Crows Feet patter

Thursday, 22 Mar 12 | Rachel McAlpine | View comments

I admit it: I am hooked on Secret Lives of Dancers. 

And the critics like it too.

"This show is addictive."

Haglund's Heel, 28 Feb 2012

"The main attraction this time is the arrival of ballet "rock star" Ethan Stiefel, star of the Centre Stage movies, as the Royal New Zealand Ballet's new artistic director, but his predecessor, the flamboyant Gary, is still hanging around, enlivening the atmosphere with his camp witticisms."

Nick Ward, Nelson Mail, 16 Feb 2012


"Talk about beyond the tights and tutus. [...] But what makes Secret Lives primetime-friendly is the combination of insight into the art of ballet, the candid look into the dancer's lives (from the dressing room to their living rooms), and then there's the juicy, often scandalous, stuff.

It's a little bit bitchy, a touch mean, and up front and honest like NZ's Next Top Model meets Fame, with a little bit of soap opera thrown in.

But most unique of all, it's a reality show about people who have true talent as opposed to wannabes."

Scott Kara, NZ Herald, 28 August 2010

Photo © Nelson Mail






Monday, 12 Mar 12 | Sally Latham | View comments

I feel like dancing and do dance in the presence of Sri YanchiGuruji and the Tushita community. Who wouldn’t want to dance when Guruji says things like ”Isn’t it wonderful to know that we are all completely okay!” He asks us regarding our moment to moment experience “Are we withholding our present bliss or not?”  So feeling my bliss and okayness I love to respond with the best of myself which includes dancing! And to dance with the joy that Jan encourages is a wonderful experience. Guruji and Crowsfeet, a powerful combination! Sri Yanchiji is on a speaking tour of NZ, to find out when he is speaking go to the website:




Tuesday, 6 Mar 12 | Elizabeth Isaacs | View comments

Thanks Linda for asking us to join in the Chinese New Year performance at the TSB Arena - it was a lot of fun and we had a great audience!

Here are a few photos, you can find the whole album on our facebook page - just click on the 'Crows Feet Dance Collective' icon on the right of this page and don't forget to 'like us'.






Monday, 6 Feb 12 | Elizabeth Isaacs | 1 comments | View comments

Jan Bolwell, Crows Feet's Director has a new play opening this week called 'Dancing in the Wake'.

The play tells the story of Lucia Joyce, daughter of James Joyce, who had a brief career as a dancer (the young Lucia is played by Sacha Copland of Java Dance Company).

You can read about the play and what inspires Jan in this Dominion Post article:

'Dancing in the Wake' is playing at the Museum Art Hotel (cnr. Cable & Tory Sts) from 9 - 12 February

Tickets are avaiable from:


Sunday, 5 Feb 12 | Rachel McAlpine | View comments


The hoops, ribbons and ball dances of Angle Poise will be revived next Sunday, 12 February, when we dance at the Chinese New Year celebrations.

Festival Day—Asian Market12.25 The Story of Lili

Our original narrative about aging Russian gymnasts has been transformed into a drama about Li Li and the Crows Feet Dance Collective.

We're going to have such fun first dancing, then watching as the Wellington Chinese Junior Gymnastic Group show everyone the authentic gymnast experience. This group of dances is so quaint that we somehow let ourselves go and (sorry about the pun) have a ball.

Do come and watch!


Sunday, 11 Dec 11 | Elizabeth Isaacs | View comments

Here are a few photos of our 'works in progress' that we danced for each other. Go to our facebook page to see some more!


Sunday, 11 Dec 11 | Rachel McAlpine | View comments

Today all four Crows Feet groups got together to strut our stuff in the Paekakariki Memorial Hall. Great to see what the other groups are doing! Elizabeth took photos to immortalize this (totally informal) event—see them soon.

Tuesday, 15 Nov 11 | Jan Bolwell | 14 comments | View comments

Rachel McAlpine, our most senior Crows Feet dancer, has written a saucy, delightful book 'Scarlet Heels' which is dedicated to the Crows Feet Dance Collective.


