chrysalis: new zealand
If Sanou in Burkina Faso focused on opening outward toward the sky, Foster-Sproull reveals the process of folding inward - the hidden, dark life inside the cocoon. Two female dancers, set outdoors in the native forests of New Zealand, the Waitaki, represent the Chrysalis. The women begin with their bodies folded together, making it impossible to determine whose limbs are whose, and even how many people are there: there is only a mass of flesh. Deliberately, with conviction and mystery, the limbs pulse and unfold in unexpected ways, until the women are unfolded and dancing synchronously in rhythm. Composer Aiyana Braun has created a piece that samples classical instruments, but uses electronics to loop them back across each other, just as the women’s bodies mimic each other but free themselves. This video evokes evolution and growth, even within darkness, and before an escape from it is possible.
Sarah Foster-Sproull is a Choreographer in Residence at The Royal New Zealand Ballet, Fellow at the Centre for Ballet and The Arts at New York University and Session Choreographer for the New York Choreographic Institute affiliated with the New York City Ballet. Sarah has been the Creative New Zealand Choreographic Fellow and is currently a Senior Lecturer in Dance Studies at the University of Auckland Dance Studies. Sarah is the Artistic Director and choreographer of Auckland-based dance company Foster Group and was the 2019 Director of Choreography at New Zealand’s largest performance event The World of Wearable Art. She is a distinguished graduate of the New Zealand School of Dance and holds a Master in Dance Studies from the University of Auckland - Dance Studies.
Aiyana Braun is a composer, sound artist, and pianist whose work has been performed by the New York Philharmonic, Berkeley Symphony and Curtis Symphony Orchestra, among others. At the age of fifteen, her first orchestra composition premiered at the New York Philharmonic; another work, commissioned by Maya Angelou and Norman Lear, was performed at the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall. She has won awards from the BMI Foundation and American Composers Forum, as well as being featured on NPR’s From the Top and several episodes of PBS/WHYY’s On Stage at Curtis. She is a Fellow at the Center for the Ballet and the Arts in 2021, where she will be working on interdisciplinary collaborations between musicians, choreographers, and dancers.
New Zealand Unit
Director of Photography
Oxford Alternative Orchestra