Choreographic Research Aotearoa

A meeting ground and project space for dancers, choreographers, performing artists and scholars, hosted by the Dance Studies Programme.

Fran Morand in Maximo Corvalan-Pincheira’s Chueca, for Sur Sur (University of Chile and University of Auckland Dance Exchange) Museum Contemporary Art, Santiago, Chile, 2017. Photograph by Gonzalo Donnoso Urratia.

About Choreographic Research Aotearoa

Dedicated to research and critical practice in dance and performance, Choreographic Research Aotearoa hosts guest talks, workshops, performances and a research salon. CRA emphasises an engagement with process and dialogue, encouraging a dynamic and diverse approach to engaging with current practice and theory. CRA events, hosted by the Dance Studies Programme at the University of Auckland are open to the public.

CRA’s purpose is to cultivate and facilitate dialogue, difficult conversations and playful experimentation, to provide a space for thought, action and reflection in relation to issues, practices and ideas that are current for the field of Dance and Performance Studies.


We’ll be hosting guest talks, promoting our postgraduate and doctoral researcher’s performance practices, facilitating research salons and engaging in international exchanges through hosting online and in-person events with visiting researchers.

Choreographic Research Aotearoa is an initiative of the Dance Studies Programme and is directed in 2020 by Alys Longley.

Committee members in 2020 include Joanna Cook, Sarah Foster-Sproull, Mark Harvey, Sarah Knox, Yin-Chi Lee, Vivi Medina, Janaina Moraes, Alaina Muriwai Te-Rore, Maryam Bagheri Nesami, Jasmin Ofamo'oni, Becca Weber.

Previous guests

Previous guests include André Lepecki (USA/Brazil), Efva Lilja  (Swe), Thomas Kampe (UK), Sue Healey (Aus), Simon Ellis (UK), Moana Nepia (NZ/USA), Louise Potiki Bryant (NZ), Jochen Roller (Ger), Gibson/Martelli (UK), Gabrielle Klein (Ger), Efrosini Protopapa (UK), Suzanne Thomas (Ger/UK), Erica Stanton (UK), Sue Hawksley (Aus/UK), Kate MacIntosh (Belg), Suzanne Cowan (NZ), Vida Mideglow (UK), Amaara Raheem & Mick Douglas (Aus), Brian Lobel (UK) and Sherry Shapiro (USA).


Smudge Skittle by Alys Longley

SMUDGE SKITTLE is a little inventory of resources entangling creative practice research and writing. Each SMUDGE SKITTLE card provides a short task that tangles artistic thinking with written reflection. These cards frame writing and knowing as playful, open-ended, idiosyncratic and relational.

More information

Undisciplining Dance in Nine Movements and Eight Stumbles (Cambridge Scholars Publishing 2018) arose out of the international research symposium, Undisciplining Dance hosted by Dance Studies alongside the triennial Aotearoa New Zealand Tertiary Dance Festival in July 2016. Bringing together authors and artists from throughout the world but with a particular focus on contemporary performance research emerging from New Zealand and the Pacific, this book is a much anticipated addition to contemporary discussions on performance and dance.

Contributing Authors: Efva Lilja, Zahra Killeen-Chance, Elizabeth Dempster, Jenny Roche, Alfdaniels Mabingo, Susan Koff, Yuki Kihara, Jochen Roller, Charles Koroneho, Tru Paraha, Angela Woodhouse, Caroline Broadhead, Alissa Mello, Becca Wood, Nisha Madham, Christina Houghton, Janine Randerson, Rhea Speights, Moana Nepia, Carol Brown and Alys Longley.

More information

Suzanne Cowan’s PhD in Dance Studies Choreographing Through An Expanded Corporeality takes a posthumanist, new materialist approach to choreography and the conceptualisation of identity. It deconstructs and reimagines disability in a posthumanist world and poses the question: what CAN a body do? She found that the possibilities are limitless.

