At this year’s 2024 Rise Up Gala, we welcome New Zealand’s multi award-winning disabled artist, Rodney Bell, and critically acclaimed choreographer, Chloe Loftus, to present The Air Between Us, an aerial event that captivates audiences. Spiraling into the air, this counterweighted duet is a celebration of equality and connection.
Touring internationally, and in their North American Premiere, The Air Between Us explores a meeting point; between two bodies in space, in perfect equilibrium, crossing boundaries of culture, with curiosity and play. Arriving at this place from diverse backgrounds and experiences, Chloe and Rodney explore our innate capacity to exist in symbiotic harmony. Like planets encircling around each other, magnetically pulled by each other’s energy, this is an inimitable and mesmerizing performance.
Italian born, NZ bred, Chloe Loftus emigrated to the UK in 1997 to nurture her passion for dance. Alongside working internationally as a freelance dancer, she founded Chloe Loftus Dance in 2005. Her work is routed in contemporary dance-theatre, specializing in outdoor performances, harness aerial dance, contact improvisation and Mass Movement Direction for large-scale events. Chloe was nominated for a Theatre Critics of Wales Award for Best Small Scale Dance Production and won Welsh Independent Dance’s ‘Dance Bytes’ choreographic competition. She has choreographed for Cultural Olympiad events, numerous music and arts festivals and collaborated with National Theatre Wales and the Welsh School of Architecture, receiving numerous Arts Council grants and commissions. Chloe returned to live in NZ in 2016 and has been Auckland Parks Artist in Residence 2017, gained funding for new works and commissions including a Touch Compass Dance creation. Her choreographic works tour extensively, and she is co-founder/director of Conscious Dance Aotearoa.
Rodney Bell, Ngāti Maniapoto, is a renowned dancer and performer. His artistic expression demonstrates elements of traditional Maori culture, and at the same time he’s continually seeking new ways to enhance his creative process.
Rodney received the 2017 Arts Access award for artistic achievement and the 2016 Attitude award for Artistic achievement both recognizing his most recent work MEREMERE which has toured NZ and Australia. His career has been exceptional, which was recognized in 2020 when he became the inaugural recipient of the Te WakaToi Te Tohu Iho Pūmanawa award for contribution of a Māori artist with the lived experience of disability.
Rodney has been dancing professionally since 1994 beginning as a founding member and now co-Artistic Director of Touch Compass Dance Trust, an internationally renowned physically integrated dance company based in Auckland, New Zealand.