Shed 1, Corban Estate Arts Centre, Auckland

13/12/2017 - 16/12/2017

Production Details

Atamira Dance Company’s newest full-length work ATAMIRA  is delving back into what the name ‘Atamira’ represents in contemporary, historical and future society. Choreographed by Kelly Nash, ‘Atamira’ is a platform to remember those that have passed, our closeness to our own imminent death, and a reminder of the importance of people, relationships and life. The literal meaning of “atamira” is “stage” and another meaning of the word is “platform for the dead body and the process of caring for those who have died”. This new work will use the full space of the massive Corbans Shed 1, and investigates themes of death, aloneness, Maori culture, ageing and sexuality.  An immersive dance theatre event, experiencing the structure, concept, and sound of what ‘Atamira’ is.

Wednesday 13 December, 
Thursday 14 December, 
Friday 15 December, 
Saturday 16 December,
All other performances
Early-bird adult
$30.00 if purchased before 20 October
Adult: $38.00 
Student / Concession: $25.00 
Groups of 6: + $30.00pp
Door sale (if available)
Adult: $45 
Student / Concession: $30 
No group door sales

Performers; Nancy Wijohn, Bianca Hyslop, Daniel Cooper, Sean MacDonald, Brydie Colquhoun, Imogen Tapara, Rosie Tapsell and Milly Kimberly Grant.

Maori contemporary dance , Dance , Cultural activation , Contemporary dance ,

1 hour

Ritual ruminations

Review by Jenny Stevenson 19th Dec 2017

In her ruminations on identity, death, darkness and light, Atamira choreographer, Kelly Nash delves into the spirit realm and examines the suffering and trenchant finality inherent in the body’s passing.  The slow revealing of multifarious spaces within the cavernous Corbans Estate theatre lends a surprising depth to the nebulous content – while also emphasising the meandering, episodic unfolding of the range of experiences depicted in the work.

Using a palette of predominantly blood red and white offset by the shimmering sheen of plastic Nash invokes her states of being with figures sighted at first dimly, through a gauze-like cloth and then revealed in the flesh, as they dance and enact rituals employing simple props that add elements of illusion and symbolism to the dance vocabulary.

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Ways of knowing death

Review by Francesca Horsley 19th Dec 2017

The passing of a beloved is always is painful. From the body’s disintegration to its last breathe, to what lies beyond, for both the dead and those left to mourn it is as unfathomable as it is matter of fact. Sacred ritual provides a means to negotiate this pathway.

Atamira Dance Company’s work, Atamira, choreographed by Kelly Nash, is an exploration of all that the journey encompasses – suffering, death, tangihanga and our way of making meaning from this most momentous – and for Nash frightening – event: the bringing of a life to its close.

Accompanying the work was …

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This is not theatre. This is an experience (it’s real).

Review by LMJ C 16th Dec 2017

This is not theatre; it is an experience.

This is not a review; it is a response.



Hollow. Space. Familiarity.

We have been here before.

The shed is a warehouse, a rehearsal / space. A gathering / place.

Tonight – a stage, tētahi ātamira.

Tonight – a vessel, tētahi ipu.

Vessel place holds history, holds memory, holds people.

Place holds me.

Projected rustling / kaleidoscopic soundwaves / portal

We enter. Enter we

A wail

Enter we. We enter.


A cry. A pain. A breath

Light through curtain we see


Like bodies floating. They multiply

A human and a shadow. We all have one

But not yet they are human.

Te Kore: shadow body of potentiality
Te Ao Mārama: flesh body of personality



Leaning. Group as structure / Group as support

And a green bewail

Papatūānuku. Papatūānuku


New world. Blue see(sea)

A jacket wears Sean

“These are just some thoughts on


On death

What if the jacket is death – read the book and sniff the flower

And there are many ways to die. What if
“I ignored the reality of everything”

Whisper of movement, a red


Is how we live our life the same as how we live our death?

Or how we die our death?


Silver pipe creature

Our insides, outside.

Our insides, connected to another.

Our insides, alien to how we

Might feel.


Imogen/Brydie. Brydie/Imogen.

We are each other, living.

And Milly has a power, that

We barely see but can feel.

And Brydie’s strength is slippery.

She escapes.


A cough from a woman

On a bed – many arms

Caress her. Deity.

Burning sage.

Rosie and Dan (d)emerging through

The crevice of the mattress is

A birth
A return.

