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1 Taranaki Street, Wellington | Box Office Ph: 04 801 7992
Duration: 1 hour, 3 - 14 February 2016
Price: $25, or $35 with wine tasting
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Java Dance Theatre
Choreographed by Sacha Copland
With live music by Tristan Carter and Charley Davenport

We create a magic, dangerous and ancient story when we tend the vines, crush the grapes, and ferment the juice.

The Wine Project invites you into a world of intrigue and aroma, of ritual and revelry, of sex and power:

“This is a dance of joy you feel to the extreme, a drama you know in your soul, a dark secret we share that you won’t admit is yours.” Theatreview, Nelson, 2015

Bright berry fruit gently framed by autumnal, forest-floor notes with hints of chocolate, coffee and spice.

“We are all mortal until the first kiss and the second glass of wine” Eduardo Galeano

The simplicity of a grape transforming into the complexity of wine is a metaphor for how people begin with basic human needs and form layered societies and hierarchies, creating art, war and all sorts of other things along the way. The Wine Project is the second in the Civilisation Series which began with RISE (the making of bread to form a community).

Top Photo Credit Simon Darby Wanaka Photography

Emma Coppersmith Rome Photo by Dave Tose - web

Emma Coppersmith dances in ‘The Wine Project’. Photo by Dave Tose.

Recently returned from a sell-out season of Back of the Bus in Edinburgh, Java Dance Company combine live music, theatre and dance to capture audiences all over the world.

Sacha Copland began fermenting this new work in a French vineyard and now invites you to taste it.

“Captivating” Theatreview, Tauranga, 2015

“This performance has the ‘IT’ factor” Theatreview, Nelson, 2015

Layers of history and old cultures are abundant” Theatreview, Hawkes Bay, 2015

WARNING: contains nudity

  • $25
    $35 with wine tasting (available Friday-Sunday. Arrive an hour before the show. )

    Reservations can be made by calling 04 801 7992.

  • Wednesday 3 February – 6.30pm
    Friday 5 February – 8pm
    Saturday 6 February – 8pm
    Sunday 7 February – 4pm
    Wednesday 10 February – 6.30pm
    Friday 12 February – 8pm
    Saturday 13 February – 8pm
    Sunday 14 February – 4pm

    All tickets are $25.

    $35 with wine tasting (available Friday-Sunday. Arrive an hour before the show. )

  • Inspired by Wine and Oh So Captivating 

    Reviewed by Dr Linda Ashley, 30 Oct 2015

    Top notes of the aromatics of the wine world are what the audience first encounter as they enter the Pacific Crystal Palace. Most of the audience are already doing a tasting of the real thing before the show begins. There is something simply organic about Copland’s choice of choreographic inspiration and the small, intimate space of a Spiegeltent delivers just the right wine bar ambience.

    As the co-creator dancers begin a young Spring shoot of the vine takes centre stage (Sarah Gatzonis). Wild, untamed, rambling, twining but then the viticularist (Michael Gudgeon) takes things in hand, binding the ‘naked grape’ onto the trellis. It is one of many inspired moments that illustrate Copland’s and the dancers’ sharp physical and intellectual imaginations. There are many such fleeting moments, including a cinnamon quill-smoking, aloof femme of French film noir, precarious romantic liaisons balancing atop of wine barrels, and a progressive folk dance where the barriques take centre stage. Who knew wine barrels could be so many different things?  They even appear as thrones of power as we witness the rise and fall of the Roman Empire – well or any despot dictator through time. Also, if anyone had told me that I would see a successful dance expressing the less than pleasant after effects of drinking far, far too much – and enjoy it, I would never have believed them! The duet (Gatzonis and Emma Copperfield) clearly shows how Copland works with her dancers’ strengths, in this instance, restrained humour, acting and stunning physical strength and control.

    We understand, thanks to Copland’s imagination, the power that a glass of wine can hold. At one point the ever-sharp Tristan Carter, clearly nectar-fuelled, circulates, whispering sweet nothings in our ears, tempting us with fragrant futures. Indeed, throughout the audience are gently led into playing many roles in the show. Some of us are fed and treated to a drink, others become haplessly entrapped in the middle of a war in which imaginary missiles are thrown over their heads. Copland is inclusive in ways that many fail to reach; another characteristic feature that is so Copland and captivating.