Alfdaniels Mabingo’s PhD, Rationalizing Pedagogies of Cultural Heritage Dances: Reflections and Practices of Dance Teachers in Central Uganda, revealed how pedagogies of cultural heritage dances can foster embodied, creative, and imaginative connection. The teaching and learning processes of Ugandan dances sustain and perpetuate human thought, and facilitate the creation of ontological realities that expand experiences, reflections, identities, and imaginings.

Kate Riegle-West’s PhD, Poi for your Health is the first study to scientifically investigate the effects of International Poi on health in older adults. It concluded that International Poi is as effective as Tai Chi for improving health in healthy older adults, and that International Poi and health is a legitimate area of scientific research.

Past Events

Choreographic Research Aotearoa. Image credit: Susannah Has

Synchrony, Vulnerability and Belonging: Capoeira for Children and Youth at the Za’atari Refugee Camp

When: Wednesday 20 March, 6-7.30pm
Where: Kenneth Myers Centre, Dance Studio
Free admission

While a chilly desert wind is blowing, a makeshift tent is packed with young men, and later young women, training the art of capoeira. Some are more excited than others, but all have chosen to take part. The tent has no floor, and the fine sand gets everywhere; in the nose, lungs, mouth, and colours clothes in bright orange. I cough, but they are used to it. 

This lecture discusses the emotional and embodied effects of Capoeira (Afro-Brazilian martial art) training of children and youths at the Za'atari refugee camp in Jordan, where approximately 80,000 Syrian refugees have lived in confinement since 2012.

In programmess run by a Jordanian non-profit organisation, Capoeira al-Shababi, Capoeira’s movement language, becomes therapeutic and empowering. Instead of mere a pastime, Capoeira addresses children's minded bodies as worthy, creative and capable. Through synching and tuning with each other, and holding space for vulnerability, the participants of the classes experience a feeling of a collective body while re-establishing a sense of their unique body/self.  


Dr. Susanna Hast is an Academy of Finland postdoctoral researcher with her project Bodies in War, Bodies in Dance (2017-2020) at the Theatre Academy Helsinki, University of the Arts in Finland. She is also the author of Sounds of War: Aesthetics, Emotions and Chechnya (E-International Relations 2018).

In her current artistic research Susanna investigates the relationship between social emotions and body technique in communities touched by war – specifically looking into Capoeira training for refugees, and Finnish military training. In addition, she is a feminist singer-songwriter and teaches language through dance and singing to immigrant and asylum-seeking women.

Mark Jeffery


Date: Saturday 9 March
Time: 7pm
Venue: Kenneth Myers Centre - Blackbox, 74 Shortland Street, Auckland Central 1010.

Free entry.

Choreographic Research Aotearoa are pleased to invite you to our first event for the year – a performance by spectacular Chicago-based performance collective ATOM-R (Anatomical Theatres of Mixed Reality). This is a rare opportunity to experience internationally renowned theatre makers performing their new work Rhinestone Cowboy, fresh from Wellington’s Performance Arcade.

Anatomical Theatres of Mixed Reality are a collective exploring historical and contemporary queer embodiment through language, performance and emerging technologies. The group comprises Judd Morrissey (writing and code), Mark Jeffery (choreography), Justin Deschamps and Colin Roberson (performance and dance).

Co-founders Judd Morrissey and Mark Jeffery are a collaboration merging live art and computational literary practices. The work, which is visual, textual and choreographic, evolves through context-specific research and practice and always considers the constraints of a given venue or occasion. Site responsive considerations include the performance/exhibition space as well as the local community and online textual activity happening within the locale. A given piece is a body of material that may have no singular fixed form but is alternately presented as internet art, durational live installation, an ongoing activity, or a performance of fixed length. Both artists teach at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

The performance will be followed by a discussion between the artists and choreographers Val Smith, Richard Orjis and Alys Longley.

