Catherine Chappell


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I’ve always been somehow in motion

In this episode dancer, choreographer and educator Catherine Chappell is interviewed by Raewyn Whyte. We are given an insight into an over-25 year long career marked by tenacity, vision, and a huge dollop of inclusiveness and heart.

Catherine’s passion for her artform has seen her work as a full time dancer in New Zealand, Italy and Germany. In the latter she performed under a dancer who trained with world renown contemporary choreographer Pina Bausch. In New Zealand Catherine has taught at UNITEC, School of Performing & Screen Arts, has been a guest tutor at the New Zealand School of Dance and the University of Otago School of Physical Education. Alongside this she has produced multiple, successful performances around New Zealand and Europe. Most recently Catherine has been awarded a Creative New Zealand Choreographic Fellowship to research aerial bungee dance and combine this with contact improvisation. This accolade has previously been granted to the likes of Douglas Wright (2005), Michael Parmenter (2006) and Lemi Ponifasio (2008).

In this episode Catherine chats about how her background in touch improvisation led her to create and direct the now highly successful mixed-ability dance troupe “Touch Compass.” Their work, which has appeared throughout New Zealand, and Europe has managed to astound audiences by accomplishing what many would have deemed nearly impossible: making dancers out of those with disabilities.

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