    We are treated to layer upon layer of Bacchinale music, percussion and rhythmic playfulness by the musicians (Carter and Davenport), the dancers (Gudgeon, Gatzonis, Coppersmith) and, happy to do so, we lend a hand as well. The performers’ work rate is simply staggering and the show so engaging that the hour just flies by. I notice that at the picture perfect end the performers led off in direction of the bar. They deserve a drink.

    “In full light, surrounded on all sides, they cavort and sweep, the audience’s faces alight with pleasure, concern, regret, tension, understanding-  utterly enthralled with the mime and explosion of emotions in front of them.” – Janet Whittington reviews The Wine Project at the Nelson Arts Festival for Theatreview, 2015

    “We are treated to layer upon layer of Bacchinale music, percussion and rhythmic playfulness by the musicians (Carter and Davenport), the dancers (Gudgeon, Gatzonis, Coppersmith) and, happy to do so, we lend a hand as well.” Dr Linda Ashley reviews The Wine Project at the Tauranga Arts Festival for Theatreview, 2015

  • Choreographer – Sacha Copland
    Composers – Tristan Carter and Charley Davenport
    Designer – Meggan Rollandi

    Cast and Creators:
    Sarah Gatzonis
    Michael Gudgeon
    Emma Coppersmith
    Tristan Carter
    Charley Davenport


    Sacha Copland – Artistic Director

    Artistic Director and founder of Java Dance Company in 2003, Sacha has since choreographed and produced 16 full length dance theatre works, garnering critical acclaim and international tours. Sacha has fulfilled commissions for Dance4 in Nottingham UK, Wellington Orchestra, NZ School of Dance, Capital E Arts Festival (2007, 2009, 2013, 2015) STAB (RISE 2011) and STABLAB (2014). As a 2002 Graduate of the NZ School of Dance, Sacha received a Distinguished Graduate award in 2012.

    Since choreographing Back of the Bus’ in 2008, Sacha has produced and performed 18 seasons in NZ, Australia and the UK. Sacha regularly choreographs Circa Theatre’s Pantomime.

    Charley Davenport – Musician and Composer

    Charley Davenport is a classically-trained freelance cellist based in Wellington, NZ. Originally from Illinois in the US, Charley relocated to Wellington in 2002 for postgraduate studies at Victoria University, completing a Bachelor of Music (Honours), Postgraduate Diploma of Music, and Master of Music in Musicology (with Distinction) in 2005.  Charley features on numerous recordings for bands and film soundtracks and notably for Gareth Farr’s soundtrack in The Conch’s production Masi. Charley regularly performs with The Troubles jazz band, SMP Ensemble, Grayson Gilmour, Nikita Tu-Bryant and Sky Village and has toured with Chamber Music New Zealand.  In theatre, Charley has performed in Gareth Farr’s musical The Nero Show at Circa and critically-acclaimed children’s opera Kia Ora Khalid. Charley began working with Java Dance Company’s in 2011.

    Tristan Carter – Musician and Composer

    Tristan Carter is an active composer, session musician and member of ensembles such as The Troubles, Nikita and the Spooky, Bazurka and local Javanese and Balinese gamelan orchestras Padhang Moncar and Taniwha Jaya. He holds a Masters degree in Composition and a degree in Performance Violin from Te Koki New Zealand School of Music, Victoria University. Tristan’s interest in cross-cultural collaboration has taken him to Indonesia to study Central Javanese traditions, Amsterdam to collaborate with musicians of the Atlas Ensemble, and to Bangalore, India to study Carnatic violin technique and collaborate with local musicians. Tristan joined Java Dance Company in 2014.

    Meg Rollandi – Production Designer

    Meg Rollandi is an award winning artist and designer. In 2014 Meg designed and co-directed (with Uther Dean) the multi award nominated STAB commission WATCH. She was awarded the Weta Workshop Award for Set Designer of the Year for WATCH at the Chapman Tripp Theatre Awards. Career highlights include design for Joseph K with My Accomplice (Chapman Tripp nomination for set design) and works in The Performance Arcade 2012-14. Meg teaches Spatial Design at Massey University. Meg has been designing for Java Dance Company since 2011. In 2015 Meg presented her work in the New Zealand National Exhibit at the Prague Quadrennial of Performance Design and Space.

