about movement art practice

a place for people with a passion for contemporary movement

MAP supports the growth and development of contemporary movement through classes, residencies and performance events in Ōtautahi Christchurch, New Zealand. MAP’s programs exist to nurture movement artists, develop informed and engaged audiences and the art form itself.


Uncompromising in our commitment to excellence, professionalism and rigorous artistic inquiry.


We celebrate the ability of contemporary movement to offer informing and enduring experiences.


A flexible and informed organisation that calls for a shift in cultural perspective with movement at the heart.

our mission.

to nurture the study of movement from a contemporary dance perspective by:

Providing support for professional choreographic movement research through residencies, classes and workshops.

Fostering a stimulating environment that encourages a growing culture of experimentation, dialogue and risk.

Creating opportunities for dance artists to engage with a wider dance community and audience.

MAP is a social enterprise with charitable status governed by a board of directors. We exist to build and strengthen a community for contemporary movement artists in Ōtautahi Christchurch through all that we do. If you would like to become a MAP patron,  email us at info@movementartpractice.org.

All donations go directly towards our running costs as a non-profit arts organisation, or supporting the community through one of the following programmes:

  • Research Exchange Artist Residencies
  • MAP Weekly Community Classes
  • MAP Movement Labs
  • Ōtautahi Tiny Performance Festival

our people.

philippa cosgrove.


Philippa graduated from Unitec Institute of Technology in 1993 with a Diploma in Contemporary Dance after which she danced primarily for choreographer Sean Curham.  More recently she has performed in a number of works, both self devised and for other choreographers in Christchurch.  

She has recently trained as a Stotts Pilates teacher and has a background in a number of movement modalities.  She  is passionate above the benefits that dance can bring for both the body and brain.

aleasha seaward.


Aleasha Seaward, Christchurch based Freelance Contemporary Dancer, Teacher and Choreographer. Aleasha originally trained under the direction of the late Sheryl Robinson, continuing on to complete her three year Bachelor of Dance Performance at the Adelaide College of the Arts majoring in Contemporary Dance.
Aleasha has worked for a number of Nationally recognised artists and Companies such as Southern Lights Dance Company, Jolt Dance Company, Jolt Interactive, Oncunscious Dance Corp, Julia Harvey, Julia Mckerrow and Fleur de Their. Aleasha has also danced for International Choreographers such as Leigh Warren, Riki Von Falken, and Alex Rigg.

josie archer.


Josie Archer is a New Zealand choreographer and dancer. Her work ‘Dance Danced Dancing’ in collaboration with partner Kosta Bogievski was awarded best dance in the Auckland Fringe Festival 2018. Her solo work ‘Josie’s Solo’ won the award in 2017. ‘Josie and Kosta’s Dance Show’, also in collaboration with Bogoievski has been performed throughout New Zealand (Tempo Dance Festival 2016), San Fransisco, and Seoul (Asia Tri New Wave Festival 2016).

Josie has been an artist in residence at SpaceVac in Seoul, South Korea, Healing Hills Art collective in Morni Hills, India and The Physics Room, Christchurch, NZ. As a dancer Josie has worked most recently with Olive Bieringa on her works ‘The Felt Room’ (The Performance Arcade) and ‘Walk with me’ (Toi Art, Te Papa). In New Zealand she has worked with Michael Paramenter ‘Insolent River a Tango’, Zahra Killeen Chance ‘A Figure Exhales’, and Claire O'Neil ‘ExtraOrdinary Folk’ and internationally with Jennifer Lacey and Wally Cardona, 'The Set Up' (2016 and 2017), New York and Christine Bonansea, 'Only Human', Berlin (2017).

julia mckerrow.


Julia has danced and choreographed for New Zealand’s leading dance festivals including The Christchurch and Otago Arts Festivals, The Body and Tempo. She was awarded ‘Best Dance’ at the Wellington Fringe for her dance work MOTH. Julia has worked for Footnote Dance Company, Michael Parmenter, Fleur De Their, Body Cartography, Southern Lights Dance Co, Rebound Dance Co, The Unity Creative, Jolt Integrative Dance and Epic Entertainment.
She has undertaken professional development internationally at the Melt summer intensive in New York under dance artist Vicky Shick and with Australian based choreographers Madeleine Krenek and Sarah Elsworth. Locally Julia continues to investigate her interests and those of others through Movement Art Practice.

virginia kennard.

tutor & director

Virginia Kennard is a movement practitioner and live artist from Te Whanganui-a-Tara, and trained in commercial and contemporary dance at the Wellington Performing Arts Centre (now Whitireia Performance Centre) and UNITEC. She holds a Master of Arts Performance from Leeds Beckett University, UK, and creates feminist performance live art works within a queer framework.

Virginia is excited to join the Board of MAP, to hone her accounting and producer skills whilst learning new skills in governance and strategic planning. She has experience working for a number of NGOs in an administrative and financial capacity, and is privileged to be part of nurturing the MAP community from a board level.

julia harvie.

artistic director

Julia co-founded MAP in 2013 and remains the driving force behind the organisation. Julia is a dance practitioner first and foremost but has a keen desire to support and facilitate the growth of dance beyond the the theatre experience. Julia was born and raised in Christchurch and graduated from UNITEC (BPSA) in 2003.

She has carved out a career with a national reputation as an independent dancer, choreographer and teacher. She has created and worked on a diverse range of projects from choreographing an avant garde opera (Oresteia by Xenakis at the Christchurch Arts Festival, 2017) to building a nest for six hours during FESTA (Nesticity, Festival of Transitional Architecture, 2016). She is driven to make work that can both challenge and profoundly connect with her audiences.

jess rodda.


Jess has a background in the non-profit and arts sector both within New Zealand and internationally, with experience in classical performance, marketing, fundraising and arts management. Jess is a recent transplant to Christchurch, in addition to being a new member of the MAP board, and relishes the opportunity to be involved with the organisation during this time of transition.

stephen lewis.


Stephen has a strong background in governance roles spanning the commercial, social NGO and arts sectors. For 6 years he was a trustee and Chair of Dance and Physical Theatre Trust (DaPhT); probably best known for the Christchurch Body Festival and Dancing Like the Stars. He has previously held senior management roles in the UK, USA, South America and Australia.

Literally our ‘odd man out’ at the Board table, not an artist, choreographer or performer but from a background in engineering: although he would claim practical engineering is more art than science. Stephen’s contribution and leadership at the Board table ensures that as well as being a leading creative and innovative dance organisation, MAP is also an organisation built on strong governance foundations.

naomi van den broek.


Naomi strongly believes in the kaupapa of MAP and the way that it engages with its constituents. Naomi manages the University of Canterbury’s campus in the Arts Centre of Christchurch.

Under the name ‘Naomi Ferguson’, has worked as a singer, recording artist, pianist, songwriter, actor and educator in a career spanning over twenty years. While she has worked in a number of performative settings and styles, Naomi finds greatest artistic satisfaction working on projects where music and theatre intersect in intimate live performance settings.

Fleur de Thier.


Fleur is a Christchurch based artist who has been working in the dance industry for the last 27 years. She trained for three years full time at Auckland Performing Arts School (now Unitec) graduating in 1991.  Fleur worked as a freelance dancer in Auckland before returning to base herself in Christchurch.

Fleur is an established New Zealand choreographer and has had works featured nationally in Arts Festivals throughout the last decade and  is known for her diversity and connections with many different companies including Jolt Dance Theatre, Rebound, Southern Lights Dance Company ,Unitec, Footnote and Lyttelton Arts Factory.  Fleur is currently artistic advisor and choreographer for Hagley Dance company.

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