Dance review: Polished show closes dance tour

By Raewyn Whyte

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Capacity audiences enjoy Tempo's closing weekend of established pieces and works in progress.

 Kaha  by Atamira Dance Company proved to be a polished, fast-paced and energetic performance. Photo / Carl Gordon
Kaha by Atamira Dance Company proved to be a polished, fast-paced and energetic performance. Photo / Carl Gordon

The closing weekend of Tempo 2013 saw capacity audiences for seven shows ranging from the uber-popular Out of the Box long-form hip hop showcase, to a sampling of dances created and performed by high school dance students, and new works in progress from emerging choreographers.

Atamira Dance Company closed out their North Island and USA tour in fine style at Tempo with a highly polished, fast-paced and energetically driven performance of the seven short works which comprise Kaha 2013. The signature work Haka was joined by old favourites, and a rich new version of Pou Rakau by Gaby Thomas explored spatial variations on the pass-and-catch short stick games, under the watchful eyes of an ancestral presence.

Resounding cheers from capacity houses acknowledged their artistry, passion and mana as performers.

Prime brought four short works which questioned notions of primacy. Two research-based works investigated the nature of theatrical performance.

Circle in a Box by Val Smith conjured a space in which to mourn the loss of participatory performance forms, while in Katie Burton's This Is Ours, four dancers performed among the seated audience and then invited the audience into the dance with them. Felicity Molloy's Disarm revealed the central role played by the grandmother in a three-generational family, and Tia Reihana-Morunga's Mareikura invoked a quartet of supernatural Maori goddesses and their bearing of meta-responsibilities which are at once a burden and a gift.

Atamira Dance Company. Photo / Carl Gordon
Atamira Dance Company. Photo / Carl Gordon

A boldly experimental late-night show from The Dust Palace was warmly received though a tad underdeveloped. Their cirque performance skills are fantastically polished, but much of the dramatic content based around gay and lesbian relationships seemed in need of further exploration.

Pacific Dance Triple Bill opened with a joyous celebration of fa'afafine fabulosity in Mario Faumui's Fine Fatale, combining siva and voguing in the debut performance of NZ's first fa'afafine dance company. Next, eight compelling male performers from Lima Productions presented a heartfelt excerpt from Olivia Taouma's Home, Land and Sea, a candid consideration of masculine cultural dynamics in South Auckland which premieres in Otahuhu this week. The third work, an extract from Charlene Tedrow's haunting Spiritus Aitu, due to premiere in March, brought into our realm the spirits unsettled by the impact of a recent devastating typhoon in Samoa.

Contemporary dance
Prime: Q Loft Oct 17 & 18
Kaha 2013: Atamira Dance Company - Q Rangatira Oct 18 & 19
Pacific Dance Triple Bill: Q Loft Oct 19
Same Same But Different The Dust Palace: Q Rangatira Oct 1& 19
Reviewer: Raewyn Whyte

- NZ Herald

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