Choreographer/dancer/teacher Eliza Sanders is the co-artistic director of House of Sand with whom she has choreographed three ensemble dance works, created and performed two award winning contemporary performance solos: an improvised duet with musician Brendan Anderson, a 4hr improvisation gallery installation, a solo dance work in collaboration with designer Glenn Ashworth, and a 3hr performance art installation. She danced for 24 hours straight in all hOurs and performed in REVOLT. SHE SAID. REVOLT AGAIN.

Eliza has created numerous dance works for QL2 Dance, Footnote Dance Company - the second time in collaboration with James O’Hara and NZ School of Dance. Eliza has performed with Java Dance Theatre, The World of Wearable Art, Body Cartography, The Australian Dance Party, Battleground Productions and Little Dove Theatre Art. Eliza is a certified teacher of Countertechnique and Vinyasa Yoga and is a key artist on the Make a Move Education in Schools Program.

She currently lives in Wellington where she teaches for Human Dance, Footnote Dance, The New Zealand School of Dance and runs classes and workshops for House of Sand.


Name: House of Sand

My Role: Co-Artistic Director/ Choreographer

House of Sand is an independent contemporary performance company that seeks to bring global issues into the personal and local sphere through a deep exploration of the embodied human experience. The company was co-founded by siblings choreographer Eliza Sanders and theatre director Charley Sanders whose combined methodologies bring the idea of global/local citizenship deeply into the body and strikingly onto the stage. This results in a signature aesthetic: visceral, expressionistic, and often absurd. House of Sand works have a sense of being at once dance, theatre and design installation.

The company has strong networks in both Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia, working to create opportunities for intercultural exchange for both audiences and practitioners. Since forming in 2015 House of Sand has: provided work for over 75 artists; won multiple awards; generated $250K+ in economic value for artists and arts supply industries; performed for over 4,000 audience members; and collaborated with artists from New Zealand, Australia, US, England, Laos, Singapore, Canada, Turkey and Italy in the creation of 10 new performance works.

Iwi affiliation

I am a member of the Sanders/Logan family and the Allan/ Gunter Family. We are British descendants who have lived in Australia for around six generations on both sides. I am a proud member of my family and the generations before me that I have had the privilege of knowing who are compassionate, curious family orientated people. I am in the very beginning of discovering further back in my lineage and in the process of understanding what it is to be the descendant of (in almost all my known lineages) colonisers.


I grew up in Australia on Ngunnawal country in what is now sometimes referred to as the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). It is a beautiful wide and expansive valley surrounded by mountains.
When Australia was colonised the city was created to become the capitol so architecturally it is very tidy, orderly and designed with an abundance of roundabouts, wide roads (excellent for learning how to drive on) and streets with broad nature strips and tall trees lining the houses.
My heart has now firmly landed in Poneke, in the trees and beaches around Te Whanganui-a-Tara. When pandemics permit I travel very frequently between Australia and Aotearoa and am passionate to remain connected to both of my homelands.

How I got where I am today

My mum took me to ballet classes when I was five to keep me occupied, each week she bribed me to go with lollies. Then at the end of the year I performed in my very first concert and once I knew what it felt like to be on stage I was HOOKED!
Since then I have sought any opportunity to move, groove, share and express with my body that has come my way. Now, here I am, a dancer, a choreographer, a teacher and a maker! Living my dream doing what I love.
Currently I am most interested in how to facilitate nurturing spaces. I am curious about how we care for ourselves and each other and how we can communicate ethically, honestly and compassionately about our bodies, our emotions and our interactions.


Well, my sibling Charley is my best friend and business partner. They are my rock who I have shared the entire process of growing House of Sand with. They are my mentor, my best friend, my collaborator, my inspiration and my biggest champion.
Together we are lucky to come from a family of arts lovers, teachers and academics. Our sister Daisy is a dance maker in Perth who’s practise explores rest and respect, our father is a leading political scientist in his field working with aboriginal economic policy research and our mother is a primary school teacher who is dedicated to giving kids of all genders and background an equal start in life by teaching them to read and love reading!
Basically I am very proud of and grateful for my immediate clan! And that’s just the beginning of a huge network of amazing artists, teachers, explorers, movers and shares who I am lucky enough to share my life with.

Something cool

I have read two incredibly excellent books recently ‘The Body Keeps The Score’ by Bessel van der Kolk and ‘Vagina’ by Naomi Wolf.
They both explore how the body holds onto and processes trauma in different ways.
They confirm my belief that rhythms, expressive movement, human connection and sharing are powerful tools for healing, growth, recovery, joy and fulfilment.
They express many things I felt or knew intuitively through science, reason and carefully articulated arguments and have made me feel even more passionate that the arts is one of the most important industries in human existence and that our work is vital.
Very interesting, quite confronting at times and massively humbling books. I encourage you to read if you’ve not already devoured them.