The Matter Of Fascia. Photograph by Kerstin Kussmaul
The Matter Of Fascia. Photograph by Kerstin Kussmaul

Practice-led PhD performance: The Matter Of Fascia

When and where:

  • Thursday 21 February 2019, 5.30pm | Lake Rototoa, South Head
  • Friday 22 February 2019, 5.30pm | Lake Rototoa, South Head
  • Tickets: free, reservations essential. 
  • Reservations:
  • Duration: Approximately 120 minutes

Over the last year a group of nine international dancers have been researching how fascia manifests in and through movement. They share the results in this performance, a PhD project by the University's choreographer Kerstin Kussmaul.

Fascia is what connects and differentiates all kinds of structures in our bodies, it organises our movement and is also a reminder of the otherness within us.

Visitors are invited to row a dinghy, to build a tensegrity structure and to witness performative actions on farmland, in the woods and in water while exploring aspects of fascia.

Walking, good shoes and weather protection are essential. It is an all-weather outdoor event with a limited number of spectators.

  • Dance: Lance Cablk (NZ/US), Leah Carrell (NZ), Defne Erdur (Turkey/France), Pavle Heidler (Sweden/Croatia), Neža Jamnizar (Slovenia), Kristian Larsen (NZ), Clare Luiten (NZ), Vivian Medina (Columbia), Rosie Tapsell (NZ) 
  • Sound: Kevin Kim, Charlie Rabuel
  • Visual Art: Hamish Macdonald, Kerstin Kussmaul
  • Tour Guide: Emma Bendall
  • Special guests: Olive Bendall and Mint
  • Choreography & concept: Kerstin Kussmaul
  • Production Assistant: Keren Feltham

18 Horas Entre Nosotros/ 18 Hours Between Us, Hui in Live Art, Installation and Choreography

When and where:

  • Thursday 6 December 2018, 11am - 5pm at Waipapa Marae, University of Auckland.
  • Friday 7 December, 11am - 5pm at Old Folks Association Coronation Hall, 8 Gundry St, Auckland Central.

18 Hours Entre Nosotros/ 18 Hours Between Us is a hui of exchange around live art, installation and choreography. It is part creative-experiment and part symposium, including workshops, development of new work, collaborative experimentation, short lectures, random events, performances, and emergent opportunities for exchange.

Creative practitioners and scholars are welcome to send questions, inquiries and expressions of interest for sharing performance work, leading workshops, or facilitating creative experiments to symposium organiser Alys Longley: 


Choreographic Show & Tell

Friday Feature at Wellesley Studios Dance House, Auckland CBD
When: 20 April 2018, 6 - 7.30pm
Where: Wellesley Studios Dance House, 113/115 Wellesley St W, Auckland, 1010
Who: Curated by Carol Brown & Alys Longley for Choreographic Research Aotearoa, Dance Studies Programme, The University of Auckland.

Graduate choreography students - including Kisha September, Maryam Bagheri Nesami and Leia Ang - from the University of Auckland Dance Studies Programme present a series of short works that address contemporary issues and practices of performance. A curated conversation unfolds around these works exploring what their creative and critical intent unfurls and the sensate address of their performance.

This Choreographic Show & Tell is open to all but is of particular interest to those who would like to learn more about the expectations and processes of postgraduate choreographic research.

For more information about Postgraduate Dance Studies visit: Postgraduate Studies in Dance.

In Between Subjects: A Critical Genealogy of Queer Performance

When: 19 April 2018, 6 - 7.30pm
Where: Conference Centre Lecture Theatre, Level 3 (Room 423-340), Conference Centre Building, 22 Symonds St, University of Auckland.
Who: Hosted by Choreographic Research Aotearoa, Dance Studies Programme
RSVP: Email Carol Brown by Thursday 12 April
In this informal presentation, Amelia Jones will present her current research, which is culminating in her book In Between Subjects. The book explores the history and social context of ideas and terms relating to the rise of the concept of gender performance or queer performativity, which has dominated discussions around performance and queer politics in North America since the early 1990s. The project argues that an understanding of the historical moments when the two terms and related concepts such as “performativity,” “theatricality,” and “trans" come together is vital to grasping the meanings of contemporary performance art as well as broader cultural concepts of performative or gender fluid subjectivity.
Brief Biography:
Amelia Jones is the Robert A. Day Professor at the Roski School of Art and Design at University of Southern California. A curator and a theorist and historian of art and performance, her recent publications include Seeing Differently: A History and Theory of Identification and the Visual Arts (2012), Perform Repeat Record: Live Art in History (2012), co-edited with Adrian Heathfield, the edited volume Sexuality (2014), and, co-edited with Erin Silver, Otherwise: Imagining Queer Feminist Art Histories (2016). Her exhibition Material Traces: Time and the Gesture in Contemporary Art took place in 2013 in Montreal. She programmed the events Trans-Montréal (2015) and Live Artists Live (at USC in 2016). She edited “On Trans/Performance,” a special issue of Performance Research (October 2016), and is currently curating a retrospective of the work of Ron Athey.