    Emma Coppersmith – Dancer

    Emma has been working with Java since 2013. She graduated from the New Zealand School of Dance, in 2010 with a Diploma in Dance Performance. Upon graduating she began freelancing in Wellington, working on film, photography and movement projects, including Wetas’ ‘Project Born’. Emma has continued to work with Richard Taylor and Javier Murcia at Weta as a model for sculpting. Emma has performed in the World of Wearable Art Awards Show (WOW), modelling and dancing in 2011-14, including the Hong Kong season. Recently Emma worked on Bipeds’ ‘Lung Tree’ and Muted Crane Productions’, ‘The ‘I’ Test’.

    Sarah Gatzonis – Dancer

    Originally from Melbourne, Sarah began dancing at the age of 3. In 2013 she graduated from the New Zealand School of Dance as a contemporary major. While training she performed works by Antony Hamilton, Rafael Bonachela, Elie Tass, Claire O’Neil, Ivica Novakovic and Garry Stewart. She also choreographed Teeter for the school’s choreographic season And Then It Moved, which she performed in Wellington, Body Festival in Christchurch and Tempo Festival in Auckland. After graduating she performed in Straight Laced by Craig Bary with Footnote NZ Dance ChoreoCo. Sarah joined Java Dance Company in 2014.

    Michael Gudgeon – Dancer

    Michael graduated from the New Zealand School of Dance in 2013. Whilst there he worked with choreographers Craig Bary, Claire O’Neil, Michael Parmenter, Neil Ieremia, Antony Hamilton and choreographed Reality Cheque in the 2013 Choreographic Season. Since graduatinghe has performed for Byron Ballet Company and Footnote Dance ChoreoCo in Straight Laced. Michael seconded to Java Dance Company for the development and premiere season of Down Beneath Below before joining the company as a core dancer in 2014. He is currently assisting with rehearsal direction of Sylvain Emard’s Le Grand Continental part of the 2016 New Zealand International Arts Festival.

Sacha Copland Headshot Export photo by Tom Hoyle - web

Founded in 2003 by artistic director Sacha Copland, Java has created 16 new works, performing to over 80,000 people in NZ, Australia and the UK. In 2014 Java’s Back of the Bus sold out 37 shows at the Edinburgh Fringe, the world’s largest arts festival, attracting critical acclaim, and has since returned to the UK, for its 17th season. In 2015 Java premiered The Wine Project (part 2 in The Civilisation Series) and Dirt and Other Delicious Ingredients, touring Nelson, Tauranga, Hawkes Bay and Perth throughout 2015. “I love communicating and I love dance. I am inspired to tell stories using dance, live music and theatre.” - Sacha Copland
Sacha Copland, Artistic Director

2016 is an exciting time in the development of Java Dance

Following Java’s success at the 2014 Edinburgh Fringe with Back of the Bus (37 shows sold out in advance, and 4 & 5 star reviews), a United Kingdom tour in July 2015, Australian touring in 2012, 2013 and 2015, and critically acclaimed national tour of The Wine Project and Dirt in 2015, Java is touring The Wine Project  to the Edinburgh Fringe in 2016).

The Wine Project has been developed with the support of the New Zealand France Friendship Fund. In 2014, Artistic Director Sacha Copland undertook a choreographic residency to develop The Wine Project in Noyers-Sur-Serein, Burgundy France and worked with a Parisien musician for the development showing.

Looking under the barrel Sacha Copland Photo by Emma Helllowell web

Looking under the barrel. Sacha Copland in Noyers-Sur-Serein, Burgundy France. Photo by Emma Hellowell.

The Wine Project premiered in 2015 at the Festival of Colour in Wanaka, and has since been programmed by Arts festivals throughout NZ, including the Southland Arts Festival, Nelson Arts Festival, Tauranga Arts Festival and the Hawkes Bay Arts Festival in 2015. The Wine Project will be performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August (with support from a Creative NZ Arts Grant) and the Dunedin Arts Festival in October 2016.

“Best show we’ve seen in years in UK or NZ” – audience feedback at the Festival of Colour.