McCormack / Wright Projects
Choreography + Projects
It interests me to see the space in the position of superiority and watch the human body so accustomed to dominating, attempt to decipher, control, succeed and fail in order to make sense of its own purpose. There is something interesting when movement or choreography shifts our physical data, when movement producers its own narratives inside choreographic detail. - Ross McCormack
Method, Overview, H2Q ART, Vietnam, 2019
Area², T.H.E Dance Company, 2017
Recording in Dak Nong for Method, 2019
Matter, New Zealand Dance Company, 2016
System, Muscle Mouth, 2018
Jason Wright, Composer Showreel #2
Starting in 2012 with their first collaboration s.e.x for Footnote New Zealand Dance, this creative duo quickly developed an idiosyncratic and visceral approach to creating dance and dance-theatre. Quickly after this work McCormack and Wright co-founded Muscle Mouth with long-term collaborators Melanie Hamilton and Natasha James. Muscle Mouth then create AGE a commission by the New Zealand Festival, then shortly after that, Triumphs and Other Alternatives, which cemented their unique approach to dance design and choreography.
During creating work with Muscle Mouth the McCormack and Wright continued to work consistently on commissions which include New Zealand School of Dance, Unitec Dance, The New Zealand Dance Company and a new full-length work for Footnote New Zealand Dance.
Their latest creation, Method, was created in collaboration with H2Q ART, Vietnam in 2019. As well as featuring six unique Vietnamese performers the sound score incorporated recordings from traditional Vietnamese musicians, recorded in the highlands of Đắk Nông
The pair have been praised for their highly detailed approach to dance where the set, sound and concept take precedence and control of the movement, providing strong synergy between all elements of the work, resulting in pieces where the environment becomes character and the language of dance is pushed into the theatrical.
As McCormack states -
It interests me to see the space in the position of superiority and watch the human body so accustomed to dominating, attempt to decipher, control, succeed and fail in order to make sense of its own purpose. There is something interesting when movement or choreography shifts our physical data, when movement producers its own narratives inside choreographic detail.
Wrights background in Sonic Arts lends itself perfectly to dance as highly intricate sonic textures mix with a strong conceptual knowledge of how sound affects the body and can match and challenge the energy of performers. Wright’s sound design has been attributed to being a character itself within the work and consistently provides a powerful backdrop to McCormack’s world.
Ross McCormack graduated from the New Zealand School of Dance in 2001 and went on to perform with Douglas Wright Dance Company and the Royal New Zealand Ballet. In 2003 Ross joined Australian Dance Theatre where he worked closely with Garry Stewart on the creation of several new works which toured the United States and Europe. In 2004 Ross won the Best Male Dancer Helpmann Award for his performance in Held, a collaboration between Australian Dance Theatre and New York dance photographer Lois Greenfield.
From 2004 to 2015 Ross was based in Europe, working with Alain Platel at Les Ballets C de la B in Belgium. He performed in VSPRS (2006, direction Alain Platel), Patchagonia (2007, direction Lisi Estaras), Out of Context - For Pina (2010, direction Alain Platel) and Tauberbach (2014, direction Alain Platel).
In 2011 Ross also performed with Australia’s Chunky Move touring Connected to the United States, and then joined Les Ballets in Japan to continue touring Out Of Context. In November 2012 Ross joined Melbourne dance company Lucy Guerin Inc to perform Untrained at BAM, New York and Mondavi Arts Center, California, and then for a tour of Ireland, the UK and Greece in May 2013.
In 2013 Ross joined fellow Les Ballets C de la B dancers in Korea to collaborate on an independent creation NowNow, and then performed Out of Context with the company at the prestigious Festival d'Avignon. Between January 2014 and December 2015 Ross performed in Alain Platel’s highly acclaimed Tauberbach, a show that has won multiple international awards since its premiere. Ross returned to work with Les Ballets C de la B in November 2017, to perform Out of Context in Girona and Madrid, And will reunite again with them in Paris January 2019 for the ten year anniversary of Pina Bausch.