GUEST TALK: Dance Research in Finland: ARTSEQUAL and Education

Professor Eeva Anttila, University of the Arts Helsinki, Finland.
Date: 1 March 2018
Time: 5.15 - 6.15pm
Venue: Level 2, Architecture and Planning Building, 26 Symonds St, Auckland, 26 Symonds Street.

Professor Anttila will introduce the ARTSEQUAL research project initiated by University of the Arts Helsinki, Finland. This multi-million dollar research project that includes music, dance, fine arts, drama practitioners, teachers and researchers aims to investigate the role of arts education in transforming societies. Dance Studies University of Auckland is a research partner in this project.

Professor Anttila will also provide a snapshot of challenges and strengths in dance education within Finland.

Eeva Anttila works as a professor of dance pedagogy at Theatre Academy of University of the Arts Helsinki, Finland, and leads the MA program for dance pedagogy. She completed her Doctor of Arts degree in dance at the Theatre Academy, Finland in 2003. Her research interests include dialogical and critical dance pedagogy, embodied learning, embodied knowledge and practice-based/artistic research methods.
There will be drinks and nibbles after the event.


When: 15-16 February 2018, 8.30pm
Venue: Black Box Studio, Kenneth Myers Centre, 74 Shortland St, Auckland.
Choreographer: Tru Paraha
Producer: Tru Paraha
Lighting Design: Sean Curham
Performers: Vicky Kapo, Anja Packham, Jesse Quaid
Supported by: University of Auckland Dance Studies & The Auckland Old Folks Ass.This is a free event open to the public.
An experimental dance work that hovers on the dark side. Anonymity and the unhuman is encountered within a blackening choreosphere. This work is part of Tru Paraha’s artistic research for her PhD with Creative Practice. Please note this performance contains nudity and content may be offensive to some audiences.

Engaging with Communities

He hononga hapori: He Pukena auaha
Creative pedagogies
When: 22-25 November
Where: Owen G Glenn Building, University of Auckland, 12 Grafton Rd.
Community arts is about activating people in and through the arts, and focuses on how we may use or apply the arts for multiple purposes. The Engaging with Communities: Creative Pedagogies conference invites researchers, teachers and community facilitators across all fields of endeavor to participate in the opportunity to extend creativity and community values into pedagogies of practice. By way of signaling the scope of this conference, the 2011 UNESCO Seoul Agenda for Arts Education emphasizes that when arts education is universally accessible, of high quality and socially relevant, it “can make a direct contribution to resolving the social and cultural challenges facing the world today”.  

Sur Sur

Museum of Contemporary Art Santiago, Chile
17 November - 3rd December 2017, MAC Parque Forestal
Opening: 16 November 19:30
Performances: 17th – 19th November
Symposium: 17th Nov 17:00h Instability and Change MAC Parque Forestal - Sala de Conferencias
Exhibition: 16th November – 3rd December
How do we recognise the other in times of instability and change? Sur Sur is an encounter between cultural differences and a discovery of synergies within the Global South.
Sur Sur has been developed through a collaboration between performance makers and visual artists from New Zealand and Chile and through an inter-University collaboration between dance programmes at the University of Auckland and the University of Chile and the Museo de Arte Contemporaneó, Santiago.

