Choreolab

Pacific Dance New Zealand (PDNZ) was formed in 2010 and is located at 147 Great North Road, Grey Lynn in Auckland. It is a development organisation delivering a wide range of services for the Pacific dance sector of New Zealand. The organisation is governed by the Pacific Islands Dance Fono Trust.

The Choreographic Laboratory in previous years was held in conjunction with the Pacific Dance Fono.

2011 was the first year the Choreographic Lab was held as a separate event which saw a number of Pacific dance choreographers develop works over an intensive three week period. These selected choreographers benefit from the mentoring of an experienced choreographer/director who helps them through the stages of taking a dance work from conceptualisation to actuality (and into a theatre setting).

2013 was the fifth year of the Choreo Lab and this was celebrated with the show ‘Moana, a Pacific Dance Showcase’ which showcased works from the previous 3 years of the lab. This ran for a week season at TAPAC as part of the ‘Pacific As’ month of March.

Moana ran a second time in 2014 but in 2016 it was transformed into the Pacific Dance Festival and now held at the Mangere Arts Centre.

Watch a video of some photo highlights below.

Here’s some feedback from the Choreolab 2014 Showing – relaying some of the excitement and vibe from the audience

Check out some highlights of the Choreolab 2015

This year’s theme for the choreographic lab (and fono) is: How can we take traditional Pacific dance forms and open up the poetry of their content in a theatrical setting?

Pacific Dance New Zealand is proud to announce the three choreographic lab choreographers for this year (2010):

John Purcell Puleitu is a visual artist as well as the director of Ghost Street Urban Contemporary Dance Movement and winner of last year’s Most Innovative Choreography award at the Tempo New Zealand Festival of Dance Awards.

Charene Tedrow is the director and head choreographer of Ura Tabu Dance Company and has had a range of experience across the dance spectrum; including dancing in various music videos for Dawn Raid Entertainment, choreographing theatre productions and running dance workshops. She is a performing arts graduate from Auckland University with a major in dance and has been contributing to the Pacific Dance scene for a number of years.

Aruna Po-Ching has been a figure in Pacific theatre and dance circles for many years. She was part of the original Pacific Theatre Company, which was the breeding ground for many of today’s stella Pacific talent on screen and theatre. Since then, Aruna has had a number of theatrical, film, television and dance appearances. Today, she runs her own dance company (Pasifika Sway) and specializes in teaching and performing Hawaiian hula.

Through the choreographic lab, these talented Pacific choreographers will develop works around a conceptual theme culminating in a public performance at the newly opened Mangere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku at the end of the fono on the 30th October at 7:00pm – 8:30pm.

2010 Partners: Dance Aotearoa NZ (DANZ), Manukau City Council, Pacific Islands Dance Forum and Creative NZ

The 2011 Pacific Dance Choreographic Laboratory saw three choreographers of Pacific Island descent take on this three-week intensive lab to develop three distinct works.

To read a review of the lab showing go here.

The successful choreographers this year were:

Tepaeru-Ariki Lulu French (Cook Islands)

Sesilia Pusiaki Tatuila (Tonga)

Ojeya Cruz Banks (Guåhån/Guam)

The dancers who worked under our choreographers are:

Jeremiah Faitala, Otto Mataeo, Mele Taeiloa, Ailepata Lavea, Santana Schmidt, Lomina Araitia, Charlene Tedrow, Inna Schwalger, Suivai Autagavaia. 

The three emerging to mid-career choreographers had the opportunity to develop dance works over a three-week period between September 26th and October 14th. This culminated in a showing of work on Friday, October 14th at the Mangere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku.

The three successful choreographers had the opportunity to be mentored by well-known dancer and artistic director Neil Ieremia.

Neil has been at the forefront of Pacific contemporary dance since he established Black Grace in 1995.

He says he was “chuffed” to be involved and really looked forward to what the choreographers came up with.

Iosefa Enari, director of Pacific Dance New Zealand, says he is well pleased with the selection of this year’s choreographers and especially pleased to have Neil on board for this exciting laboratory.

The chosen choreographers come from a range of backgrounds and were selected by a committee of community representatives and project partners to undergo the laboratory.

Pacific Dance NZ’s dance development officer and laboratory project leader, Filoi Vaila’au, says the level of applicants this year was high but in the end the choreographers were chosen because they offered well thought-out proposals which also offered something different to past years of the lab.

Ojeya Cruz Banks is the most experienced of the three choreographers. She is of Guåhån (Guam/Chamorro) descent and is currently a lecturer and choreographer in dance studies at the University of Otago. Banks is an accomplished academic and dance researcher holding a PH.D from the University of Arizona and having published various pedagogy and dance themed works.

