29 Nov 2018
Artform: Dance, Ngā Toi Māori
Location: Kerikeri, Kaikohe, Auckland, Te Kuiti, Hastings, Waiouru, Wellington
Funding: Arts Grants, $55,000
Dancer and choreographer Rodney Bell has toured his award-winning solo work Meremere around Aotearoa, including several performances in prisons. Rodney worked in collaboration with Malia Johnston of Movement of the Human (MOTH) to develop the autobiographical work which is a response to recent events in his life.
Rodney has returned to New Zealand after moving to the United States to dance with Axis Dance Company. The end of his contract left him with few savings and no way to return home, and he spent several years homeless in San Francisco before saving enough for a flight home.
Rodney won the 2017 Arts Access Artistic Achievement Award, and the 2016 Attitude Artistic Achievement Award for Meremere. “Dance is mauri for me, you know, it’s just part of my breath and I felt like especially now – looking back at my dance journey – it’s helped me in lots of ways,” he said.
In 2018 Rodney’s latest work HuriHuri debuted at the Commonwealth Games Arts Festival. HuriHuri combines skateboarders, kapa haka, and poi dancers with live music comprising drums, electronic loops and taonga pūoro.