Our Lotto NZ Story
Nga Kaitiaki Taonga Kanikani O Aotearoa
The National Dance Archive of New Zealand
The National Dance Archive of New Zealand (NDA) is a charitable trust formed to encourage the preservation of New Zealand’s dance heritage.
We are a voluntary body which develops resources to support our dance community in preserving New Zealand’s dance scene and culture. We commission oral history recordings of prominent New Zealand dance personalities. We are not a repository for archive material, but we want to point people in the right direction.
The National Dance Archive of New Zealand (NDA) has initiated several oral history projects since its inception in 1982. These recordings are deposited as part of the National Dance Archive Oral History Project with the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington (ATL Ref: OHColl-0208). Permission to listen to these recordings is required from the National Dance Archive and in many cases from other related parties. To find out if an item is available please consult the Turnbull Library catalogue or contact the Library on https://natlib.govt.nz/questions/new.
Projects have covered various aspects and communities related to dance in New Zealand. This current project, A Dance Picture, is recording the life-long commitment of four women to dance and the arts in New Zealand. Although they have all been dancers in their own right, they are best known for their roles of teaching, administration and promotion of dance in New Zealand.
These four women have based most of their dance career in New Zealand. Through their work they have expanded opportunities for New Zealanders in dance education and performance, and ultimately increasing audiences and dance appreciation within New Zealand.
With previous oral history projects completed by the National Dance Archive having largely focused on dancers and dance teachers, this oral history project helps to broaden the spectrum of dance that has been recorded. This project is a fitting complement to the project that focused on Māori and Pasifika men in contemporary dance, as well as the celebration of the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage.
The project is of both regional and national significance, as each of these people has had a major impact on the cultural life of New Zealand, both at a regional and national level. Through teaching, mentoring and fostering the next and current generation their influence on the recognition, promotion and growth of professional dance in New Zealand has been profound.
The interviewees chosen for this project A Dance Picture and generous Lotteries grant are: Carla van Zon, Jenny Stevenson, Jamie Bull, Shona McCullagh
These interviews will be conducted by Lyne Pringle.
Lyne has considerable experience in oral history interviewing. As dancer, choreographer, teacher, dance writer and researcher, she has a professional understanding of her subjects, a curiosity about their lives and work, and a researched knowledge of this area in New Zealand’s dance history. Since her training under oral historian, Judith Fyfe, Lyne has been the primary interviewer for five oral history projects commissioned by the National Dance Archive. In 2009, with the help of a grant from the Sesquicentennial Oral History Fund, she recorded the stories of dancers from Limbs Dance Company and Impulse Dance Company, and in 2011 interviewed Māori and Pasifika men influential in New Zealand contemporary dance. More recently, in 2013 Lyne recorded interviews with five people covering a broader perspective of the dance industry in New Zealand.
The Dance Archive are extremely grateful to the Lotteries Commission for the grant that made the continuance of oral histories possible at this time.
Images left to right:
Dancer, Choreographer, Writer
Photo: Peter Molloy
Carla van Zon ONZM
Dancer, Executive and Arts Administrator
Photo: Carla van Zon
Dancer, Choreographer, Director
Photo: Sally Tagg
A Distinguished Graduate from the New Zealand School of Dance, Shona was a dancer with Sydney based company Darc Swan in 1984, subsequently joining Limbs Dance Company, where she was a dancer, rehearsal director and choreographer from 1985 to 1988. In 1987, Shona performed with Douglas Wright & Dancers in New York, was a founding member of the NZ based Douglas Wright Dance Company and became its Associate Director in 1991, touring to the London Dance Umbrella and the Holland Dance Festival.
As a choreographer over the last 35 years she has created works ranging from short pieces to full length works, often working with NZ composers for companies such as Limbs, Footnote, Douglas Wright Dance Company, The Royal New Zealand Ballet, Southern Lights, tertiary institutes and her own company The Human Garden, which was established in 1992 and continued until 2007.
Shona has a long history of collaboration with other art forms, creating extensive work for theatre, television and film, including sequences for Fellowship of the Ring and King Kong. Her work for theatre has seen her creating choreography for Nightsong Productions, The Watershed Theatre, the NZ Actors Company and Auckland Theatre Company’s Equus, Sweet Charity, Cabaret, Chicago and Lysistrata. Her work Rotunda for NZDC resulted in a tour to the Holland Dance Festival and a nine centre Australasian tour of the work, performing with live brass bands including a first ever collaboration between the military forces and contemporary dance with the NZ Army Band touring with the Company.
Shona has developed an international reputation as an award-winning and innovative filmmaker with all of her films being screened at the prestigious Clermont-Ferrand Film Festival in France. She established the Screendance course at UNITEC’s Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts and as a recipient of CNZ’s 2004 Senior Choreographic Fellowship, Shona developed works integrating real-time interactive technology with live performance, resulting in a full-length work and a series of installations for Era New Horizons Festival in Poland, the Nelson Arts Festival, Splore and Taupo’s Erupt festival.
As founder and director of The Human Agency, Shona has conceptualised and directed many major events involving dance as a central feature such as the Steinlager Rugby Awards, the Harcourts Annual Conference and as Head Choreographer for the globally broadcast 2011 Rugby World Cup Opening Ceremony. She has also encouraged the careers and livelihoods of hundreds of artists through sourcing work for them via the agency.
In 2007 Shona was an inaugural participant of the ART Venture Acceleration Programme for Creative Entrepreneurs, an initiative of the Arts Regional Trust. Attending this programme resulted in her decision to assist the growth of the NZ dance industry by establishing The New Zealand Dance Company in 2011. Currently, Shona is Artistic Director of the Auckland Festival.
Jamie Bull has had over 40 years performance and training experience. She is an experienced choreographer, director, group facilitator, therapist, performance and creativity motivator, arts manager and mentor, and she has worked in education, in health, and in commercial and non-commercial theatre and performance. Former Founding Director of Impulse Dance Theatre, Jamie has choreographed for most Professional Dance Companies in New Zealand in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, as well as her own Company. She has maintained an active involvement in theatre –including choreographing and directing.
In theatre Jamie has worked on projects within many of the main Professional theatres/ companies including Downstage, Bats, Circa, the Court Theatre, and Centrepoint. In community theatre she has presented many professional performances with untrained performers, including the full length works Back Beach Time, and Blanket Coverage which were recreated in many communities throughout New Zealand.
Jamie has long been an advocate for access to artistic practice and creativity for all members of our community and has contributed in this field for all of her professional life. She is noted for her Bi Cultural commitment and understanding. Until her recent retirement, the main thread of her recent professional portfolio, was in putting her experience and expertise into mentoring in the arts, and supporting a select group of performing artists.
(N.B. Jamie Bull has already been interviewed about her involvement with Impulse Dance Theatre as part of the NDA’s Oral History project in 2009 Riding the Crest of a Wave. The interview for this project is intended to cover her life both more broadly as well as her work since her involvement with Impulse Dance Theatre.)