Dance Review: Y Chromozone, Auckland Performing Arts Centre

By Bernadette Rae

New Zealand dancer Taiaroa Royal. Photo / Supplied
New Zealand dancer Taiaroa Royal. Photo / Supplied

Tempo's annual Showcase, this year steeped in testosterone, was as much a celebration of the wide diversity of dance our current culture embraces as it was of the male dancing body.

Ten items in an hour, with barely a breath between, is a kaleidoscopic experience.

From Pacific drum beat to Petipa's Le Corsaire, from world class tappers to Douglas Wright's choreography exposing the flip side of life for a pair of rather famous drag queens, from classic Black Grace to top Hip Hop to classical ballet a la 2010, Y Chromozone was a fantastic finale for two intensive festival weeks at Tapac.

Just a tango performance at the Maidment, Atamira at Telstra Clear Pacific, and some continuing exhibitions and workshops remain to be seen, under Tempo's wider umbrella.

It is not surprising that master choreographer Douglas Wright's potent deconstruction of drag with legendary dancers Taiaroa Royal and Taane Mete dominated in the dramatic stakes with their excerpt from Tama Ma.

From grotesquely glam to wig and wiggle stripping, makeup smearing and some totally disgusting false eyelash chewing, this is a bizarre tale of meltdown but also of indomitable spirit.

Black Grace contributed two choreographies by Neil Ieremia, Made Off, from Verses, and just as stunning on a second viewing, plus the lightning quick and blokey Guitar Man from Gathering Clouds.

Kim Bergh bravely nailed his Corsaire solo, a definitive blast from the past in this contemporary company, with some magnificent split leg leaps.

The TMC Tap Duo (Ritchie Cesan and Simon Watts) and the Prestige Dance Crew are both world class acts, bursting with talent, all the moves, and infectious fun.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet's Brendan Bradshaw presented two beautiful new pieces, Uneven Days, a virtuosic duet performed to perfection by the quicksilver Medhi Angot and company star Qi Huan and On the Brink, a lyrical trio with the addition of Dimitri Kleioris' understated power.

Manipulated Living was a gentle reflection on materialism, choreographed and performed by Tom Bradley of the New Zealand School of Dance.

Relative newcomer to the choreographic scene Justin Haiu traced his personal dance journey from kapahaka through hip hop and back to the traditional dance forms of his father's homeland of Wallis and Futuna Haiu in Call to Wallis, for six spirited dancers, in a seamless blend of dance tradition and street cool. Watch this space!

- NZ Herald

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