Initiated by Marisol Vargas following her residency in New Zealand and involvement with Carol Brown through the DART project (Dance and Visual Art, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki / Dance Studies the University of Auckland) the catalyst for the project is a desire to develop collaboration between visual artists and performance makers who share an interest in questions of identity, belonging and artistic responses to contemporary crises through inter-arts processes.

Over seven days the artists meet and workshop together in Santiago generating a performative installation event and exhibition to be premiered 16th November at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Santiago. Performances continue to 18th November and the installation is programmed to run to 3rd December.

Alongside this there will be a Symposium hosted by the Museum and University of Chile to explore critical contexts of decolonisation through dialogues around instability and change, between art forms and creative communities.

Alys Longley will present Mistranslation Laboratory through the medium of installation, artist book, video and live performance. This project premiered March 2017 at the Performance Arcade Wellington, will be extended through her collaboration with three local artists.

Carol Brown will present video and performance arising from the research project Releasing the Archive (Dancing Sculpture, NGV Melbourne; Tempo Dance Festival 2017) and will collaborate with Marisol Vargas on a choreographic installation with local dancers.

Mark Harvey will present a curated series of video works, Sharing the Breath Te faaiteraa i te manawa including works by Kalisolaite ‘Uhila, Jeremy Leatinuu, Darcel Apelu and present remotely a performance solo, Colonising Labours.

Contemporary Chilean visual artists Bernardo Oyarzün, Máximo Corvalán-Pincheira (Space to Dream, Auckland Art Gallery 2016), and Dominique Goujon will present new works in response to the provocations of the collaboration.

Artists: Natalia Bakulic, Carol Brown, Macarena Campbell, Máximo Corvalán-Pincheira, Ángel García, Dominique Goujon, Mark Harvey, Alys Longley, Elisa Loncon, Daniela Marini, Francisca Morand, Bernardo Oyarzún and Marisol Vargas.

This event is enabled through support from Dance Studies, Creative Arts and Industries, the University of Auckland and the Dance Department, the University of Chile as well as Museo de Arte Contemporaneo, Santiago, Chile.  

We Are Here and We Are Everywhere At Once

When: 14 July - 30 August
Where: AV Gallery, TSB Bank Wallace Arts Centre
Pah Homestead, 72 Hillsborough Rd, Hillsborough, Auckland
What becomes of our bodily senses as we traverse the physically wild and the artificially contained? Exploring the persistent urge to be attached to places and have profound ties with them in an era of virtual travel, We Are Here And We Are Everywhere At Once is a moving image installation created by an international collaboration between Carol Brown, Russell Scoones and Gibson/Martelli. Supported by the University of Auckland FRDF and Coventry University C-DaRE.  

Artist talk

When: 6-8pm, Friday 18 August
Where: Pah Homestead, Wallace Art Centre

Complimenting the exhibition, this is an opportunity to meet the artists and hear about their process of interdisciplinary collaboration across media and places. Russell Scoones, Carol Brown, Ruth Gibson and Bruno Martelli will be in discussion with artist-academic Dr Alys Longley.

Writing in Creative Research workshop

When: Monday 4 September
Where: Rom 501, Building 421, 26 Symonds St
The aim of this workshop is to develop collegiality amongst academics who engage in and supervise creative-practice, studio-led or artistically driven research.
Workshops throughout the day will focus on methods of writing that support studio reflection and multi-modal approaches to writing, including Laurel Richardson’s writing as a method of inquiry, performance writing, documenting studio practice, mapping creative concepts through spatial and visual modes and discussion of the conventions of thesis structure. Writing workshops will be facilitated by colleagues who publish and work with 'writing as a method of inquiry', 'artistic approaches to cultural mapping' and performance writing, using a variety of writing technologies. Workshops are designed to engage participants in sharing ideas, exploring new ideas, and creating writing.
RSVP: Please email Alys Longley if you intend to participate for the whole day or one of the session.  