On Sunday November 27th at 3pm at St Peters Hall, Paekakariki, nine quaint and sexy stories from 'Scarlet Heels' will be read by Crows Feet director Jan Bolwell, and Paekakariki actors Perry Piercy and Vivien Bell with music by Gilbert Haisman. 


The stories are related by nine characters, aged between 16 and 76 years old, each of whom was transformed by a sexual episode. The women talk about events that happened to them yesterday or decades ago, in a wardrobe, paddock, garden, airport, bed or bath.


Wear your scarlet heels to the Paekakariki Hall for an afternoon of discreet entertainment. Five prizes of the book 'Scarlet Heels' will be awarded to the men and women judged to be wearing the craziest pairs of scarlet heels.

Rachel will introduce the reading.


Friday, 11 Nov 11 | Rachel McAlpine | 38 comments | View comments

Tuesday 22 November 2011, 5.15pm for a 5.45pm start

Rona Bailey Room, Te Whaea: National Dance & Drama Centre, 11 Hutchison Road, Newtown, Wellington

Entry by koha. Drinks and nibbles will be served.

Marianne Schultz, a PhD candidate and tutor in the History Department, University of Auckland, will talk about Rona Bailey as a member of the New Dance Group. The New Dance Group played a key role in pioneering modern dance in New Zealand in the 1940s.

Photos and excerpts from the documentary 'Dance of the Instant' (2008, director Shirley Horrocks) will be shown. The evening will also include a live performance by students from the New Zealand School of Dance in a short reconstruction of the 1945 New Dance Group work, 'Sabotage in a Factory'.

Sponsored by the Labour History Project

For further information please contact Hazel Armstrong at legal @


The New Zealand School of Dance graduation performance

Graduation performance follows the Rona Bailey Memorial Lecture at 7.30pm in the Te Whaea Theatre.



Sunday, 6 Nov 11 | Rachel McAlpine | View comments

Women's songs of the 1960s and 1970s. That's what our new show will be based on. We are starting with a powerful dance to Helen Reddy's 'Don't Mess with a Woman.' Watch out, here come the Crows! By the end of rehearsal we go into the night all fired up, mad, bad and dangerous to know. Seriously, there's nothing more satisfying than a mighty hip-high sideways kick at an imaginary opponent. Unfortunately it is difficult to photograph ourselves in mid-kick, but you'll get the idea from this shadow, I hope.

Tuesday, 30 Aug 11 | Rachel McAlpine | 1 comments | View comments

We've made our Facebook page and we're waiting enthusiastically for all our friends and enemies to show that they 'Like' us.

Facebook is the place where you can share your own experiences and ideas about dancing and being alive in your body no matter what age. By posting on our Wall, you can talk to each other instead of just to us. We would like that very much.


And by simply Liking us on Facebook, you can share pictures and news with all your own Facebook friends. We would like that too.


Crows Feet Dance Collective is just a little group, but we find that people all over the world can relate to what we are doing: dancing happily onwards into maturity, seniority and (one day) extreme old age.

Thursday, 4 Aug 11 | Elizabeth Isaacs | View comments





Big night last night, we had our dress/technical rehearsal at Whitireia Performance Centre. It is a new venue and rather different from the old Performing Arts Centre across the road where we used to perform - always a bit of a mental challenge getting your head around a new stage with different dimensions! I took a few snaps on the ipod not great quality I'm afraid but they do give a sense of the colour, movement and variety of the dances being performed in this show. The professional photographer, Penny Townes, who does all our publicity was there too so hopefully we will have some great photos to post soon. In the meanwhile ... here is a taster of our show that opens TONIGHT!


Wednesday, 3 Aug 11 | Elizabeth Isaacs | View comments

Todays Capital Times has an interview with Jo Thorpe, a Crows Feet dancer, talking about the new show - “what we can’t do with our own bodies we’ve got life size puppets doing  for us.”

