonition by Forest Kapo


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