An attempt to conquer death

But Hine-tītama is Hine-nui-te-pō.

And Rosie remains

(as the sage orbits my nose)


For the other world.


(But why do people die

When we care about them)


Next, is shedding/becoming/undoing

Space space space

She is alone she is (finally?) free

In death do we find our freedom?


Two men

Too men

Moving the other, pushing

How do we stay alive (who have I pushed away)

How do we stay alive (who has pushed me away)

Mutual pushing -both down or both up

The destruction of no won

No one winning

We all die, we all die.


Unison is canonised and someone

Pauses. A leg in the


This is personal; we all have our own


We all have our own stories. I’ve seen someone die.

Nancy is red. Nancy is latex



Does someone take us to die / do we ask them to come

Faint ghosts in the room (projections)

Are memories are people are us.

The space gets bigger.


Nancy guardian


Tinfoil wings veil a body


And the tinfoil wairua is breathing


The length of the space, endless and branches

Are cleansing, preparing and branches

Become a body, in the veil.


Nancy guardian


Opens the back door, daylight

Pours and


This is not theatre

This is an experience.

The bodies ascend

Jacob’s Ladder, at the top is


And down the front is

the red, it

Becomes a body, in the veil.


Enter ethereal

Inside an orb. Crystal. Water.

Backlit by dusk
(the final journey)
(the final struggle)

An embryonic transition.

The orb rises

Bianca inside. Crystal. Water.

An embryonic transition.

Do we become reborn?

To another world / to this world

Does anyone know what happens after death?

We all die, we all die.


The tinfoil body is wrapped, Milly says

Good bye.

Deflation at this realisation.

And Nancy guardian

Carries Bianca body.

They walk

The length

Ki Te Rerenga Wairua

As the white winds wash them.



Joins and as a group are drawn out


And Milly mourns the exit

But we see, calm at the end

Peace at the end.

The End.

A life, a death. Hope.

If we didn’t die, we wouldn’t live.

This is not theatre (this is not for show)

This is an experience (it’s real).



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Dynamic interaction of past, present and future

Review by Matt Tamariki 13th Dec 2017

This work is a dynamic interaction between the realms of ira tangata – the essence of human and ira atua – the essence of the gods, a delicate balance of power, vulnerability and pain as we acknowledge the past, present and future. 

The vibrant, creative surrounds of the Corbans Art Estate ease the stoic presence of Shed 1 provides the venue for Atamira Dance Company’s presentation of Atamira by choreographer Kelly Nash. 

Atamira – a platform for the dead, and stories of those passed, is called in as the core theme of this new work. 

As we enter the venue we approach an environment preset for a delicate yet powerful performance.

The way this story is told resonates with my world view of Te Ao Maori-the Māori world.  For me, it captures aspects of tikanga Māori and ceremony.  From ancient tales and contemporary metaphors that relate to the dominant themes of loss, death and transition. There are strong narrative references to Te Kore-the nothing, Te Po-the darkness, and other more subtle references to our Māori pantheon of atua-gods, Papatuanuku-Earth Mother and the creation of Hineahuone. This the genesis and the creation of life, is the balance of the key theme of death.   

The space appears to grow and move.  The power of this dance, narration, music, projection, vocals and sounds of nature carry us, the audience, through a range of personal and shared emotions.  Set against the dark industrial backdrop and ambience of Shed 1, this is both a physical and spiritual space that invites us as the audience to absorb and reflect. I found the layering of the narrative building in this way, enriched our total experience

The choreography is an exchange between the competing dualities of life and death.  Solo performances are touching, particularly from Nancy Wijohn whose elegant movements move me to reflect on the loss of loved ones who have moved through Te Arai – the veil, on their journey toward Te Reinga Wairua. 

The way the performers engage in the space and the use of the veils conjures up images of mists and allows the depth of thought and korero to be explored further.

Breath-taking storytelling and dancer Wijohn’s physical manifestation evoke memories within me, of welcoming our beloved whanau back to our paa, and then onto their final resting place, beyond this realm.

These ideas are also powerfully conveyed in stunning projected imagery upon physical veils or curtains.  The plastic, foil, and metallic materials starkly contrast the ideas of tikanga Māori and our natural environment, illustrating our inability to control nature and the evolution of Tikanga Māori. 

There are many moments that weave us in and out of the performance and bridge space for us to connect on very personal and deep levels.  

I encourage you too, to delve into the experience of this compelling work.  

He mihi aroha, he mihi maioha.


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