13 September 2011 / The Body Festival

By: The Body Festival  05-Apr-2012

A Flipping Good Start to Christchurch Rugby Celebrations

They flipped, drummed, danced, sang and partied their way through Hagley Park on Saturday evening to celebrate the first World Cup match that would have been held in the city, if it had not been for the earthquakes. 

An enthusiastic crowd of hundreds took full advantage of the multi-arts offering on Saturday night to welcome in the Argentinean and English rugby match.  Garden Variety, a two-hour visual spectacular brought together dance, music in many forms, street theatre, aerial acrobatics and much more – all wrapped to celebrate rugby through the arts.

The event, one of seven to be held before the key cup matches, is an adaption of what was planned for Rugby Road, leading fans from the city centre to the stadium.

Acrobats dressed as rugby players flipped from a container as they captured the energy, passion and enthusiasm for the game, the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra floated across the lake while a popular Christchurch band belted out tunes. Roving entertainment surprised the crowds as they moved around the park, while dancers intrigued and aerial artists fell from trees. To celebrate the cultures of both teams about to take to the rugby field – Morris dancers challenged the Tango to a dance-off on the Speed Dancing Stage – unexpectedly and to the delight of the crowd, everyone participated.

When all RWC games were removed from Christchurch, the Body Festival moved the planned Rugby Road celebrations  to Hagley Park.  Festival director, Adam Hayward says the determination of all involved to recognise and celebrate the Cup matches that would have been in our city, was evident from the crowds on Saturday.

“Earthquakes will not take this from us. Garden Variety is a multi-media show celebrating the collaboration of a variety of art forms coming together to showcase the individuality of their talents to create a collective masterpiece. It’s great to be able to use sport to leverage and present culture, dance and arts. This event really brings its very own Canterbury flavour to the cup matches and is a not-to–be missed event for the whole family.”

Garden Variety is also part of the Real New Zealand Festival and is expected to be a highlight of both the local world cup celebrations and the Body Festival as a whole.

More people dance in New Zealand on a weekly basis, than play Rugby and Netball combined. This was highlighted in 2006 when the TV audience for the Super 12 final between the Hurricanes and the Crusaders was around 400,000. The TV audience that same night for the final of Dancing With the Stars was 1,200,000.

Garden Variety

Fri September 16th 5.30pm - 7.30pm

Sat September 24th 6.00pm - 8.00pm

Sun October 2nd 1.00pm - 3.00pm

Sun October 9th 1.00pm - 3.00pm

Sun October 16th 3.00pm - 5.00pm

Sun October 23rd 3.00pm - 5.00pm

Garden Variety Lineup

  • The CHART Live Music Stage starts of the festivities with a selection of homegrown talent creating an exciting mix of up and coming talent along with some of the city's established and well known bands. The stage features live sets from the UCSA Battle Of The Bands winner Von Voin Strum, the RDU RoundUp winners Von Klap, acoustic goodness of Nadia Reid, one man band Stomping Nick and his Blues Grenade, the chart-topping Dukes and many more.
  • Try some Speed-Dancing! Find your dream dance on stage, flirt with several styles of dance in just 20 minutes - think speed dating with dance. You can learn basic steps of anything from Cha-cha to Cheerleading, Bollywood to Bachata. You never know, your feet might find their sole-mate!
  • Pandemonium will perform "Munted Drums", a collection of their favourite world music compositions but with a Pandemonium twist. Recently 'munted' instruments will be used as well as Pandemonium's collection of 'found' instruments from Christchurch's history. Any aftershocks will be seamlessly incorporated into the performance.
  • Crazy Crash Pad Rugby – Watch us catch the ball, crash about and demonstrate our frantic antics on tramps. We will be off the pitch, off the wall but not offbeat with jazz to match our agility and skill as we manoeuvre that elusive ball.
  • Aquatic themed music will be performed from members of the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and Southern Opera. As if suspended on the pond’s surface, ensembles of strings, woodwind, brass, vocal and piano will perform a selection of fun and familiar music.
  • The Paul Kelly Motor Company Dancers will get some All Black cheers and dance routines going as they lead the crowds through into the Fanzone to cheer our team.

This is all stitched together with roving characters/ MC characters from:

  • Chant et Danse - fishing Gnomes off lake piers, over the top Dressed Hunters with cork pop guns hunting for ducks?1950's Style High Tea Characters roaming around Food stalls intermingling and having fun with the spectators, roaming lost children with prams and dolls, etc.
  • Court Jesters - One-eyed Cantabrians, Flossy and Flo from the green fingered gardening society, the Bingo Betty’s, and a mixture of historical Canterbury figures quoting facts about Canterbury.
  • Tablo – The National Theatre Company of New Zealand with roving mask and puppet characters to move the crowd along and provide points of calm in the craziness of the garden!

Further Information:

Adam Hayward

Body Festival Director

021 230 9029

Karen Hamilton – 360 Degree Events 

Project Manager

 021 967 159           

Media Enquiries:

Sandy Galland

027 479 3205

Contact The Body Festival


Print this page

Other news and updates from The Body Festival


6 September 2011 / The Body Festival

Chant et Danse - fishing Gnomes off lake piers, over the top Dressed Hunters with cork pop guns hunting for ducks?1950's Style High Tea Characters roaming around Food stalls intermingling and having fun with the spectators, roaming lost children with prams and dolls, etc.