Ojeya’s piece is called ‘Espiritu Tasi‘ (‘the ocean within’ or ‘I respect water’ or ‘of water and spirit’). What she describes as “an ecological exploration of Guahan’s waters,”

Tepaeru-Ariki Lulu French is of Cook Islands descent, holds a masters of (medical) science and has been an instructor of Cook Islands dance in a number of dance groups, institutions and schools. In her youth she was junior dance champion in her home Island of Aitutaki and since moving to New Zealand has been part of a number of groups well known in New Zealand Polynesian dance circles – Ura Tabu, Pacific Expressions and the long standing group Anuanua Dance Troupe (of which she is still a member).

Lulu’s piece is called ‘Pacific Muse‘ which she says she wanted to “counter the all too simplistic and discursive representations of non-European cultures, and therefore the Western-colonial gaze.”

Sesilia Pusiaki Tatuila is the youngest of this year’s choreographers and comes from a family with a tradition of Tongan performing arts. She has been immersed in Tongan arts and dance since childhood and has had years of performing and tutoring Tongan dance. Her most recent performance experience has been in theatrical productions with PIPA (Pacific Institute of Performing Arts), LIMA Dance Theatre and the Kila Kokonut Krew.

Sesilia’s piece is called ‘Maile.‘ This work is an interpretation of an old Tongan poem and followed on from a tradition handed down within her family (the Lomipeau, who also sang during the performance).

The Pacific Dance Choreographic Laboratory 2011 was launched on Monday 26th September at Metro Theatre (East Mangere Hall) at 10am by local MP Su’a William Sio.

The lab culminated in a showing of works at the Mangere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu O Uenuku on Friday October 14th at 7pmwhich was closed again by local MP Su’a William Sio.

6th November 2012

The Pacific Dance Choreographic Laboratory 2012 –

Watch Nita Latu’s group perform on the GoodMorning Show (TVOne).

Saturday,10th November, 7pm

Mangere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu Uenuku

The Pacific Dance Choreographic Laboratory 2012 promises to showcase a broad slice of Auckland’s Pacific dance talent. Ranging from street and hip-hop to contemporary and classical Polynesian dance, the Pacific Dance Choreo Lab brings together talent from youth (Secondary) students, to Unitec Department of Performing and Screen Arts dance students, to more experienced professional dancers in a laboratory where experimentation is key.

This year, the fourth year of the Lab, 3 selected choreographers – Tupua Tigafua (Black Grace, Mau, New Zealand Dance Company), Nita Latu (3rd Year Bachelor of Dance Studies) and Dr Maile Giffin (Polynesian Entertainers) have embarked on a journey to discover and develop their various dance visions to create 3 very different and distinct dance works.

Tupua Tigafua (Samoan), coming from a contemporary dance background, has been working with four Unitec dance students to develop his work – ‘Shel We’. Although previously devised in ‘En Route’ earlier this year, Tupua wanted to develop this work into a larger piece. His inspiration comes from a book he found in his childhood, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (1964), who also wrote for ‘Sesame St’. Here, Tupua seeks to capture the humour and wit of Shel’s writing along with the simplicity of space shown in his drawings and to explore within this the Samoan concept of the ‘Va’ (the space between).

Nita Latu’s (Tongan) piece, ‘We are Who we Are’, on the other hand is firmly based in youth dance; street and hip-hop with elements of contemporary. Nita’s subject matter deals with the disturbing topic of youth suicide and she has worked with Secondary students in order to seek a ‘true’ expression of the feelings of this age group while seeking not only to address the issue but to find ways to give hope in a world sometimes seemingly overwhelming. This piece promises to be a hard-hitting account and expression of the urban youth experience today.

Dr Maile Giffin (Hawai’ian) has stuck to Hawaiian expression in her piece – ‘Changes of our Land’ in which she explores the changing face of Hawai’i from the 1700’s into the modern day tourist Mecca it has become. Maile has worked with more experienced dancers (who have not done Hawai’ian dance before) to create a piece showing off the range of Hawai’ian movement from Kahiko (ancient forms) to Auana (modern forms). This piece promises to tell a story, large in its scope but also intimate in its delivery.

This year’s laboratory was mentored by Iosefa Enari, director of Pacific Dance New Zealand and the former convener of the ‘Pacific Music and Dance’ programme at the University of Auckland. Iosefa has also held posts at Te Wananga o Aotearoa as the curriculum leader of Pacific dance studies as well as BEST Training where he was instrumental in developing the Pacific Institute of Performing Arts (PIPA) programme.

Iosefa’s mentoring approach this year was based on ‘the business side of dance’ where Sefa focused this year’s choreographers not only on choreogrpahic values but also on the business of organisation, scheduling, budgeting and the business of moving into dance theatre production.

2012 has seen 20 dancers from around Auckland come together under the vision of these three up and coming Pacific dance choreographers and their mentor.

