Pacific Dance Festival promises cultural extravaganza

Staff Reporter 

The Pacific Dance Festival, which attracted thousands of people last year, returns with a more colourful and bigger programme this year.

Scheduled to be held at the Mangere Arts Centre in the South Auckland suburb of Mangere from June 15 to 24, 2017, the Festival has been inspired by the Pacific Dance Choreographic Laboratory.

The Festival will provide an opportunity for Pacific choreographers to create, develop, and perform original dance works in a celebration of Pacific cultures.

Embracing Contemporary Art

Pacific Dance New Zealand has taken this initiative to embrace contemporary Pacific dance in the most populous Polynesian city in the world.

Festival Director Iosefa Enari said that the Festival is New Zealand’s only contemporary Pacific dance festival of its type, showcasing most exciting contemporary Pacific dance choreographers.

“It is also a wonderful opportunity for audiences to familiarise themselves with the incredible diversity of performance out there. Pacific Dance New Zealand fosters and encourages the development of the Pacific dance sector of New Zealand. We are involved in running dance workshops, conferences, community and professional events promoting Pacific dance in New Zealand.”

The First Week

The first week of the festival will present Wahine Toa over two nights, a collection of four works by female choreographers in celebration of the strength and diversity of Pasifika women: Tai Akaki by Tepaeru–Ariki Lulu French, Ave by Ufitia Sagapolute, West Meet South by Losalia Milika Pusiaki, and Found Words by Julia Mage’au Gray.

The week will conclude with the debut performance of the highly anticipated Nu’u by Freshman’s Crew on Saturday June 17, 2017, fusing together Pacific, Maori, Urban and Contemporary dance styles in a story exploring three characters and their experiences growing up in New Zealand.

Nu’u will debut at the Pacific Dance Festival before travelling overseas, with interest from as far abroad as Hawaii, Los Angeles, and Utah already being expressed.

The Second Week

Week Two will feature the men of the programme in action, presenting Tamatoa and consisting of original works: ‘Muamua and Keeping the Faith’ by Joash Fahitua, Fa’aafa by Pati Tyrell, Mea Tau by Elijah Kennar, and Tu Move by the New Zealand School of Dance.

Closing the festival will be a huge double bill performance of Aumaga by Le Moana and Le Mau by Jasmine Leota, showing on June 23 and June 24, 2017.

In addition to the evening performances, the Festival will invite South Auckland schools to attend free matinees of four of the works, Tia, Keeping the Faith, Le au and Aumaga as part of their commitment to nurture and support the stories of young Pasifika people.

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