21 Sep 2016
Since 2009 the Pacific Dance Choreographic Laboratory has produced three original choreographic works from three up-and-coming Pacific choreographers. The dance labs have been funded by Creative New Zealand over the years to support Pacific choreographers.
Now in its eighth year, the lab is a major platform for Pacific choreographic artists to explore, devise and perform their works.
Although the ‘lab’ is focused on the development of choreographers over the years it has also been a stage for dancers to hone their craft as the vehicles of the selected choreographers ideas and expressions.
Some past choreographers included Tupua Tigafua, Justin Haiu, Jahra Wasasala, Nita Latu, Ojeya Cruz Banks and Charlene Tedrow.
The lab has been based in Auckland since 2009 but for the first time will set sail in Wellington, Aotearoa. The showing of works from the lab will be held at Whitireia Community Polytechnic Performance Centre on Saturday 5th November at 4.30pm.
"Although we've had participants from outside Auckland in the past, we have always wanted to take it to new audiences and participants beyond its Auckland base where it has successfully showcased some of Aotearoa's best and brightest dance talent over the last eight years," says Pacific Dance New Zealand director Sefa Enari.
This year's selected choreographers are:
Filoi Vaila'au (Wellington)
Joash Fahitua (Auckland)
Selina Alefosio (Wellington)
Vaila’au has a strong siva Samoa background as a children’s dance tutor while she has also performed as a dancer in a number of shows, The White Guitar and Fatu na Toto, to name two. It was her recent performance in the Wellington season of The White Guitar, which re-sparked Vaila’au’s passion for performance and the reason she says she applied to the Lab to devise her work.
Vaila’au’s piece for the lab is called - 'i'e Toga: A Samoan Women's Legacy' - which explores the movements and actions of the women who present Samoan fine mats (i'e toga) at events and ceremonies. Using siva Samoa as a dance form, Vaila'au explores the themes of 'respect, 'power' and 'honour' and the role of these women (usually older and holding special position) in these ceremonies.
‘Muamua’ meaning FIRST, is an introduction piece by Joash Fahitua a former Black Grace Dancer, taking his first steps in a role as a choreographer. Performed by Leighton Rangi (Bachelors Degree in Dance at University of Auckland, Identity dance Crew) and Kaya Campi (Bachelor in Dance Studies and currently completing her Masters year at the University of Auckland).
The music is by Christopher Toma Amosa (Music Director: David Dallas and the Day Light Robbery, has worked for Che fu, Home brew, Fire & Ice and multiple of other NZ artists.)
This work fuses contemporary dance and krump, a street style of movement, and the ideas expressed include the idea of new life, a new beginning, a journey, the end of one and the start of another, merging the old with the new.
Fahitua has drawn on aspects of his cultural heritage, practices and stories passed down by family as well as his own experiences as a New Zealand born, Samoan dancer.
“O lau tala Muamua lea na tusia” -this is my first story written.
Alefosio has been the artistic director of 'O Mata Dance Group' (Tokelauan dance) for the past ten years. She has worked within the Lower Hutt community for a number of years as an arts manager as well as tutoring local high school cultural groups. Selina is a graduate of Whitireia Performing Arts and says she is very excited to be working through the process of this piece from beginning to end with a talented group of young women.
Her work 'Whatupaepae' explores the ideas around the concept of whatupaepae, which is described as women who share out food gathered by men in traditional Tokelauan culture. Alefosio explores the role of these women (as much more than described), taken from the inspiration of three generations of her own family as a NZ born Tokelauan. This for her is a celebration of these wonderful women who have inspired her to connect with her Tokelauan roots and carry on their traditions within Aotearoa.
The choreographers and their dancers will receive mentoring and support from Pacific Dance NZ during the development of their works.
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