The dancers are: 

We Are Who We Are – Byron Fa’aui, Heidi-lee Roberts, Sharna Tamatu, Lineti Latu, Pamela McHardy, Rodney Tyrell, Kyle Te Whata, Leticia Fortes, Nita Latu

Changes of Our Land – Lulu French, Inna Schwalger, Lavinia Uhila, Leki Bourke, Mario Faumui, Terara Tune

We Shall See Shel on the Sea Shore – Christopher Tevita Ofanoa, Aloali’i Tapu, Adam Naughton, Kosta Bogoievski, Tupua Tigafua

This year’s laboratory showing on Saturday, 10th November, 7pm, Mangere Arts Centre, promises to showcase a slice of the tremendous talent coming out of one of the fastest growing arts sectors in the country – Pacific Dance. And, it’s free!! Not to be missed.

For media enquiries email, marketing@pacificdance.co.nz for general enquiries or to RSVP auckland@pacificdance.co.nz, phone: 376 00 60.

 

11th September 2012

Re: Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab 2012 is a Go!!

Pacific Dance New Zealand in association with DANZ, Auckland Council and the Southside Arts Festival with support from Mangere Arts Centre, Corbans Arts Estate and Unitec’s Department of Performing and Screen Arts is proud to announce the 2012 choreographers leading the Pacific Dance Choreographic Laboratory.

They are: Tupua Tigafua, Nita Latu and Maile Giffin.

These up-and-coming choreographers will work through a two-month period to develop dance works ranging from contemporary to heritage Pacific dance with twenty dancers from a range of backgrounds.

The choreographers will also receive mentoring from Iosefa Enari, director of Pacific Dance New Zealand and the former convener of the Pacific Music and Dance programme at the University of Auckland. Iosefa has also held posts at Te Wananga o Aotearoa as the curriculum leader of Pacific dance studies as well as BEST Training where he was instrumental in developing the Pacific Institute of Performing Arts (PIPA) programme.

Tupua Tigafua has had years of dance experience working with such prestigious dance companies as Black GraceMau Dance Company and most recently with the New Zealand Dance Company. Tupua is a New Zealand born Samoan and says this influences his work intrinsically as an essence even though he does contemporary dance and it may not be obvious to the viewer. His work – Shel We – is based on inspiration from a book he found in his childhood, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (1964). Here, Tupua wishes to capture the humour and wit of Shel’s writing along with the simplicity of space shown in his drawings. Tupua elucidates;

“Through my work I want to explore the notion of weaving together the ideas of comic sequence through timing and poetic imagery. Using my memories of school and joking round with the boys at the tuck shop, to my experiences being in a professional creative environment as a starting point.”

Having an all-male cast also adds to Tupua’s ideas of “tom-foolery” as he says this is an expression of the humour of a PI male growing up in New Zealand and requires a fast, masculine movement counterbalanced by the gentleness of the male in attacking the musical pulse.

Nita Latu is currently in her third-year of a Bachelor of Dance Studies degree at the University of Auckland. She has had notable performances with Auckland’s Short and Sweet Dance Festival (where she won the ‘People’s Choice award)danced with Black Grace and their offshoot Urban Youth Movement, and most recently devised a dance work in the En Route series Come To.

Nita’s work deals with the troubling issue of youth suicide and especially relating to the Pacific community in urban Aotearoa. Nita while watching the news one night was disheartened by a report saying that;

“Pacific people who grow up here are even more likely to have depression or make suicide attempts.”

Asking the question – “Why has this hit our young Pacific people and what can I do about this issue?” Nita was spurred on to create a dance work to speak the voices of young strong Pacific people and remind young people of the powerful richness of Pacific culture (in her case a particularly Tongan culture) that is still present while we live through our everyday Westernised lives.

Her work is called We Are, Who We Are and uses contemporary Pacific motifs mixed with hip-hop movements and the more usual heritage Pacific movements of the past to convey a story acknowledging and confronting the issue of suicide while also delivering a message of hope.

Maile Giffin is the manager and choreographer of Polynesian Entetainers.  She started as a dancer with broad experience across different genres. Maile has an Hawaiian background but growing up in New Zealand trained in ballet from the age of five, Royal Academy of Dance. From here she moved into contemporary dance and over the past ten years has been focussed on Polynesian dance, especially Hawaiian – although she was introduced to hula by her mother as a child.  Moving back to New Zealand almost two years ago Maile joined Halau Hula Kahelelani no Aotearoa and the dance group Mana-O-Hula both based in Auckland. 

Maile’s piece Changes of our Land deals with the theme of change in the Hawaiian socio-political environment from King Kamehameha to modern Statehood under the United States.

Maile’s piece uses Kahiko (ancient) along with Auana (modern) styled Hawaiian dance mixed with contemporary movements to convey a story covering a couple major events over some two hundred years of history.