Alongside his performance career Ross has been forging his distinctive, highly physical choreographic practice. He has been commissioned to choreograph several short works for New Zealand companies: (sex), 2012 and Stealth, 2009 for Footnote Dance; Preface: Homage to a Risk, 2015, Visions of Salome, 2015, SUM, 2011 and Symbiotic, 2008 for New Zealand School of Dance; Nga hau e wha: Papa Nuku, 2011 for Okareka Dance Company; Area, 2015, and Rahui, 2012 for Unitec; and Matter, 2016 for New Zealand Dance Company.
In Australia Ross choreographed his first full-length work Nowhere Fast, 2009 for Dancenorth, Townsville, which toured to the Macau Cultural Centre, China in September 2010. He then created [SIC], 2011, also for Dancenorth, and short work I said HaHa, 2011 for Link Dance Company, Perth. In April 2016 Ross returned to Dancenorth to create a new work If Form Was Shifted as part of a double-bill programme with Australian choreographer, Stephanie Lake, which has since toured in Australia.
In 2014 Ross co-founded New Zealand dance theatre company Muscle Mouth, where he is Artistic Director. He directed and choreographed AGE, the company’s inaugural show,which was commissioned and presented by the New Zealand Festival. Muscle Mouth then premiered Triumphs and Other Alternatives in 2015 to great acclaim, a show which Ross directed and performs the central role. Triumphs and Other Alternatives has since toured NZ, been presented at the Australian Performing Arts Market, and at the 2017 Seoul International Dance Festival. Muscle Mouth then premiered The Weight of Force, a solo work featuring Ross, at the 2016 Hong Kong Arts Festival. The work then toured to the 2016 M1 Contact Contemporary Dance Festival, Singapore. In 2017 Muscle Mouth undertook its first international collaboration, presenting Area² as part of Borderline, a new double-bill season that premiered in Singapore with T.H.E Dance Company. The company is also developing System, a new experimental work that will premiere at Tempo Dance Festival in 2018. In 2015, Muscle Mouth presented installations Tiger and Another Garden at Enjoy Public Art Gallery in 2015.
In addition to performing, choreographing and directing, Ross has also designed all of the sets for his works. Of special note are his designs for Triumphs and Other Alternatives and performance installation Tiger, both of which received much praise.
In 2017 Ross performed with Auckland Theatre Company, alongside Michael Hurst, playing Mozart in their sell out season of Amadeus. In 2018 Ross was invited to teach at The International Choreographic Workshop held in Seoul. Ross also joined long time collaborator Hyo Seung Ye in Seoul the same year to co create a new work with company Blue Poet which premiered in October at PAMS.
2019 Ross created As it Stands with Musclemouth for the Auckland Arts Festival which premiered at the ASB Waterfront Theatre. Working with Footnote New Zealand Dance Company and long time collaborator Jason Wright Ross completed a fresh new work ‘The Clearing’ which is currently touring New Zealand.
Ross was awarded the prestigious Creative New Zealand Choreographic Fellowship in 2016, and in 2017 was named a New Zealand Arts Foundation Laureate.
Jason Wright is a Wellington-based composer and sound artist working across dance, theatre, film and installation. Wright’s work has been performed both nationally and internationally and within ten years Wright has worked with many of Aotearoa’s top dance and theatre makers. A graduate of Te Kōkī New Zealand School of Music, Jason holds a Master of Music in Sonic Arts and Composition.
Creator and curator of the Low Noise Exhibition series, Parliament 2013, Toi Pōneke 2015; these group shows featured his sound installations Installation for Inward and Outward Facing Speaker Cones and Black Series. Other sound installation work includes, Jukebox at the Adam Art Gallery 2011; Interview with Mute, Matchbox Gallery 2012; When Bertha Sings, Nyco Chocolate factory 2013; sound design for Muscle Mouth’s multi-media installations Tiger and Another Garden at Enjoy Gallery 2015 and recent solo exhibitions across the country Black Series II, The Auricle 2015; an Artifact of Mass, Audio Foundation, 2016 and rauropi [ I II III ], Toi Pōneke Art Gallery, 2019.