Artform: Dance theatre

Development Status: In Development

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Triptych is a dance event experienced over one night comprising three 45minute immersive dance theatre works that explore the nature of parent/child relationships, overpopulation, memory and nurturing. The comprising works premiered at 2016-2018 NZ Fringe Festivals, between them winning numerous awards.
Triptych comprises:
Knitting While Sleeping (2016), 4 dancers + audience members:
16 people from the audience begin lying in rows at the dancers’ feet and are gently ushered to different positions in the space to become part of the mise-en-scene while simultaneously observing the dance from unusual perspectives (the rest of the audience observes). Knitting explores coming of age through a lens of young women without children.
Feet.us (2017), 2 dancers:
Staged within a complex maze of hanging opaque sheets that are manipulated by the dancers, the audience travels through a continually transforming space before being guided to their seats to witness an intimate evolving duo of the grotesque made beautiful. Feet.Us evokes both the beauty of the parent child relationship and the messiness and occasional horror of it.
Fear of Eggs (2018), 4 dancers + local independent or student dancers:
A high-spirited ensemble work incorporating projected footage from performers’ childhoods to become a playful meditation on how children play at adulthood.
Our dream behind creating three thematically-linked works was always to present them together as a triptych. We want to generate an integrated epic dance experience, and offer audiences a way to consider generational life cycles through experiencing interconnected works in close temporal proximity.

Creative Team and Crew

Triptych features a core ensemble of four female dancers, augmented by audience members (Knitting), and a mix of local independent dancers and dance students (Eggs).
Eliza Sanders - Choreographer, co-Artistic Director/ producer, Dancer (Feet.us),
Charley Sanders - Dramaturge, co-Artistic Director/ producer
Owen McCarthy - Performance Designer
Production Manager and Stage Manager - TBC*
Producer: TBC
Core dance cast x 4:
Sophie Gargan (Knitting, Feet.us, Fear of Eggs)
Ella Williams (Knitting, Fear of Eggs)
Laura Beanland-Stephens (Knitting, Fear of Eggs)
Christina Guieb (Knitting, Fear of Eggs, understudy for Eliza for Feet.us)
Between 6 - 16 additional students/local dancers to be brought in - there is flexibility with how many and the process for this.

Number of People in the Touring Party


Previous Seasons

The comprising works premiered at 2016-2018 NZ Fringe Festivals

Knitting While Sleeping - 2016 Bats Theatre
Feet.us 2017 - Tarrant Dance Studios
Fear of Eggs 2018 - Bats Theatre

Reviews and Quotes

‘This is the show for anyone who’s been too nervous to go to see modern dance. It offers a variety of audience experiences all of which give you a fascinating look at an emotional, impressively physical world.’ - Art Murmurs, 2016.

‘Anyone with an interest in modern dance should hustle on down to BATS theatre to catch this production. It's articulate, polished, thoughtful, often beautiful and always intriguing; challenging the imagination while pleasing the eye.’ - TheatreView 2018

‘Dancers alternately swirl and writhe through a dreamscape of delicate feathers...They create flurries of floating movement and show big, swirling patterns on the floor as the dancers push and slide through them.... As an audience member on the floor, I felt nurtured by the dancers.’ - Art Murmurs, 2016.

‘In a strange and exhilarating field of its own’ - Art Murmurs, 2017

‘There is sophistication in the thinking that underlies the creation of Fear of Eggs...To be adult, in relation to past-child-selves, creates an opening that is intriguing and satisfying to watch.’ - DANZ Magazine 2018

Technical Rider & International Touring Info (if applicable)

  • View/download document #1 here

all hOurs

Artform: Dance/music/ film

Development Status: Tour Ready

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all hOurs is a 24-hour performance event in public spaces uniting dance, contemporary music and video art. As the public comes and goes, three artists remain, continuously dancing, making music and filming/editing in real time.

At the top of the show the performance space is surrounded by 24 carefully placed blank screens. As the show progresses, edited footage of each hour is added, screen-by-screen, and an ever-expanding video art installation grows to fill the space, building anticipation for the work’s 24th hour.

all hOurs is a spectacle of stamina, a complex meditation on daily life cycles, and most importantly, a reminder that challenges cannot be overcome alone. The tremendous energetic feat of performing all hOurs is only possible because the three artists (dancer, musician and videographer) experience it together and with the audience; it is a celebration of the power of community to facilitate resilience, that takes place in real time.

The final 24-screen video art installation is a beautiful work of art in itself, expressing the power of the moving, resilient body and the lived experience of the space over 24hrs, from business people, late-night workers to families passing by. The screens can remain as a stand-alone digital art installation.

Creative Team and Crew

Dancer & Choreographer: Eliza Sanders
Dramaturge & Producer: Charley Sanders
Composer & Performer: Brendan Anderson
Video Artist: Jacob Edmonds

Number of People in the Touring Party


Previous Seasons

Sydney Fringe Festival - Commissioned work

Reviews and Quotes

“Eliza and Charley Sanders are important artists who give us an alternative view of the world”
Suzy Wrong, Suzy Goes See (Aus) & Auditorium (UK)

“At all hOurs I thought about time, the passing of it, human endurance, frivolity and beauty. It was a sweet meditation and welcome disruption in an unlikely place. I found myself marvelling at the beautiful digital installation, wishing I could stay for the whole 24 hours. I don't think there are word to describe the beauty of the end, it was like the human spirit made flesh”
— Erica Brennan, Audience Member, 2019.

As a participant and audience member I found all hOurs to be innovative, immersing and engaging on many levels both visually and experientially. I appreciated the sense of fun and absurdity the work created in the context of inhabiting a corporate office building foyer. It felt like a kind of radical dance activism - dancer ‘Occupy’ - but with permission.
Alana Yee, Guest Dance Artist and Audience Member, 2019

Technical Rider & International Touring Info (if applicable)

  • View/download document #1 here

The Performing Arts Network of New Zealand (PANNZ) Arts Market is New Zealand's premiere event for artists, producers, presenters and industry leaders from across the performing arts sector. 

Feb 22 2021 To Mar 05 2021