Hula, hip-hop, haka ... the Tempo Dance Festival showcases variety, notes Raewyn Whyte

A sparkling gala showcase and ball will mark the 10th anniversary of the annual Tempo Dance Festival next weekend at Q Theatre. The gala offers a cross-section of the dance scene, with tango by Michael Parmenter, hip-swinging hula by Pasifika Sway, a virtuoso pas de deux from dancers of the Royal New Zealand Ballet, and clowning around by Justin Haiu and Tupua Tigafua aka the Double Derelicts. Kura Te Ua and Ngarino Watts present haka theatre, Mary Jane O'Reilly dances her solo Witch Bitch, Touch Compass present a Hotbox performance, there's Maori contemporary dance from Unitec students, and Bollywood from the Monisha Kumar School of Dance. Everyone gets to dance at the ball that follows.

This year's Tempo offers 34 different dance performances, a mix of touring programmes, themed showcases, short works selections and late night delights.

"This year we have more than 700 dance artists performing in styles from hip-hop to contemporary, Pacific dance to ballet, Bharatanatyam to Cirque," says Tempo director Celia Walmsley. "There's plenty to choose from, and something for everyone to enjoy."

Main bill shows from touring companies run throughout the festival. Footnote Dance presents Colt by Sarah Foster Sproull, examining what it is to be part of a community in creation.


China's Leshan Dance Company presents Fault Lines, a work about the aftermath of earthquakes, which has been touring New Zealand arts festivals directed by Sara Brodie. The surreal and chilling contemporary dance-theatre work Carnival Hound by Maria Dabrowska explores the distorted realities of three displaced persons surviving amid the ruins of an old carnival site. And Atamira Dance returns from an American tour to present Kaha, seven short works that were well received on tour.

Tempo's ever-popular themed showcases also run throughout the event.

The all-male Y Chromozone show features cirque apparatus solos, classical and contemporary ballet, Parmenter's Fields of Jeopardy, and Identity dance crew fresh from the world hip-hop championships. The Kids Show, Secondary Colours and Tertiary Colours sample different stages of dancer development. Fresh and Prime bring new contemporary works from local dance artists at different stages of their careers; Out of the Box presents longform hip-hop by choreographers who seek to develop their artform in new directions.

Two performance installations are included in Tempo this year. Louise Potiki Bryant's multimedia event Tumutumu is named for the traditional Maori taonga puoro instruments which inspire the work, and accompany her performance, played live by Richard Nunns. Pure, a solo by intercultural performance artist Charles Koroneho, now based in Canada, is described as "ritualistic marae theatre" and is followed by a discussion forum on issues raised in the work.

Closing weekend holds two triple bills that will attract much interest, and a provocative late-night show.

Trifle presents the polished Go Go Do by Zahra Killeen-Chance alongside new works by Kelly Nash and Jessie McCall, and Pacific Dance Triple Bill features contemporary Pacific works Spiritus Aitu by Charlene Tedrow, which explores the effect of destructive storms in Samoa; Home Land and Sea by Olivia Taouma (Lima Dancetheatre), which asks what it is to be a Southsider in Auckland, and in sizzlingly hot vogue style, Fine Fatale by Mario Faumui.

And those consummate performers The Dust Palace present the late-night circus-dance-cabaret Same Same, But Different, which explores "all the possibilities of same-sex relationships".

Tempo Dance Festival
Where and when: Q Theatre, October 9-20