Working with dance, Jason has composed music for Strive, Footnote Taster Series 2013; Just Bet/ween Us, Choreo-co 2015; eye, Brothers & Sisters Collective, 2015; Vessel, T.H.E Dance Company Singapore, 2017 and Creeper, Sydney Dance Company, 2019.
A key collaborator with Arts Laureate Ross McCormack, Jason created the music for SEX, Footnote Dance 2012; Rāhui, Unitec 2012; Area, Unitec 2015, Visions of Salome, M1 Contact Dance Festival Singapore 2015; Preface: Homage to a Risk, New Zealand School of Dance 2015; Matter, New Zealand Dance Company, 2016; The Clearing, Footnote New Zealand Dance (Winner Best Sound Design, Wellington Theatre Awards), 2019; re:structure, New Zealand School of Dance, 2019 and Method in collaboration with H2Q Art Vietnam, 2019.
Co-founder of dance-theatre company Muscle Mouth, Jason produced scores for AGE, New Zealand Festival 2014, their acclaimed production Triumphs and Other Alternatives, 2015 and The Weight of Force, Hong Kong Arts Festival, M1 Contact Dance Festival, 2016 and Borderline – A double-bill collaboration between Muscle Mouth and T.H.E Dance Company Singapore, M1 Contact Dance Festival, 2017; System, Tempo Dance Festival, NZ Fringe Festival, 2019 and As It Stands, a new commission from the Auckland Arts Festival, 2019.
Work for theatre includes Shu’s Song by Capital E National Theatre for Children (Nominated for Best Music Composition, Wellington Theatre Awards), 2016; Versions of Allah by Ohokomo productions, Kia Mau festival, 2016 and The Fence by Brothers & Sisters Collective (Nominated for Best Sound Design, Wellington Theatre Awards), 2016; Sound Design for World of Wearable Arts, 2017; Force Field by Everybody Cool Lives Here (Winner of Best Overall Production Design, Auckland Fringe), 2018; Odd One Out b y Capital E National Theatre for Children, 2018; The Two Gentlemen of Verona by Toi Whakaari, 2018; Night Moves b y Julia Croft and Nisha Madhan, 2019 and sound design for Gui Tacetti’s art exhibition Inferno, Inside Out Productions, 2019.
List of Works
Nowhere Fast, Dance North, 2010
SIC, Footnote Dance Company, 2011
SUM, New Zealand School of Dance, 2012
SEX, Footnote Dance Company, 2013
Rahui, Unitec Institute of Dance, 2013
Preface: Homage to a Risk, New Zealand School of Dance, 2015
Visions of Salome, New Zealand School of Dance, 2015
Area, Unitec Institute of Dance, 2015
If Form was Shifted, Dance North, 2016
Matter, New Zealand Dance Company, 2016
The Clearing, Footnote New Zealand Dance, 2019
re.structure, New Zealand School of Dance, 2019
Method, McCormack / Wright Projects, H2Q ART Vietnam, 2019
with Muscle Mouth/
Age, New Zealand Festival, 2014
Triumphs and Other Alternatives, 2015, Tempo Dance Festival, 2015, Live Works Festival of Experimental Art, 2015,
SiDance International Dance Festival, Busan International Dance Market, 2017
The Weight of Force, M1 Contact Dance Festival, 2016
Area², T.H.E Dance Company, M1 Contact Dance Festival, 2017
System, Tempo Dance festival, 2018, NZ Fringe festival 2019
As It Stands, Auckland Arts Festival, 2019
Ross McCormack /
+64 22 076 1013
+64 27 308 9920
Sound / Jason Wright
Photography / John McDermott / Amber Haines / Bernie Ng / Jason Wright / Kerrin Burns / NGO photography / Michael Smith / Phillip Merry