Here is the link to the article:



Friday, 29 Jul 11 | Rachel McAlpine | View comments

Two larger-than-life puppets dance in Angle Poise. I keep forgetting their names and yet they are a big presence on the stage. Formidable. Enthusiastic. Dangerous, even.


Jennifer Holdaway created the puppets, and they supervise every rehearsal. We daren't make mistakes with them watching...


See them on 5, 6 or 7 August at Whitireia Performance Centre, Wellington. And you must clap. They don't like it when there's no applause, and you wouldn't want to offend these two, believe me.

Monday, 25 Jul 11 | Rachel McAlpine | 4 comments | View comments

Whitireia Performance Centre, WellingtonWhitireia Performance Centre is where we will be performing our new show, Angle Poise. Most of us have never been inside this building, and we're pretty excited. The stage has a sprung floor: perfect. The stage is large and T-shaped: another challenge. It sounds great, both for performers and the audience.

Speaking of which, come along, do!

25 Vivian Street, Wellington, is the address: between Tory Street and Cambridge Terrace. You can book online for free: when did you ever hear of such a thing?

Book online:

Or if you need to chat, then book by phone: (04) 238 6225. (There's a booking fee for phone bookings.) We recommend coming on Friday night, as part of an elite audience attending the world premiere of Angle Poise.

Old Ladies Dancing: what's difficult about that?  (A totally personal view.)



Thursday, 14 Jul 11 | Rachel McAlpine | 1 comments | View comments

A rehearsal in full swing sees half the Crows playing with plastic balls and the other half trying to control recalcitrant ribbons. It's very serious, of course, but also huge fun as we play around with ideas from the 1950s.

Someone (don't look at me) is sure to drop the props on the night. Even so, I'll stick my neck out and say the next Crows Feet performance will be our best ever. It's packed tight with new dances from the comic to the airy-fairy. And Sunny Amey will feed you running gags about Olga and Svetlana, the aging Russian gymnasts. It'll be fun all right.

See you at the Whitireia Performance Centre, Vivian Street, Wellington, on 5, 6, or 7 August. Our most devoted fans will attend all three.

Monday, 4 Jul 11 | Elizabeth Isaacs | View comments



Some of our performers have been trying on their costumes for the new show 'Angle Poise'. They are obviously feeling relaxed and performance ready!

Monday, 13 Jun 11 | Rachel McAlpine | 5 comments | View comments

 Emerging Artists Trust Wellington

Free free public forum is for everyone interested in the performing arts. It is a networking opportunity for producers and everyone in the theatre community. All welcome!

More information:

Sunday 3rd July 

1.00 – 5.00 and social hour until 6.00

Toi Whakaari NZ Drama School

11 Hutchison Road, Newtown, Wellington


There is no charge to attend but RSVPs are essential. 

To register

For more information contact Sally Thorburn 

(04) 801 6470 or 027 432 8935

Wednesday, 8 Jun 11 | Rachel McAlpine | View comments

Practising a tricky bit of Brahms.

The pressure is on now, but strangely the harder we work, the better it is for me—in some ways. Whatever you learn, you learn faster if you tackle it more than once a week. And from now on, we'll rehearse twice a week for our August show, Angle Poise.

In this photo, Jan is drilling us in a fancy, fiddly (and very pretty) section of one of the mini-dances we will do to Brahms waltzes.

Thursday, 26 May 11 | Rachel McAlpine | View comments

Russian Winter by Daphne KalotayI was swept away by this terrific novel about Bolshoi Ballet star Nina Revskaya, who defected to the West in 1952. The intensity of her life as a dancer is unforgettable. So is the human story and the mystery that pervades it. A professor who believes he may be Nina's illegitimate son prompts her to auction all her famous jewellery in self defence. Lies and betrayals were the norm in the Stalinist regime, and the resolution comes as a huge unforeseen relief.

Are all dancers readers? This is a brilliant novel, quite apart from its fascinating portrait of a prima ballerina from child trainee to elderly recluse.

Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay (HarperCollins, Random House Group)