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Haunting Douglas


Sat 8 Dec 2018, 4:30pm–5:45pm

Where: Nga Taonga Sound & Vision, 84 Taranaki St, Te Aro, Wellington

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • General Admission: $10.25 ($10.00 + $0.25 fees)
  • Concession: $8.20 ($8.00 + $0.20 fees)
  • Eventfinda tickets no longer on sale

We acknowledge the recent loss of one of New Zealand's greatest dancers, Douglas Wright, with a screening of this award winning documentary by Leanne Pooley.

"Life was never going to be sweet for dancing boy Douglas Wright. Unwilling to learn the collective side-step of the rugby-mad small town New Zealand of his birth, he subsumed his gift, first as a champion gymnast then as a prodigious consumer of drugs before devoting himself to the punishing regime that would make him a world renowned dancer and choreographer.

Of the multiple hauntings in Leanne Pooley’s film, the most fascinating is Wright’s cruel possession of his own body. His life story is written on his astonishing musculature as, under the force of his imagination, it performs wonderful, self-destructive dances. Wright slams into the floor and his fellow dancers, hangs upside down and maintains a constant violent grace ironically reminiscent of the great All Black his father wanted him to be. Off stage he rages too: great loves, wars with the critics and eloquent loathing of the country that provides the raw material for his work.

But even as his body brought him acclaim with Paul Taylor’s Dance Company in New York in the 1980s, Wright was so ferociously tangoing his way up and down gay Manhattan that he couldn’t help but catch the disease he knew but decided not to care about.

Now Wright’s life and art collide. He writhes and leaps through increasingly haunting works. And the film maker has some ghost work of her own to do: she departs from the lush cinematographic approach of the rest of the film and with DV camera probes the sick and injured ex-dancer as he bullies younger bodies to realise his latest (will it be his last?) dance. Pooley and Wright make their own fascinating dance around the insights, hatreds and loves that may or may not sustain a body and an artist in the face of death." - Spacific Films

“Anger is not just mine, anger is like petrol if somebody gets angry someone nearby will catch fire. It’s about exploring the way energy can be transformed through art. I’m lucky, I’ve been given more than my share of anger so I’ve got a lot of it to transform.” - Douglas Wright

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