A Q&A with Chrissy Kokiri, of the New Zealand Dance Company
Billed as “the most provocative and poetic season yet”, The New Zealand Dance Company is due to premiere The Absurdity of Humanity in Auckland at the end of August. The show will feature new works by two very different choreographers, Matter by Ross McCormack (Creative New Zealand’s 2015 Choreographic Fellow), and Whispers from Pandora’s Box by Australia’s Lina Limosani. What’s Good caught up with NZDC dancer Chrissy Kokiri as she prepares for the upcoming season.
How has being a full time NZDC member changed life for you during the past couple of years?
I became a full time NZDC member at the beginning of this year. It has enabled me to really work on my body, technically and physically. I have the time and security that you don't usually get in this industry to create more of an expressive body and creative mind. Also, the financial benefits of being paid 52 weeks a year is super sweet!
How did you come to the decision that contemporary dance was the career for you?
I studied dance at Unitec (Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts – Contemporary Dance) for 3 years before joining the company. In my first year, I still wasn't sure dance was what I really wanted to pursue. It wasn't until I was maybe half way through my second year that I really fell in love with dance. I had seconded with a few companies (including the NZDC) and really enjoyed them, and could see myself doing this everyday.
What do you like most about your profession?
It may sound clichéd but I love how you can never be perfect at dance. You can always challenge yourself and get better.
If you could dance any role in any dance work, what would it be?
I saw a dance in London a few years ago where one dude ran on a treadmill the whole time jumping over boxes and tables and chairs... I wanna be that dude.
What’s your advice for an audience member seeing contemporary dance for the first time?
Be open, don't try (and don't be frustrated!) if you don't understand or can't interpret it. Just enjoy.
What’s the most challenging thing about being a dancer in NZ?
There's a general misconception of what a dancer actually does and it's quite difficult to translate or tell people what we do. People also assume we are either hip hop dancers or ballet dancers.
What’s one secret the public doesn’t know about contemporary dancers?
Contemporary dancers are obsessed with the perfect trackies and long sleeved top. Some people can't even do class if they've forgotten their favorite pair of socks!
Who are your heroes?
What are your favourite moments in The Absurdity of Humanity and why?
I love salivating over the chickens while they’re in the slaughter line just before we cut them up. I also love slow-walking as an ensemble at the beginning of Matter, it feels super cool.
What are your recommendations for NZ's best;
- Place to get a coffee?
I love instant coffee!
- Brilliant activity that costs nothing?
- Place to buy an Opening Night function outfit?
Lucy Lynch’s (fellow NZDC member) wardrobe.
Opening on the 24th of August, tickets for The Absurdity of Humanity can be purchased here.
Photo cred: John McDermott