Article Title:Preview: SEP ARATE
Author or Credit:Jacqui Stanford
Published on:12th November 2014 - 12:54 pm
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Story ID:15992
Text:It was hair suits and a shared passion for delving into issues of gender and sexuality that brought choreographers Lydia Zanetti and Val Smith together, and their works will be performed side by side from tonight in Auckland – yes, hairy creatures and all. Zanetti explains she’d seen and admired Smith’s work for quite a long time. It was while curating Short+Sweet Dance that she found out Smith had created a full body hair suit, “and was doing some awesome dance moves in this full body hair suit”. “I went up to her afterwards and said ‘hey, I have also made this solo with a hairy face mask. Separately we’d both made these two hairy characters and were both looking at gender and sexuality, from a queer perspective. That was the kind of work we’d been making for a long time. And somehow we’d both decided on hairy creatures as the pinnacle of how to discuss this.” This synergy has led to a combined show. “It just makes sense,” Zanetti says. Their dance –theatre double bill SEP ARATE opens at the Basement Theatre tonight and runs until Saturday. Smith’s piece unravels the concept of the ‘hetero-dance duet’, while Zanetti’s work “unpacks the catalogue of gender to find where the self can live”. Perhaps unsurprisingly, while Smith and Zanetti’s pieces are different, the pair found there were still some unplanned similarities. The combination of the two works is designed to spearhead a queer conversation in the arts, with humour playing a key part in this exploration – with a cast creating diverse characters, which includes trained clown Isobel MacKinnon. “I feel like if you’re approaching things with a sense of humour, you can get a little bit closer to people,” Zanetti says. “They become a bit more vulnerable, you can get further underneath their skin and you can also do that lovely twist where if you set up really good joke and suddenly it shifts into something quite serious and far more accepting. But also, I just like an entertaining show. There’s actually a lot of humour in my piece.” Zanetti’s own interest in unpacking ideas around gender came during work on the 100% OK campaign earlier this year. “That really highlighted to me that, although there’s still a lot of stuff around sexuality that’s really important, actually differentiating gender from sexuality and discussing gender is really at the forefront of where our conversation needs to go. Where there’s the most misunderstanding.” While she doesn’t like to tell people what to think, she says, “if people come away from the show and they’re talking about things around gender and sexuality, then I’ll be stoked. I’ll have achieved what I set out to.” Featuring Isobel MacKinnon, Tallulah Holly-Massey, Lisa Greenfield, Mattie Hamuera, Tru Paraha and val smith, SEP ARATE is at The Basement from 12-15 November. *Thursday night’s show is a fundraiser for Rainbow Youth's artistRY group. Buy tickets here  Jacqui Stanford - 12th November 2014    
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