These three choreographers are embarking on a process of creation and discovery over three venues across Auckland over the next couple of months. They will be working with an assortment of dancers from very different dance styles and backgrounds – from school aged to young dancers from Unitec’s dance school to older professional dancers.

This year’s Pacific Dance Choreographic Laboratory promises to deliver the beginnings of something special.  Come and experience what these choreographers have to offer in a showing of works at the Mangere Arts Centre on Saturday 10th November at 7pm. Best thing – it’s free!!

For more information or media enquiries, please contact Pacific Dance New Zealand on Auckland@pacificdance.co.nz or phone 09 376 00 60.

 


31st August 2012

 

Submissions to the 2012 Pacific Dance Choreographic Laboratory have now closed but dancers who may wish to participate in this year’s lab, please still feel free to send us your expressions of interest to – auckland@pacificdance.co.nz or phone +64 9 376 00 60.

We look forward to this year’s choreo lab and hope you may be able to come and support this year’s choreographers and dancers in their showing of works, which will happen on Saturday 10th November at the Mangere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku.

 

 

April 2012

Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab 2012: Call for Submissions 

Pacific Dance New Zealand now invites New Zealand based Pacific Islands choreographers and dancers to apply for the Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab 2012 held between the 22nd October and 10th November 2012.

Choreographers are requested to submit an ‘expression of interest’ to the Pacific Dance Choreographic Selection Committee 2012 no later than 3pm, Friday 31st of August, 2012.

To qualify for this project, choreographers must present a proposal that will include:

• A CV with references

• the concept (what is your dance about?)

• the intended length of the work

• how many dancers (a solo, duet, trio etc)?

All applicants must be of Pacific Islands descent, be an emerging to mid-career choreographer, demonstrate in their submission that they will be able to complete the choreographic lab and submit a new work that has not been performed previously. This is a wonderful opportunity for Pacific Islands choreographers to create new works and have it promoted and developed.

The three choreographers selected for the choreographic lab will be provided with:

• A dance studio equipped with a sound system

• Dancers

• A mentor

• An allowance during the three-week choreographic lab

• Publicity and promotional opportunities

Each work will be presented at the closing night of the Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab 2012 to be held at the Mangere Arts Centre – Ngā Tohu o Uenuku in Mangere on Saturday the 10th of November.

Location of project:

This project will be presented in Auckland City South as part of the Southside Arts Festival 2012. All successful applicants will be notified in early-September and workshops will take place from 22nd October to 10th November 2012 at several venues in Auckland.

Contact: Filoi Vaila’au, Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab,

Email to: auckland@pacificdance.co.nz, Phone: 09 376 00 60.

Welcome to the Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab page 2013

Having several years of exciting Choreo Lab events, 2013 promises to be just as eventful as we see three up-and-coming Pacific dance choreographers given the chance to develop their dance visions and present their works.

2013 marks the fifth year of the Pacific Dance Choreographic lab. Earlier this year to mark this turning-point, Pacific Dance NZ presented “Moana, a Pacific Dance Showcase” at TAPAC, bringing you some of the best of the best of our past choreographic labs.

The Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab showing will be on Satruday 2nd November at 7pm, this year at the Mangere Arts Centre as part of the Southside Arts Festival.

To book tickets, please follow this link – http://www.eventfinder.co.nz/2013/pacific-dance-choreolab/auckland/mangere

SEPTEMBER

 

Louise Potiki Bryant, 2013 mentor

Pacific Dance NZ is proud to announce the 2013 Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab Senior Dance Mentor is Louise Potiki Bryant funded by DANZ (Dance Aotearoa NZ Ltd)Read more about Louise here.Louise’s statement of intent for the lab is as follows:

My focus as the Mentor for the Pacific Dance Choreographic Laboratory will be to assist the choreographers in terms of the embodiment and communication of the central kaupapa of their work. I aim to assist with the offer of choreographic tools for clear, poetic, and engaging communication of their core ideas and themes as well as tools to encourage dancers to embody themes with their whole self – connecting their intellect, imagination, body and soul in the embodiment and communication of the chosen kaupapa.

The three chosen choreographers to take part in this year’s lab are:Santana SchmidtAmo Ieriko and Nikki Upoko.

Santana Schmidt  To read an introduction to Santana Schmidt and her work #Hashtag, please go to our News & Events page at this link – #Hashtag

Amo Ieriko

To read an introduction to Amo Ieriko and his work “Vavau”, please follow this link at Vavau.

Nikki Upoko

To read an introduction to Nikki Upoko and her work “Vaine Toa”, go to this link at Vaine Toa.

AUGUST

Announcement of Successful Candidates

Pacific Dance NZ congratulates this year’s successful candidates to choreograph in the 2013 Pacific Dance Choreographic Laboratory.

