Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland

01/11/2016 - 05/11/2016

Production Details

Neil Ieremia

Black Grace

Black Grace presents the premiere of
Dance by Neil Ieremia

A poetic ode to our troubled world, As Night Falls is a beautiful new work choreographed by Artistic Director Neil Ieremia, which premieres in Auckland for a limited season at the Herald Theatre, from 1-5 November.

“As Night Falls is bold and bright like the colourful muumuu dresses worn by my mother without shame or ceremony. I had initially wanted this work to be the expression of my concerns and fears of the darkness that seems to be eroding the value of equality and human life. Instead, I feel compelled to respond with a contrasting beauty and physical vitality, musicality and hope. It is my offer of beauty for ashes.” – Neil Ieremia

As Night Falls sees the Company embracing contemporary dance in its purest form, set to the timeless and passionate sound of Antonio Vivaldi.

This is Auckland’s last chance to see Black Grace in action this year as they head to Taiwan the day after season close. The company then prepare for a 6-week American tour before returning to NZ to perform in 2017.

Black Grace celebrated their 20th year anniversary in 2015, the same year that Artistic Director Neil Ieremia was awarded the Senior Pacific Artist Award from Creative New Zealand. Ieremia continues to collect accolades for his work and earlier this year made the Queen’s Birthday Honours List becoming an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. 

Black Grace has continued to be at the forefront of New Zealand dance for the past two decades and has taken the world by storm with their powerful and highly acclaimed productions. The group has toured throughout North America, playing to audiences of thousands and making their mark at prestigious venues and festivals such as The Kennedy Centre in Washington DC, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival in Massachusetts and on New York’s 42nd Street. The Company has also toured to Europe, Japan, Australia, New Caledonia, Guam, South Korea and Mexico.

As Night Falls plays 1 – 5 November Herald Theatre, Aotea Centre
Tickets: $39-$45 (booking fees apply)
Tickets available through Ticketmaster, from 15th August
The performance season of As Night Falls is supported by Auckland Live.

Dancers: Sean MacDonald; Zoe Visvanathan; Sarah Baron; Callum Sefo; Otis Herring; Tupua Tigafua;Deni-Jo Manalo; Shane Tafaeono; Paige Shand; Tyler Carney

Pasifika contemporary dance , Dance , Contemporary dance ,

1 hour

As Night Falls puts dancers through their paces

Review by Raewyn Whyte 03rd Nov 2016

As Night Falls, the new hour-long dance work created for Black Grace by artistic director Neil Ieremia, is a dynamically driven collage of tension and strife with anxious, restless, fleeting and flurrying people constantly on the move.

They await their fate at the hands of invisible captors; are tossed by explosions; are swept off their feet by huge waves; and trudge from one side of the space to the other, trapped in the confines of the Herald Theatre’s black box stage. Dressed in loose layers and shades of grey while surrounded by shadows which shield their faces, they could be ghosts or the tattered remnants of a village, refugees from calamity.

Individuals repeatedly wipe their faces or brush a hand against various parts of the body as if to remove dirt, sweat, or blood, or flagellate their own backs. Or they fall against one another; shield one another in freeze-frame poses, communicating a sense of humanity in peril.

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Powerful performances from Black Grace dancers

Review by Hannah Stannard 02nd Nov 2016

The feeling of anticipation from the audience is incredible. 

This well-established company displays technical and aesthetic brilliance. Dancers are all polished and take the small stage in the Herald with confidence and professionalism… But the depth and purpose of the work is somewhat hidden. In the inserted note from the director/choreographer, Neil Ieremia explains that he kept from sharing the ‘concept in great detail with the dancers’. Perhaps this is why. The dancers impressively embody the beautiful movement sequences, but the intention of the work is a little unclear.

Performances from Sean MacDonald, Otis Herring, Demi-Jo Manalo, and new-comer Paige Shand are standouts among a strong cast of ten. The dancers explore the heights and depth of the space, draped in powerful lights designed by Bonnie Burrill. ‘As Night Falls’ shifts between strong, sequential group work and the rhythmic curiosities of agitated, anguished solos which are occasionally echoed by the group. At times the dancers seem to be connected as one: exploding into a dark expanse, and then gradually dissipating before reforming, and the group move as if trying to desperately capture something in the mysterious falling light. Sometimes they are confronted by their own pains and demons, or as a group are held up like deer in the headlights or convicts at gunpoint. As male and female groups separate, original movement motifs are both captivating and thrilling. 

All these highs and lows are driven by a soundtrack dominated by movements from three different Vivaldi concerti. Although beautiful, such famous music seems to be used with no specific intent and distracts from the originality of this new work. The Lord’s Prayer sung in Samoan rings out powerfully, saying farewell to the sombre night, and that could have been a powerful ending if it was indeed placed at the end.

Though the purpose of this work may lie hidden in the fallen night, the powerful performers and beautiful, explorative choreography are definitely and imprinted into the audience’s minds.


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