A different dance language crosses the Tasman

New Zealand and Australia are geographically and culturally linked, but have noticeably different choreographic vocabularies.

Photo credit: Caroline Bindon

Though both are former British colonies established in the relative isolation of the South Pacific, New Zealand and Australia are separated by much more than just 4157 km of the Tasman Sea.

‘There’s a really vast difference between the choreographic languages in Australia and New Zealand, and there always have been, really. It’s quite surprising that for such a proximity the influences have been so different,’ said Shona McCullagh, the Chief Executive and Artistic Director of The New Zealand Dance Company.

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Richard Watts is ArtsHub's National Performing Arts Editor; he also presents the weekly program SmartArts on Three Triple R FM, and serves as the Chair of La Mama Theatre's volunteer Committee of Management. Richard is a life member of the Melbourne Queer Film Festival, and was awarded the status of Melbourne Fringe Living Legend in 2017. In 2020 he was awarded the Sidney Myer Performing Arts Awards' Facilitator's Prize. Most recently, Richard was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Green Room Awards Association in June 2021. Follow him on Twitter: @richardthewatts