When: 7-11th September
Where: Ars Electronica Festival, Linz, Austria
SINGULARITY is a unique interdisciplinary architecture-dance-music event that shifts perceptions of space and movement through an interactive system. Using interactive holographic environments and creative technologies directed by architect Uwe Rieger, designed and programmed by Yinan Liu and Ying Miao, and choreography by Carol Brown with dancers Zahra Killeen-Chance, Adam Naughton and Solomon Holly-Massey. Singularity transports audiences into a different world. Clouds of data become wormholes, kites, watery walls and particle streams in response to the dancers' movement. This coupling of dancer and data shapes worlds that make palpable the multiple ways that data flows permeate the present. Sonic atmospheres and rhythms by French techno composer Jérôme Soudan propel this unique dance, architecture and technology experience. Supported by Creative New Zealand and the University of Auckland.

Dancing Sculpture

When: 10-13 August 2017
Where: National Gallery Victoria, Melbourne Australia, Foyer, Level 3
Carol Brown premieres the film Releasing Her Archive, performs her solo Acts of Becoming and recreates Gertrud Bodenwieser’s iconic The Demon Machine (1924) as part of this special event curated in relation to the exhibition Brave New World. Ecstatic, theatrical and sensual, Bodenwieser’s work influenced the development of modern dance in both New Zealand and Australia. The performances, together with a one day symposium, Leap into the Modern curated by Professor Rachel Fensham and Dr Jordan Beth Vincent explores the transformation of movement and gesture in the twentieth century. Supported by the University of Auckland FRDF, the University of Melbourne and NGV.  

Physical theatre masterclass with Jakop Ahlbom

For physical theatre performers
When: Saturday 25 March, 3-5pm
Where: Kenneth Myers Centre Dance Studio, 74 Shortland Street, Auckland Central
Cost: $30 + booking fee
This two-hour masterclass is for 20 physically trained artists from the disciplines of dance, theatre and circus. It will focus on Jakop’s physical way of working, drawing from his toolkit of slapstick, illusionism, acrobatics, dance, absurdism, music, visual art, poetry and magic.
Registration: To register please contact Faye Jansen (04 801 9885) with a short bio outlining your experience and why you are interested in this masterclass.
Note: All masterclass participants are eligible for the British Council Auckland Arts Festival Industry Card, available to professional artists, to purchase a 50% ticket on the day of a show, subject to availability.

HORROR - by Jakop Ahlbom

When: Tuesday 21 - Sunday 26 March
Where: Civic Theatre, Corner Queen and Victoria Streets, Auckland Central
During Jakop Ahlbom’s ingenious tribute to horror cinema, the feeling emerges that literally anything could happen. Bodies levitate and then vanish, a woman dissolves instantaneously, ghosts and revenants appear, disappear, be dismembered, climb through walls and television sets and float across the stage. It is almost as if Ahlbom and his company have suspended the laws of physics, or conjured some genuine black magic on the stage. Horror is a genuinely, persistently terrifying theatre show - a wordless 80 minute ghost train that plays homage to the greatest hits in horror history, while telling its own disturbing story of vengeful spirits and demonic possession.

Generating text for contemporary performance

Theatre-making and writing workshop led by Emma Hall & Prue Clark
When: Friday 24 February, 10am-1pm
Where: Auckland Old Folks Association, 8 Gundry Street, Newton, Auckland Central.
The workshop will explore various generative processes for text in performance, introducing basic vocabulary and useful tools for creating and unpacking contemporary performance. It will include composition, writing, and rules-based improvisation tasks drawn from Emma and Prue’s own work and those learned from Tim Etchells, Forced Entertainment (UK), Gob Squad (Berlin) and others.
Cost: $25 or free with proof of purchase to Emma and Prue's Auckland Fringe show We May Have to Choose at Basement Theatre (valued at $15-24.50; 21-25 February).
Please register your interest to Prue Clark via To purchase a ticket to We May Have to Choose, please book online at or call iTICKET on (09) 361 1000 and forward your booking confirmation to Prue.

This workshop is open to all adults and no prior theatre-making experience is necessary. Wear comfortable clothing you can move in and bring a pen and a notebook.