Auckland dancers are expanding their horizons - and that could mean the continued development of a new style of dance.
After dancing round the world with Black Grace for four years and becoming one of New Zealand's leading krump (street movement) dancers, Joash Fahitua has joined forces with Rutherford College dance teacher Perri Exeter to start Trip the Light Dance Collective.
The collective is the first step towards a fulltime professional company with a youth development programme. It could also allow Fahitua to further fuse krumping and contemporary dance into what he calls #krumptemporary. He's had a development year already, with mentoring from Pacific Dance New Zealand and krump creator Ceasare "Tight Eyez" Willis in Los Angeles.
Fahitua and Exeter show the styles they're playing with this week at the MixTape dance showcase, which features six dances they've choreographed. So far, there are 13 dancers with Trip the Light; most are recent graduates from dance degree programmes at Unitec and the University of Auckland, along with some members of the hip hop Prestige Dance Crew who want to expand into contemporary dance. Three students are participating as interns and both Exeter and Fahitua will also dance.
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The dances have been inspired by life experiences, Samoan cultural stories, political issues and dreams. Secta, choreographed by Exeter, and Mua Mua, choreographed by Fahitua, were previously presented at Tempo Dance Festival. Two older works by Exeter have been redeveloped for this show while two more are brand new.
"The dances are like short stories," says Exeter. "We want them to be accessible to everyone, to draw them in and engage them with the stories. There is humour; there are hard hitting and physically intense dances and gentle more musical dances.
"Joash likes to choreograph about topics that he knows about or feels strongly about and I like to escape into themes and ideas that fascinate me and that I want to explore."
She says many of her students go on to study dance at tertiary level and Trip the Light is a way to provide further opportunities for them. Most have danced in self-produced shows during the Short and Sweet Dance Festival, Tempo Dance Festival and Auckland Fringe Festival.
Normally based in West Auckland, most recently they've used rehearsal space at Te Oro Arts Centre in Glen Innes where Fahitua is an artist-in-residence during the next year. He'll teach classes and workshops and spend time developing new dances.
What: MixTape Dance Showcase by Trip The Light Dance Collective
Where & when: Corban Estate Arts Centre, Friday and Saturday