The ever-popular dance showcases Fresh Cuts and Prime Cuts launched the second week of the Tempo Festival with enthusiastic full houses.
Fresh Cuts presents works by emerging artists; Prime Cuts offers new works from established choreographers exploring new directions.
With six works in one hour of running time for each show, and an hour between shows, the 12 dances offer a diversity of approaches to contemporary dance without overwhelming an audience that generally views both shows in sequence.
Viscerally engaging standouts in the Fresh Cuts programme were two works developed over the past year.
Justin Haiau's vital and vigorous dance for seven men, Call to Wallis, is autobiographical, tracing his dance experiences through kapa haka, hip hop and the traditional Soamako dances of Uvea in the Wallis and Futuna Islands.
Initially developed as part of last year's Pacific Islands Dance Fono, this fluently blends traditional and contemporary moves and formations, song and chant, and is set to driving Wallisian-inspired live drumming, which quickly gets into the blood of onlookers.
By contrast, Heel Ruby, performed by co-choreographers Emily Campbell and Zahra Killeen-Chance in black tunics over leggings, super-stretchy red cardigans, red high heels, red nails and red stools, is elegant and entrancing.
It draws you quickly into their rhythmically patterned sequences of swinging arms, rotating torsos, drumming heels, swishing shoes and impeccable timing and communicates a particular kind of womanly strength, calmness and autonomy.
The Prime Cuts programme offers six different considerations of human experience. Souvenirs of What I Once Described as Happiness by Kelly Nash is compelling viewing, a disquieting duet offering no way out for Liana Yew and Alex Leonhartsberger. Sally's Circles is a charming, lush movement study choreographed by Rosalie van Horick for postmodern coquette Destiny Stein.
Gender and Performance Inquiry by Val Smith with Mike Holland is a finely nuanced minimalist improvisational duet demonstrating its title, and Cathy Livermore's Don'tfeedthemanfish raises the spectre of climate change on a Pacific atoll.
Last but not least are two interlinked works: Wolf, a postmodern spin on the tale of Red Riding Hood by Sarah Campus, with an intense focus on the devourer within and how one deals with it, and Cat Ruka's dramatic and disturbing Wolf: Where Wolves Fear to Prey, a vortex of movement, film, drumming, haze, and ultimately death which counterposes the relentless fight for Maori cultural autonomy and the campaign to exterminate the wolf.