This year’s successful candidates are: Amo IerikoSantana Shmidt and Nikki Upoko.

They will be working with a number of selected dancers (also to be announced) to devise and create three original works to show at the Mangere Arts Centre on Saturday 2nd November at 7pm.

MAY

Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab 2013: Call for Submissions 

Pacific Dance New Zealand now invites New Zealand based Pacific Islands choreographers and dancers to apply for the Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab 2013.

Choreographers are requested to submit an ‘expression of interest’ to the Pacific Dance Choreographic Selection Committee 2013 no later than 5pm, Thursday 18th July, 2013.

To qualify for this project, choreographers must present a proposal that will include:

• A CV with references

• the concept (what is your dance about?)

• the intended length of the work

• how many dancers (a solo, duet, trio etc)?

All applicants must be of Pacific Islands descent, be an emerging to mid-career choreographer, demonstrate in their submission that they will be able to complete the choreographic lab and submit a new work that has not been performed previously. This is a wonderful opportunity for Pacific Islands choreographers to create new works and have it promoted and developed.

The three choreographers selected for the choreographic lab will be provided with:

• A dance studio equipped with a sound system

• Dancers

• A mentor

• An allowance during the three-week choreographic lab

• Publicity and promotional opportunities

Each work will be presented at the closing night of the Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab 2013 to be held at the Mangere Arts Centre – Nga Tohu o Uenuku in Mangere on Saturday the 2nd of November.

Location of project:

This project will be presented as part of the Southside Arts Festival 2013. All successful applicants will be notified in late-July and workshops will take place at the choreographers choosing from that date forward at several venues in Auckland.

Contact: Filoi Vaila’au, Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab,

Email to: auckland@pacificdance.co.nz, Phone: 09 376 00 60.

Now in its sixth year, the Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab offers new and up-and-coming choreographers of Pacific Islands descent the opportunity to develop and present new dance works in a supportive and professional environment.

Announcement

Pacific Dance NZ announces this year’s Pacific Dance Choreographic lab choreographers – Leki Bourke (Tonga/Niue), Seidah Karati (Samoa/Kuki Airani) and Katerina Fatupaito (Samoa).

This year there was a high standard of applicants and we would like to congratulate these three choreographers on their selection while also encouraging others who missed out this time to try again.

All three choreographers have been a part of the Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab before, as dancers, and it’s wonderful to see them develop and take up the challenge of choreographing their own works.

This year, the mentor for the lab is Justin Haiu, himself a previous choreographer and dancer in the lab, who has also danced with the NZ Dance Company and Red Leap Theatre amongst others. Justin will be a great mentor and will be well aware of what what these three Pacific choreographers are going through.

Once again congratulations to Leki, Seidah and Katerina and here’s looking forward to November 1st at Corban Estate Arts Centre at 7pm for a showing of works developed during the lab.

Behold the Coconut

By Leki Bourke

Leki Bourke has been an up and comer on the Pacific theatre / dance scene for sometime. He is a graduate of P.I.P.A (Pacific Institute of Performing Arts), was a presenter for TVNZ’s Polyfest (2011) and was previously a dancer in the Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab (2012).

Leki is a versatile performer who has not only shone in acting and dance but also recently worked as the stage manager for Kila Kokonut Krew’s The Factory international season, travelling to various venues in Australia and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Leki has for years tutored and choreographed various high schools in the Auckland area for the ASB Polyfest dance competition, showing his solid base in Pacific heritage dance is complemented by his training in theatrical and contemporary dance.

Leki’s piece for the 2014 Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab is  Plastic Savage and is an exploration of his Niuean roots. Through the mixing of various dance styles – Samoan, Tongan, Niuean and contemporary – Leki will explore and reflect upon the cultural history of Niue, the definitions of being a true Niuean or just plastic, and how this shapes what it means to be Niuean today.

Dancers: Eric Ripley, Moses Maika, Bana Meleisea, Aaron Ryan, Terara (Lala) Tune, Aisea Latu, Paula Uvea.

Drummer: Epine Bob Savea

BURNT SKIN

By Katerina Fatupaito

Katerina is a performing artist with a strong Pacific, German and Asian ancestry. She has an established career in costuming in the film and television industry. After completing a performing arts qualification from the Pacific Institute of Performing Arts, she has gone on to feature in lead and supporting roles in a variety of well received plays.

Katerina is a long-standing member and has an integral role with Ura Tabu Pacfic Dance. She has been involved in workshops with Charles Koroneho, Margaret-Mary Hollins, Lima Dance Productions, Red Leap Theater’s Incubator and with Renee Liang for Paper Boat. Katerina loves being involved with all forms of performing arts and is driven with the prospect of creating.

