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April 6, 2014 | by  | in Arts Theatre | [ssba]

An Interview with Sacha Copland

How does Java Dance Company operate? Where do you practice? How was the company formed?
Java Dance Company is a professional dance company. We tour shows to festivals in NZ and Australia, regularly fulfil commissions, tour schools, and lots of other things too. We rehearse at Toi Poneke Wellington Arts Centre (and sometimes at the bus depot!) The company was formed in 2003 by myself as a fresh graduate of the NZ School of Dance at the tender age of 21, with Rosie Christie, Melanie Golding and Yasmine Ganley (all graduates of dance school too). I’m the only original founder left, and now we employ the next generation of dancers.

Who’s involved with the Company and with the performance? What age range are the dancers?
We have a company of core dancers – Emma Coppersmith, Michael Gudgeon, Sarah Gatzonis and Lauren Carr – with NZSD student Demi-Jo Manalo joining us for the season and for the Edinburgh tour. Ages range from 20–32. Two dancers will have their 21st birthdays on tour this year.

How long has this show been in rehearsal?
Back of the Bus premiered in Wellington in 2008. Since then we’ve performed the show at festivals in Christchurch, Dunedin, Southland, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Adelaide, Perth, Auckland, Mackay and Tauranga. The next stop is Edinburgh in August!

How did you come up with this idea for a show on a bus? Is the bus moving?
YES the bus is moving! When I was a kid I’d look at the bars in the bus and think about using them to dance. Then the inspiration to bring Back of the Bus into reality came during a trip to France. I’ve always loved dance that erupts out of ordinary situations, and the music from buskers on the subway in Paris made it almost impossible for me to sit still in my seat. I loved the idea of going on a tour of your own city and seeing it in a completely different light, like it’s somewhere exotic you’ve never been before. This desire to re-examine the familiar plays out in the journey the characters take.

What’s the most rewarding thing about performing this show?
The interaction with the audience; it’s so up close and personal. It feels like we’re good friends with them by the end of the show. The opening scene is really fun to do but you’ll have to come and see it to find out why!

What can an audience member expect from this show as a theatrical experience?
You meet these characters on the bus and then you get to see their inner thoughts and their transformation. You see them in public and private and it’s all done through movement.

Back of the Bus is showing at Circa Theatre 9–12 April; tickets are $28 for students and $35 full price, and $12 for the preview on Tuesday the 8th. Bookings and meeting point at Circa Theatre.


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