Lasting passion finds fulfilment on stage

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DEDICATED AND DRIVEN: Alice Macann first started dancing at the age of 3 and has now joined Footnote Dance as a company dancer.

Alice Macann remembers watching company members from Footnote Dance as a child and wishing she could join them.

She had a bit of growing to do first, but her dream came true this year.

Macann has joined Footnote Dance as a company dancer, after three years at the New Zealand Schhol of Dance.

“It was the most amazing three years of my life. I gained so much. It was definitely challenging, but it was a dream come true, or the beginning of my dream,” she said from Wellington before Easter, after being let off an afternoon rehearsal.

The 20-year-old will be in Nelson next week, for the premier of Made in New Zealand with Footnote Dance at the Suter Theatre on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of Heritage Week.

Macann will then fly back to Wellington the following Thursday for the opening of another show a day later.

“It’s go, go, go,” she said.

Made in New Zealand features four choreographed dance pieces by four New Zealanders set to music also composed by Kiwis.

Sarah Foster’s piece, Trance Like Happiness, is influenced by a trip to Israel and Southern Cross, by Clare O’Neil, is about coming back to New Zealand after a decade abroad.

Macann, who performs in three of the four pieces, said (SEX) by Ross McCormack focused on flesh, physicality and the feelings created around sex. Malia Johnson’s In Pieces was about the body falling apart and putting it back together.

“Each work is about something different, but I think they all complement each other well,” she said.

Sitting in the audience at the Suter Theatre next week, bursting with pride, will be Peta Spooner, of the Peta Spooner School of Dance.

Ms Spooner saw Macann graduate from the New Zealand School of Dance alongside Nelson’s Kimiora Grey at the end of last year and said it was like seeing one’s own children graduate from university.

“It was incredibly moving. I felt absolutely so proud,” she said.

Macann started ballet when she was 3 and moved on to modern dance, working with Ms Spooner for eight years.

Ms Spooner said Macann, who moved to Nelson from Wellington when she was 9, was driven, dedicated and passionate about dance.

“Alice is a worker. She loves a challenge. Really, all I did was nurture her development,” she said.

Ms Spooner said Macann was a girl when she left Nelson, at 17, to join the New Zealand School of Dance, but she was now grown up.

“She’s beautiful. She’s a gorgeous-looking girl. The studio and the teachers who have been part of her life are very proud. It’s hard to get into anything these days. We’re just absolutely over the moon,” she said.

Macann said she always made sure to visit Ms Spooner when she was back in Nelson.

“She sparked my passion for dance. She’s an amazing person and creates a really great environment to learn,” she said.

Graduating from the New Zealand School of Dance last year was the end of an era, but it was also exciting to go on to bigger and better things.

“I remember when Footnote used to come to Nelson when I was little. I used to watch them and wish that I could be in the company, so it’s amazing that I’m here now,” she said.

  • Footnote Dance presents Made in New Zealand at the Suter Theatre, 7.30pm Tuesday and Wednesday. Tickets from Everyman Records in Hardy St.

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