Black Grace Grass Roots Tour

Regent Theatre, The Octagon, Dunedin

12/06/2008 - 12/06/2008

Production Details

Black Grace Grass Roots Tour of the South Island

Black Grace has just returned from a hugely successful tour of North America, including a short season at the Tjibaou Centre in Noumea, New Caledonia. The company were thrilled and humbled by the full house standing ovations from their almost completely sold out tour!  Audiences and critics alike were blown away by the work raving over the physicality, skill and carefully woven Pacific and contemporary dance traditions.

Now wanting to serve their home base which they haven’t visited for some time Black Grace begin their ‘Grass Roots Tour’ of the South Island on June 6 touring ten centres giving 12 performances in 16 days.

The Grass Roots Tour is a collection of dance pieces choreographed by Neil Ieremia on Black Grace over the last 10 years. Touring to ten South Island regional centres from Motueka to Invercargill, the Company will perform complete works as well as excerpts from major full-length works; including Surface (2003) and Amata (2007).

Black Grace is New Zealand’s leading contemporary dance company and has held a unique position on the world stage for over 12 years. Fusing Pacific and contemporary dance in an extraordinary and dynamic form, Black Grace has become internationally renowned for its artistry, creative excellence and innovation, while also becoming the world’s leading exponent of Pacific contemporary dance.

Neil Ieremia, Black Grace founder and Artistic Director, is in the vanguard of New Zealand’s most accomplished choreographers and, through his vision, imbues Black Grace with an explosive mix of rhythm, spirit and energy. In recognition of his considerable achievements, Neil was the recipient of the 2005 Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate Award for outstanding creative achievement and his contribution to the Arts in New Zealand.

The repertoire includes; Minoi, a signature work based on the fusion of Samoan and western contemporary dance styles, Method , which was originally commissioned by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in 1999 and set to the music of J. S. Bach and Human Language , a provocative work examining the physical language that exists between men and women.

For more information see:  Tickets can be purchased via Ticketek 0800 224224.    

Grass Roots Tour

Blenheim, Marlborough Centre
June 6, 7:30PM
Bookings: Ticketek
0800 224 224

Christchurch, Ngaio Marsh Theatre
June 8 – 9, 7:30PM
Bookings: Ticketek
(03) 377 8899

Waimate, Regent Theatre
June 10, 7:30PM
Bookings: Parkers
(03) 689 8772

Dunedin, Regent Theatre
June 12, 7:30PM
Bookings: Ticketek
(03) 477 8597

Invercargill, Civic Theatre
June 13, 7:30PM
Bookings: TicketDirect
0800 224 224

Wanaka, Lake Wanaka Centre
June 15, 2PM and 7:30PM
Bookings: Wanaka I site
TicketDirect 0800 224 224

Greymouth, Regent Theatre
June 17, 7:30PM
Bookings: Regent Theatre
(03) 768 0920

Westport, St James Theatre
June 18, 7:30PM
Bookings: Westport I-Site
(03) 789 6658

Motueka, Memorial Hall
June 19, 7:30PM
Bookings: Buddens Bookshop

Nelson, Suter Gallery Theatre
June 20, 7:30PM
Bookings: Everyman Record Store

David William
Luke Hanna
Sean MacDonald
Tupua Tigafua

Apprentice dancer
Brent Dockary

Guest Dancers
Abby Crowther
Lauren Carr
Janessa Dufty

Nik Janiurek   

Celebratory and playful

Review by Barbara Snook 13th Jun 2008

There is a youthful energy about the Black Grace Company’s Grass Roots Tour. This is possibly due to the playful nature of the choreography where subtle humour bridges all boundaries and makes the work accessible to all. The individual characteristics of the dancers shine through and the audience love and absorb every moment of the program.

Black Grace is well known for an athletic and powerful style and this was evident in each of the six dances in the program.  The unique and uncomplicated movement vocabulary contains body percussion, the use of small jumps to travel round the stage and a running movement where the dancers remain on the spot lifting bent legs forward and back. These distinctive motifs are employed along with lifts that are made to appear effortless and a variety of ritualised movement that highlight the specific work being performed.

Each of the six works performed engage the audience. The music of the Howard Morrison Quartet in ‘War Brides’ adds a level of quirky humour to a serious subject. ‘Human Language’ delights the audience with an exploration into the physical language existing between the sexes. The male dancers play with balloons in a clever yet simple manner that has the audience rolling around with laughter.

It is the last work of the evening, ‘Method’ that leaves the audience in no doubt that they have witnessed some wonderful choreography performed by accomplished and energised dancers. ‘Method’ displays all the strength and agility of rugby players combining with it the beauty inherent in the movement vocabulary.  As the program notes suggest, "an interesting juxtaposition between the raw and the refined".

Black Grace brings culture alive in a celebratory and playful manner. Cross cultural boundaries are bridged through the accessible choreographic style.  Bodies speak louder than words and the intuitiveness of the movement speak to the heart and soul of each audience member. 


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