She has been inspired by a family story about an Ai Tagata (cannibal): he is never spoken of and his story has diminished to a mere legend. This story was told to Katerina by her mother whom throughout her youth heard this story. There are no songs and no chants other than the conversation with Katerina’s mother – no story to help ‘uncover’ and re-tell the “legend of Leaitutuliafili” in its fullness.

By focusing on what captivated her during those story moments, the dance is told through the eyes of an Ai Tagata and in doing so, it takes us into another realm where myth and story come to life.

Dancers: Riki Nofo’akifolau, Albert Mateni, Albert (Bux) Falefatu

LIKE MIKE

By Seidah Karati

Seidah was one of the first dance Honours graduates from the University of Auckland. She is currently studying as a secondary dance teacher in training at the University of Auckland and continues to be actively involved in the performance circuit.

Seidah was one of the original dancers in the inaugural Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab in 2009. She has continued on in dance, performing in several hip hop crews such as Hopskotch Dance Company; has tutored dance in schools across Auckland, had stints doing physical theatre with Red Leap Theatre and has been a judge for Street Dance NZ as well as appearing in several music videos.

‘Like Mike’ is a dance piece that focuses on how Samoan siva and popping, a fundamental dance style of hip hop, can be fused appropriately in a New Zealand context.

The name ‘Mike’ in the title, represents Michael Jackson and how Seidah grew up trying to mimic his dance style from his dance videos. This dance is about finding identity through hip hop dance, growing up in church, and being a New Zealand born Pacific Island female.

Dancers: Mele Taeiloa, Renee Sharp, Anastasia Fa’aui, Seidah Karati

You can catch these works at –

Corban Estate Arts Centre on Saturday 1st November at 7pm.

Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab 2015 Showing

The Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab is in full-swing and our choreographers are working hard at developing their new and original works (which you can read about below).

The public is welcome to attend a showing of what they have developed on:

Friday, 6th November at Corban Estate Arts Centre at 7pm in Opanuku Studio.

This showing will mark the end of a process in which the three selected choreographers have worked with Pacific Dance NZ and their selected mentors during the creation process.

It should be an exciting experience to see what they have created.

For any enquiries about the lab or the showing, please contact auckland@pacificdance.co.nz or call 09 376 00 60.

See below for more.

Announcement: 2015 Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab selected

Pacific Dance New Zealand is proud to announce the selection of three exciting choreographers in the 2015 Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab 2015 challenge. They are – Hadleigh Pouesi, Jahra ‘Rager’ Wasasala and Albert ‘Bux’ Fale.

The choreographers will be given space and time to work on new Pacific dance works concluding in a showing at Corban Estate Arts Centre in late-October. They will also receive mentoring from Tupe Lualua (Director of Le Moana) and award winning spoken word artist Teuila Grace Taylor.

The 2015 selection was made by a selection panel including Dr. Marianne Schultz (DANZ), Olivia Taouma (Auckland Council) and Justin Haiu (Pacific Islands Dance Fono).

Pacific Dance NZ Director Sefa Enari commented on the calibre of the choreographers,

“The different dance styles and cultural make up of this years choreographers reflect the diversity of Pacific people in Aotearoa and their individual dance practices. From traditional Pacific to contemporary dance expressions, we have it all this year which makes for another really exciting lab. The role of Pacific Dance NZ is to support the artists in the early stages of their career through the lab.”

The annual Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab is now in its seventh year and the three current selected choreographers join an alumni of some well-known names in the New Zealand dance arena: Justin Haiu, Charlene Tedrow, Aruna Po-Ching, Tupua Tigafua, Nita Latu, Leki Bourke and Katerina Fatupaito to name a few.

Hadleigh Pouesi (Freshman’s Dance Crew)

Samoan/Maori/Pakeha

Hadleigh has been a name in Aotearoa’s hip hop dance scene for a number of years. Starting in the genre at high school, in 2007 Hadleigh started his own crew – Sweet & Sour – which took out Aotearoa’s first ever gold medal at the HHI World Championships in 2008. Hadleigh has been involved in a number of award winning crews since, most notably Fresh Movement Dance Company, of which he is the founding director.

For the choreographic lab Hadleigh wishes to explore more diversity in his dance expression by developing his Pacific dance repertoire. He has been working on a full-length show called ‘The Station’ and through the choreo lab hopes to develop authentic Pacific movements to incorporate into this larger work.

The sub-piece for the choreographic lab has a working title ‘Tall Poppy’ and explores the concept of the tall poppy syndrome in the performing arts.

Hadleigh will work with his newly formed group Freshman’s Dance Crew under the mentorship of Tupe Lualua.


