The Pacific Dance NZ (PDNZ) annual Choreographic Lab for 2021 forges ahead during COVID-19 alert levels, where the desire to connect with bubbles and live audiences can only be realised virtually.   In our 12th annual Choreographic Lab we are committed to continuing to provide an authentic springboard for our emerging – mid career Pacific artists where they can research, explore and develop their vision and ideas for their next works with a supported mentorship programme.  Our 2021 cohort of choreographers are: Tupe Lualua (CNZ Contemporary Pacific Artist Award 2021), Desiree Soo-Choon and Anton Pulefale.  Our artists represent a diverse creative community here in Aotearoa who see the Choreographic Lab as a way to collaborate and curate ideas on themes such as conflict, connection and community.   This year there is a strong reference to the role of women in each of their conceptions.

Last year, Tamaki Makaurau moved out of lockdown a few days prior to Art Week and the Choreographic Lab was able to proceed with a public showing for a packed audience at the Auckland Art Gallery.  Fast forward to 2021 and the Tamaki landscape is now an open space filled with street installations for only the brave masked art viewers. The crowds have retreated to their homes and are glued to online platforms that exist in the digital va (space).  

This digital va is not new for PDNZ and the last 2 years have demonstrated our obligation to our communities and audiences to showcase content and talent that is not only current but celebrates our diversity.  Our ability to adapt does not detract from our objectives and only amplifies the fostering of creativity to encourage new works, and the need for PDNZ to continue to innovate as an arts organisation.

Our Choreographic Lab this year will engage in a blend of virtual and socially distanced sessions for our artists from Wellington, Masterton and Auckland.  On Wednesday 8th December at  8pm we will share curated content from our cohort across our online platforms.  We will promote this showing on our social pages and we invite you all to join this virtual presentation and embrace the progress of our growing Pacific talent and their own interpretations of social, cultural and family issues through contemporary, street, hip-hop and heritage dance forms.

“The annual Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab is our springboard for Pacific artists to realise their ideas. It is the start of their journey. This year is different in that we introduce the artists and their works to you virtually. In keeping up with the times, Pacific Dance NZ has pivoted in response to the current settings.” Iosefa Enari MNZM (Director)

The Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab is funded by Creative NZ and the Pacific Islands Dance Fono Trust.

Click Here for our 2021 Artists

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.

The selected choreographers over the years make up the Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab alumni and include:

John Purcell Puleitu, Charlene Tedrow, Aruna Po-Ching, Tepaeru-Ariki Lulu French, Sesilia Pusiaki Tatuila, Ojeya Cruz Banks, Tupua Tigafua, Nita Latu, Maile Giffin, Santana Schmidt, Amo Ieriko, Nikki Upoko, Leki Bourke, Seidah Karati, Katerina Fatupaito, Hadleigh Pouesi, Jahra ‘Rager’ Wasasala, Albert ‘Bux’ Fale, Joash Fahitua, Filoi Vaila’au, Selina Alefosio, Jasmine Leota, Zildjian Robinson, Ufitia (Tia) Sagapolutele, Vivian Aue, Andy Tilo, and last but not least Tofifailauga Misa.

Watch our 10th Anniversary Choreographic Lab