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A S  I T  S T A N D S 

As It Stands is a powerful new dance work from New Zealand dance visionary and recent Arts Laureate Ross McCormack and his company Muscle Mouth.

Influenced by the monumental creations of American sculptor Richard Serra, the show places eight world class dancers in a majestic sculptural landscape. Made up of formidable steel-like monoliths that tower upwards from the floor, the setting imposes a striking contrast between the order of design and the chaos of human nature, in an electric performance space where hard structural lines and fragile sinuous movement meet.

As it Stands mixes impressive scale, lighting, and soundscapes with McCormack’s renowned choreography into a remarkable work that pushes the limits of virtuosic dance and design.

Muscle Mouth prove yet again their ability to weave exquisite and visceral design elements together to appeal to the unspoken human nature with As It Stands.... By the end of the work, I leave feeling a lack of stability, feeling unknown, small, but also with a sense of wonder and appreciation that this unknowable, sometimes turbulent, world has made richer.

Theatreview, 2019

Enter this Wachowskian Eden—bursting with the contrasts of helium-headed, slack-jawed mobility and precision so indirect it wanders without wondering—and witness a chaotic experiment in three parts.

DANZ, 2019

...absorbing and choreographically cohesive dance work...marked by rich integration of design and dance, scenography and performance, with a sonically rich ambient soundscape.

NZ Herald, 2019

McCormack has created a beautiful dance work that is an exploration and presentation of what happens when man, nature, and industry collide.

Theatre Scenes, 2019

... exquisite and visceral design elements... appeal to the unspoken human nature... whimsical, bold, and inquisitive.

Theatreview, 2019

...a refined, sensory, and contemporary experience.

Theatreview, 2019

Jason Wright’s composition is confronting, scaling between shrill edges and a haunting tickle to over-stimulating bass that electrifies the movement and lends the set an imposing sense of authority.

Theatreview, 2019


Choreographer/Director/Set Designer Ross McCormack 
Sound Designer Jason Wright
Lighting Designer Natasha James
Dramaturg Melanie Hamilton

Technical Designer Isaac McCormick

Scenic Artist Owen McCarthy  

Dancer James Vu Anh Pham
Dancer Lauren Langlois
Dancer Tiana Lung
Dancer Toa Paranihi
Dancer Luke Hanna
Dancer Emily Adams
Dancer Jeremy Beck
Dancer Christina Guieb

Show Photography Michael Smith

Show Footage Archipelago

Promotional Photography Thievery Studio

Dancer James Vu Anh Pham

Dancer Tiana Lung

Dancer Luke Hanna

Dancer Jeremy Beck

Dancer Lauren Langlois

Dancer Toa Paranihi

Dancer Emily Adams

Dancer Christina Guieb

Muscle Mouth is one of New Zealand’s leading next generation dance companies.


Commentators consistently note the company’s fresh, visionary performances.

Artistic Director, Ross McCormack takes a visceral almost sculptural approach to creating movement, and the company powerfully integrates all aspects of performance design into their work.


Muscle Mouth’s four co-founders and designers (dance, sound, light, dramaturgy) joined for the company’s first commission Age, presented by 2014 New Zealand Festival.

Since then, Muscle Mouth has toured works throughout New Zealand, and to Hong Kong Arts Festival, Seoul International Dance Festival, M1 Contact Contemporary Dance Festival, Singapore,

and to BIDAM and APAM arts markets.

Natasha James 

Light Designer / Production Manager

Ross McCormack

Artistic Director / Choreographer


Jason Wright

Sound Designer

Melanie Hamilton

Dramaturg / Producer

Commisioned by

Supported by

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