Jahra ‘Rager’ Wasasala

Fijian/Pakeha

Jahra is a contemporary dancer, choreographer and spoken word artist. She is a graduate of Unitec’s Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts, and since graduating in 2012/2013 has made her mark on the Auckland dance and spoken word scene; her latest show Mother/Jaw attracting much acclaim and winning five awards at the Auckland Fringe Festival 2015 (securing her a season at the Herald Theatre in 2016).

The working title for Jahra’s choreographic lab work is – ‘Blood/d/runk’ – an exploration of the tensions between mediums such as spoken word and dance, the role of women in contemporary dance, the polarisation of body perception between Western/global ideologies and the relationship young Pacific women have with their bodies; and the mother nature affiliation between the female, Earth and rituals of connection. In this context women of colour reflect the state of the world.

Blood/d/runk is a solo piece in which Jahra will work with Teuila Grace Taylor to develop a multi-disciplined presentation incorporating dance, spoken word, visual art and sound.


Albert ‘Bux’ Fale (Bux Squared)

Samoan

Albert has been a successful tutor of Samoan dance for high schools presenting for the ASB Polyfest dance competition over a number of years. He has branched out into other styles of dance since and has been involved in the Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab before as a dancer. Now Albert has the opportunity to spread his wings in this dance/theatre setting as a choreographer.

Albert’s piece for the choreographic lab is called ‘Le Fa’avae’, a familiar term for many Samoans as it means ‘The Foundation’ and is reminiscent of the Samoan proverb – “Lau o le Fiso, Lau o le Tolo, e ala e tasi ae mauga e Olo” meaning; “There are many Pathways that will lead to the same Foundation.”

This piece is an exploration of Samoan culture through dance. From siapo (tapa cloth) making, to traditional oratory presented as poetry, to ritual movements of the tufuga ta tatau (master tattooist), to concepts of cultural fusion and the influence of the church.

Albert’s piece features the dancing talent of: Natalie Toevai Maulolo, Byron Faaui, Atapana Meleisea, Albert Tupuola and Albert Fale.

Check the Pacific Dance website for more information and updates about the Pacific Dance Choreographic Laboratory 2015 and Facebook at – facebook.com/pages/Pacific-Dance-Choreographic-Lab

For general enquiries about the choreo lab, contact auckland@pacificdance.co.nz ph: +64 9 376 00 60

For media enquiries about the choreo lab, contact marketing@pacificdance.co.nz ph: +64 22 123 1050

The Pacific Dance Choreographic Laboratory 2015 is made possible with the support of:

 

Choreolab 2015

Now in its seventh year, the Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab will again showcase some of Pacific Dance’s up and coming talent. Previous years have seen a range of choreographers from different styles and backgrounds show their stuff and 2015 promises more of the same.

The Choreolab is a development space where choreographers are given the opportunity to work on a dance idea or story and bring it to life with the guidance of a senior dance mentor and the team at Pacific Dance NZ.

It is a space in which 3 selected choreographers each year have delved into their imaginations and created works often surprising and cutting edge – and all within an intensive creative period.

Call out for Expressions of Interest

Pacific Dance New Zealand now invites New Zealand based Pacific Islands choreographers and dancers to apply for the Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab 2015.

Choreographers are requested to submit an ‘expression of interest’ to the Pacific Dance Choreographic Selection Committee 2015 no later than 5pm, Friday 7th August 2015.

To qualify for this project, choreographers must present a proposal that will include:

• A CV with references

• the concept (what is your dance about?)

• the intended length of the work

• how many dancers (a solo, duet, trio etc)?

All applicants must be of Pacific Islands descent, be an emerging to mid-career choreographer, demonstrate in their submission that they will be able to complete the choreographic lab and submit a new work that has not been performed previously. Choreographers must also be available to develop their works between August and October ready for a performance showing – although times and dates of rehearsals can be negotiated.

The three choreographers selected for the choreographic lab will have the opportunity to develop their works with mentorship and support from PDNZ. They will also receive a stipend to assist during the period of development and have publicity and promotional opportunities. The lab will also end in a public performance where choreographers and dancers will have the opportunity to work in a professional theatre setting.

Each work will be presented at the closing night of the Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab 2015 to be held at the Corban Estate Arts Centre during October.

Expression of Interest forms along with your CV are to be sent to auckland@pacificdance.co.nz

If you would like more information or would like to chat to us further call 09 376 00 60.

Pacific Dance Announces the 2016 Pacific Dance NZ Choreographic Lab

Monday, 19th September, 2016

Pacific Dance NZ is proud to announce the participants in the 2016 Pacififc Dance Choreographic Lab.

They are: Joash Fahitua, Filoi Vaila’au and Selina Alefosio

The three selected choreographers will work on their respective dance pieces over September and October ready for a public showing on Saturday 5th November 2016 at 4.30pm at Whitireia City Campus in Wellington.

For the first time the Choreolab has been split between Auckland and Wellington – Filoi and Selina being from Wellington, while Joash is based in Auckland.

