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Once Upon a Dance


Sat 16 Jun 2018, 7:30pm–8:30pm
Sun 17 Jun 2018, 3:00pm–4:00pm

Where: St Peters Hall, Cnr Beach Rd and Ames St, Paekakariki, Kapiti Coast

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • General Admission: $28.62 ($25.00 + $3.62 fees)
  • Concession: $23.00 ($20.00 + $3.00 fees)
  • Eventfinda tickets no longer on sale

Listed by: janbolwell

Two women weave a dynamic tale about their dancing lives.

Jan Bolwell and Mona Williams combine forces in Once Upon a Dance, an hour long show which tells the story of their dancing lives.

They are both members of Crows Feet Dance Collective, a contemporary dance company for mature women in Wellington. Jan is also a playwright and actor, and teaches dance exercise classes on the Kapiti Coast. Mona is a well known professional storyteller touring frequently around Australasia.

Bolwell, who directs Crows Feet says: “Mona and I come from such different cultural and dancing backgrounds. Mona grew up in what was once British Guiana and learned her traditional dances, as well as studying ballet. I grew up in Dunedin and learned Highland dancing and then modern dance with Shona MacTavish. We have found it fascinating to put these different dance traditions beside each other in a theatrical way with the help of our director, Ralph McAllister”.

Bolwell and Williams also have a lot in common. They discovered the first ballet they ever saw was The Nutcracker, albeit on different sides of the globe. They recount in words and movement how it felt to be in the audience. As young people they adored American musicals and knew all the songs. “We have great fun in this show doing a favourite number from South Pacific”.

Apart from storytelling, Bolwell and Williams dance and sing, and the work is richly illustrated with projected images from their lives. But it’s not all light and amusing. Says Bolwell: “When you get to our age (Jan is 68 and Mona is 75) you’ve experienced a lot of heartache, and we don’t shy away from telling these stories as well. In my case it is dealing with two bouts of breast cancer and with Mona, it is a broken marriage. Dance helped us overcome these personal traumas.”

Once Upon a Dance had its premiere in March and received glowing reviews:

‘This is the kind of show you should see if you love women, dance, politics, being alive, New Zealand, rebellion, music, strength, history, stories – if you thrive on being part of the world around you and embracing everything it throws at you, you’ll find something that resonates.’ - Theatreview 20/3/18

‘These are two very strong, brave, life mature women. They come from such very different cultural backgrounds and have both faced fierce adversity. This production tells those stories with depth, humour, generosity, honesty and joy.’ - Theatreview 14/3/18