GASP! is a contemporary dance collective dedicated to community enrichment, unique performance, interdisciplinary collaboration and professional development. We are located in Dunedin, New Zealand.
Co-founders of GASP! Dance Collective:
Hahna Briggs, MDanceSt, is a Dunedin based dance practitioner currently choreographing with a collective of Queer artists on an interdisciplinary work for the Dunedin Pride Festival. She was the 2013 recipient of the Caroline Plummer Community Dance Fellowship, School of Physical Education, Sport and Exercise Science (University of Otago), and she co-teaches GASP!’s Able As Anything, Inclusive dance class with collective member, Jenny Newstead. Hahna and Jenny performed their duet, ‘From Conversation: Difference is Our Strength’ at the Undercover Artists Festival, Brisbane (2015). Hahna has presented choreographic works at the Dunedin Fringe Festival (2013 – 2016) winning Best Dance in 2016 for Solo Community and Best Outdoor Work in 2013 for Queer Deportment with Pretty Gay Productions. Hahna has presented choreographic works at the Dunedin Fringe Festival (2013 – 2015) winning Best Outdoor Work in 2013 for Queer Deportment with Pretty Gay Productions. In addition, she presented a choreographic work at The Body Festival, Christchurch (2014), and has danced for renowned New Zealand choreographers Louise Potiki Bryant (2014), Lyne Pringle (2011), Suzanne Cowan (2010) and Ojeya Cruz Banks (2008 – 2011). She has also performed with Weave Movement Theatre, Victoria, Australia (2012 season).
Miriam Marler, MDanceSt (distinction), BPSA (Contemp Dance), PGDip (Creative & Performing Arts), is a freelance dancer, choreographer and tutor who currently teaches Movement Education at the University of Otago and works as a Dance Studies research assistant. She has taught advanced and open-level contemporary technique classes, somatic-based improvisation, and Contact Improvisation for GASP! Dance Collective. Miriam has studied with Dairakudaka Butoh company (Tokyo), Min Tanaka (Japan), Ojeya Cruz Banks (Dunedin), Carol Brown (Auckland), Charles Koroneho (Auckland) among others. Recently, she has been expanding her choreographic and performance practice through collaboration with other artists and choreographing her own work. Highlights this year have have been performing Caroline Plummer Fellow, Louise Potiki Bryant’s work Whakaahua: Coming to Form for Waitangi Day at the Ngai Tahu Rock Art Centre (Timaru), performing Motoko Kikkawa’s body sheld at Blue Oyster art project space for iD2K16 (April), and collaborating with dance activist val smith in Duotones (July).
Jenny Newstead, MBE, is an integrated dance specialist based in Dunedin. She has taught at the University of Otago, and for GASP! Dance Collective’s integrated classes. She is a former New Zealand paralympic swimmer, winning a total of 10 Paralympic medals, including seven gold medals, and broke 37 world records in her career. She has worked with Hahna Briggs for around eight years on their collaborative choreographic research.