You can keep up to date with what’s happening in the lab by checking out our Facebook page regularly.

Joash Fahitua

MuaMua

‘Muamua’ meaning FIRST, is an introduction piece by Joash Fahitua a former Black Grace Dancer (2012 – 2015), 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). Music 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. The ideas expressed in the piece 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. This is a physical representation of an idea like a new-born that will develop and grow. Joash 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.

Filoi Vaila’au

I’e Toga: A Samoan Women’s Legacy

An i’e toga is one of the most important items of cultural value in Samoa. Attend many a Samoan ceremony or event and you will find these finely woven mats presented as gifts. Filoi Vaila’au, well known in the Pacific dance scene as an administrator and project manager for Pacific Dance NZ (2010 – 2014) has returned to the organisation to develop and present this work exploring the movements and actions of the women who present these fine mats. 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.

Selina Alefosio

Whatupaepae

Selina has been the artistic director of ‘O Mata Dance Group’ (Tokelauan dance) for the past ten years. 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.

For more information or media enquiries about the Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab, contact 09 376 00 60 or auckland@pacificdance.co.nz

Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab 2017

Choreographers Announced

Pacific Dance NZ is proud to announce the selected choreographers participating in this year’s Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab.

They are: Jasmine Leota, Zildjian Robinson and Ufitia (Tia) Sagapolutele

The public is invited to a showing of works developed in the lab:

When: Saturday 4th November

Where: Unitec Department of Performing and Screen Arts, Studio D2

Time: 3pm – 4pm

Jasmine Leota is an actor, dancer, and choreographer who graduated from Whitirei New Zealand in 2009 with a Bachelor in Applied Artsmajoring in Performing Arts.

Since then Jasmine has toured Aotearoa and the World in various tours and perennially (2012 – 2017) with T.H.E.T.A. (Theatre in Health Educational Trust) as an actor, singer and facilitator delivering health education programmes around the country.
Jasmine has worked both back-stage and on-stage in a number of productions and worked with Pacific Dance NZ in 2013 as a dancer for that year’s Pacific Dance Artist’s Residency.
Jasmine has also played representative Women’s Rugby 7’s and Rugby League.
Jasmine’s dance piece in the laboratory is called “Tagi.i.Lima – The Hands that Hold our Tears” exploring the space between light and dark, happy and sad, the night and dawn, Island idyllic imagery and the struggles of the ‘real’ people. This work fuses an amalgamation of movements from Siva Samoa, Kapa Haka Maori, Ura Kuki Airani and Hiva Tokelau.

Zildjian Robinson graduated with a BMCT double major in Dance and Screen and Media Studies from the University of Waikato in 2013 and followed this up by completing a Bachelor of Performing Arts majoring in contemporary dance from Unitec’s Performing And Screen Arts in Auckland.

Since 2012 Zildjian has danced with Touch Compass Dance. He has toured with Black Grace and is currently dancing with Atamira Dance Company. 
Zildjian’s dance piece for the laboratory is called Short Story Long’ which is centred on the idea of not wanting to grow-up, having fun, not accepting cultural norms and asking that essential question in everything – Why? 

Tia Sagapolutele holds a Diploma in Performing Arts and a Bachelor of Creative Arts from the Manukau Institute of Technology. She also boasts a Postgraduate Diploma of Dance from the University of Auckland and is currently completing her Master of Dance Studies.

Besides Tia’s academic achievements she is also an accomplished hip-hop dancer, being Street Dance NZ Varsity Champs 2012 with Sorority Dance Crew, Silver Medalist at the World Hip Hop Championship 2012 with the Royal Family, and at Street Dance NZ 2013 Tia and crew gained 2nd Place in the Mega Crew Division with Dziah Dance Academy.
Most recently Tia was part of the ‘Wahine Toa’ programme at the Pacific Dance Festival 2017 with her work ‘Ave’, which received rave reviews. Tia has also placed works within the Tempo Dance Festival over a number of years and she is currently a dance tutor at the KMS Dance Studioand Auckland Academy of Dance.
Tia’s work for the Lab “So’otaga” (connection in Samoan), is a tribute to her parents, an exploration of guilt, loss, loneliness, pain and forgiveness – having lost her father when she was young, not knowing him, and then losing her mother when she was 18. This piece fuses siva Samoa and hip-hop tracing her journey in search of pathways to connection with her parents and their memory.

Keep up to date with our Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab Facebook Page

For media enquiries please contact Pacific Dance NZ:

Email: auckland@pacificdance.co.nz
Phone: +64 9 376 00 60

The Pacific Dance Choreographic Laboratory will be in its 10th Year in 2018 and we’re looking for a set of very special works to celebrate this fact.

Please check back here or on our Facebook Page to find out when Expressions of Interest open.