Since her MA at Leeds Beckett 2016-2017, Virginia has been interested in writing as part of her performance practice: as research, as performance, as reflection, as exercise. Two of her postgraduate essays can be read on academia.edu.
Virginia is a dance reviewer on and off for New Zealand’s online review platform theatreview, largely between 2012 and 2013, as well as from 2022. She writes about dance, cabaret, and performance art. Responses to her reviews are mixed – from artists having temper tantrums, blocking her on all social media, to personal thanks over email and in depth interviews on air.
Her latest online review was for Daybreak Estate, an excerpt is published below.
Relentless Nihilist Optimism
Traipsing into the city feels hard in this omicron-y world, but *sigh* town in Christchurch on a Saturday night doesn’t look much different…nonetheless, deadly virus notwithstanding, i am pleased to have experienced this work, it warmed the cockles of my nihilist heart, plus the pink cutesy fierce femme aesthetic is this reviewer’s dream.
The early movement phrases feel like contemporary dance technique class-esque, but as the work develops these phrases become floppy and ironic and nihilistic, interspersed with unison pop dancing – the earnest-irony or ironic earnestness of the performers is a delight, with Liana Yew’s piercing gaze and champagne-popping entrances, and Liv McGregor’s too-cool-for-school stage presence, both well crafted use of these experienced dance humans. Terry Morrison and Sharvon Lewis emit shiny eager muted-exuberance that McCall has used wonderfully to offset the former.
Continue reading here.
For the Edinburgh Fringe Festival 2010 and 2011, Virginia was a reviewer for The Skinny‘s Fringe Festival dance publication The Shimmy Skinny, edited by Gareth K. Vile. Under her own name and the pseudonym Betty Lightbulb, Virginia reviewed over 25 performances, including Where did it all go right?, of which an excerpt is published below.
Audience interaction refreshingly brilliant
There’s a big distinction in attitude towards entertainment or art in the contemporary dance scene: either with self-proclaimed artistes refusing to pander to their audience, and grasping onto their integrity to make their envisioned work, or others chasing career longevity by ensuring their work has commercial appeal.
This either/or decision has been trampled by the wonder that is ponydance Theatre Company, an Irish-based ensemble presenting quirky and commercial yet brilliantly contemporary-minded choreography to this year’s Dance Base offerings. Being accessible has certainly not jeopardised the sheer freshness and cleverness of this work.
Continue reading here
Here is an excerpt of her review of Chimera by Sascha Perfect.
Haunting, Dark, Beauty
There is dark beauty in the haunting hybrid characters that Sascha Perfect inhabits in her movement and sound world Chimera, a work premiered at The Body Festival in Christchurch in 2010 and now continuing its development in Wellington, with its Wellington premiere originally programmed for the 2012 Dance Wellington Festival which was sadly cancelled..
A series of images that morph and travel: Sascha Perfect – woman; the dead body decomposing, doll-like; the crone, crumbling to become a bundle of rags; a pagan ritual participant, chanting; the accusing gaze of the maiden spinning her empty bird cage. Again: Chris Prosser – man; an eccentric at his desk, blindly and blithely swiping away the enemy and devouring flesh; a musical source, marking territory with violin twangs; a support to the woman yet existing in his own exclusive death ritual.
Continue reading here.