By BERNADETTE RAE
Guest choreographer Daniel Belton goes for the big picture - think cosmos, quantum physics and sacred geometry in his clever and most competently composed contribution to this new Black Grace venture.
His piece, named for and inspired by the Maori tradition of whai, the weaving of complex patterns from a loop of string to illustrate legendary tales or map star constellations, is first up in the three-part programme.
It is a complicated and magical work, evoking astronauts in deep space one minute, the curious coupling of chromosomes the next, the whole swept along on a disturbing, weird and penetrating soundscape from Dutch sound artist Jan-Bas Bolten.
But the end leaves one thinking how very hard it is for new young choreographers to come up with something we haven't seen before.
Second up is Tairoa Royal, flexing his choreographic muscle with a strange and sensuous trilogy that first flattens the stage to a frieze-like strip, then explodes it in a vermilion sunset which slowly softens to bordello crimson and features sphinx-like figures in tableaux of fleeting repose.
The three stories promised in the programme notes, and in Tai's videoed monologue before, are told in unmistakable Tai-style - more style than story in fact.
But who cares? It all comes straight from Royal's true heart.
Then there is artistic director Neil Ieremia's Human Language - with girls!
The shock of adaptation to female bodies within the sanctum is spoken of candidly and hilariously in the traditional introduction to the piece. It is no preparation for the ricochet of shock into the audience.
We see girls dancing with blokes on the contemporary dance stage all the time. It's normal. But this is very different, and fantastic.
The new dynamic shrieks with the power of Black Grace's and Ieremia's established voice. It has the ability to challenge itself, dance out its process, share its beauty and speak its evolving truth. So we all learn.
By BERNADETTE RAE