November 28, 2008

Whitirea Graduation Performance

Sally Munro        posted 27 Nov 2008, 08:48 AM

Do go and see this performance at Pataka this week if you get the chance – these are a lively and talented group of dancers and we are so lucky to have them as part of the Wellington performing arts scene.

Editor    posted 27 Nov 2008, 01:10 PM

Any followers of Pacific Dance should go to Pataka to see the spirited, exciting, end of year performance by the Whitiriea Performing Arts students.  When they were individually introduced to the audience at the end of the show we learnt that they came from a broad sweep of the Pacific, NZ/ Aotearoa, several of the Cooks, Samoa and Tahiti.  Yet this diverse group danced together giving us Māori, Samoan, Cook Is, contemporary and Tahitian dance.  They were superb and danced as if to the manner born, with all the moves convincingly performed as if they had been absorbed from birth.  Not to be missed.   Julia Brooke-White

Jennifer Shennan             posted 28 Nov 2008, 08:54 AM / edited 28 Nov 2008, 02:01 PM

Kia tere … Hurry, Hurry …

This invigorating and spirited show ends on Saturday evening 29 Nov. It offers a generous slice of Pacific performance by First, Second and Third Year students at Whitireia’s Perfoming Arts programme. It is clear from the students’ performance confidence why their fellow students have been invited to accompany New Zealand’s Prime-Ministerial delegations to Pacific countries, and also to perform on a regular basis at Te Papa.

The opening Māori section is proud and powerful, and the transitions between furious haka to serene waiata a ringa and cheerful poi are lovely to watch. Pukana or spontaneous facial expressions are fresh and genuinely inspired.

In the Samoan section great fun was had in establishing rapport with the audience, and the dexterity and swiftness of many of the dance movements was most impressive. A hilarious ma’ulu’ulu crossed with sasa was a priceless send-up of airline stewards in full flight.

The Cook Islands section had fresh ideas and great grace coupled with the hallmark super-fast hippy-hippy-shakes. There were some very striking costumes effects, and it is always totally obvious what a good time these performers are having. That in turn proves cheerfully infectious to the audience – no bad thing in low times, whether of the meteorological or the finance-market variety.  

One sparkling innovation was captured by tutor/choreographer Tuaine Robati, in a duet where two dancers used traditional aparima movements, to a popular song. By the cleverest alchemy, new became merged with old – interpretation of the poetry of contemporary song-text through the stylized, ages-old dance movement.  This is a seemingly small step, but at the same time a giant one for new dance-makers working in Pacific traditions.

Next year the Whitireia Performing Arts programme will mark its 20th anniversary. There is much to celebrate and we should join them.

Public Performances

November 25 – 29

Venue: Pataka, Norrie St. Porirua

Time: 7.30 pm

Admission: $15 waged and $5 unwaged

Duration of show: Approx 90 Minutes

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