Fresh 2013

Q Theatre Loft, 305 Queen St, Auckland

10/10/2013 - 11/10/2013

TEMPO Dance Festival 2013

Production Details

Addicted to Distraction – Grace Woollett
A new contemporary dance work with an interest in curiosity. Our desire for instant gratification in all things, is ultimately fueled by the mundane. Constant cycles of distraction holding forever fading satisfaction, and the loss of what it is to simply be.  With the goal of closeness, we have instead achieved greater distance from our fellow humans.  Meaning in life substituted by a plastic reality, sold to us from birth as “happiness”. Curiosity has been replaced.

The Pacific Muse – Tepaeru-Ariki Lulu French
Through the natural elements; AIR, WATER, EARTH & FIRE; we explore and challenge the ‘white’ construct of the Pacific as a ‘sexual paradise’ as promoted through European-colonial literature and intellectual legacy.  This is a vehicle of political action and social activism. We must be cautious how we invite or romanticise ‘Pasifika-ness’ and who we accept on our shores.  What values and what changes will they bring?

Mattie Hamuera and Sophie Williams – Lovers of the Lake    
This duet celebrates the love and unity of two of our illustrious ancestors, Hinemoa and Tutanekai, depicting their story through contemporary dance, multimedia technology and aspects of Kapahaka. Our Maori cultural heritage thrives on communicating and sharing knowledge through song and dance. We believe that through our passion and love for performing arts we can continue to sustain our indigenous culture and knowledge, the way our ancestors have always done. 

27 MAN/MADE/HEAVEN – Jahra Rager
History repeats.  Utilising the elements of movement, text and media, 27 MAN/MADE/HEAVEN is a solo work centred around the extremes of the human condition, dealing with internal and external oppression. Touching on past and present social issues, it attempts to weave the real personal and historical extremes of what it means to be human – and to not be free.

Music & Movement – Andrew Cesan & Simon Watts
An exploration of music and rhythm told through body percussion, drumming, contemporary tap styles and street beats.  With a wide variety of expertise across dance genres, molding these influences along with live percussion and live music production produces a fresh and revolutionary show all about music and movement.


Choreographers Sophie Williams & Mattie Hamuera

Performers Sophie Williams & Mattie Hamuera

Music    Hinemoa and Tutanekai by Mattie Hamuera



Choreographer Jahra Rager        

Performers Jahra Rager

Music Strange Fruit – Nina Simone



Choreographer Tepaeru-Ariki Lulu French

Performers Dasha Tarasova, Karin Amituanai, Ashley Hunt Fidow

Music    Extracted recordings- Drums Across Lagoon; “Mana”- Robyn Loau/Anthony Copping Last Voices from Heaven:Siva Pacifica; “Ei Raro i te tumu nu”- The Great Music of The Cook Islands; “Otea Tavevo” & “Te to’a E” - L’Apelle Te Tiaoro (Grand Prix Du Haiva I Tahiti 1997); “Aitutaki/Pukapuka Beat Remix”- Drum beats of the Pacific vol.3; ‘akameitaki ia Iehova”- Heimana Studios


Choreographer Grace Woollett

Performers Ellen Chitty, Grace Woollett, Jahra Rager

Music    How it ended by Twos. Waldensamkeit by Yakamoto Kotzuga.




Choreographers Simon Watts and Andrew Cesan

Company Two Man Crew

Performer Simon Watts



Dance , Contemporary dance ,

1 hour

Thoughtful and sophisticated fresh new works

Review by Kerry-Ann Stanton 11th Oct 2013

Each year when I see Fresh I wonder what the preoccupations of the up and coming choreographers will be.  This year in the performances I see themes emerging of exploring and claiming right relationship to self and others, and of having a personal and social voice.   Billed as thoughtful, compelling and fun, Fresh 2013 is an experience that delivers, with a level of sophistication.

Nga Whaiaipo o te Roto starts the night thoughtfully, with the simplicity of a soundscape and the two dancers, Sophie Williams and Mattie Hamuera placed at a distance from each other.  This distance is maintained throughout much of the dance as Hinemoa and Tutanekai journey towards their eventual tryst.  Their voices are heard through Mattie on taonga puoro and a gentle duet, sung live. There are elements of the modern and the traditional in the dancer’s movements particularly with their hands.   Patterns of movement echo and repeat as the longing for each other builds.  The final coming together is an energetic and enmeshing exploration before a final close embrace.  Throughout the piece, film of bush and lake changes the quality of the light, taking us into the night.  Use of korowai or cloaks asserts male and female, land and sea; once uncloaked revealing themselves to each other … thoughtful indeed.

Jahra Rager brings herself onto the stage and signals the changeover by gently handing Hinemoa (Sophie) her cloak.  Jahra’s solo 27 man / made / heaven is a contrast energetically.  Use of counting, not always in sequence, punctuates the piece. 9, 9 ,  9 1 1 – gunshots, how many?  This is an intense piece with the tension held by pace of movement, strong use of moody to manic eyes, and angular shapes of the body.  There is obvious distress, slow burning in squats and rolls and countered by shuddering, shivering and stretching.  Jahra counts in prose, 3, 9, 6, 7, 12 – voices won’t stop bullets. Her prose is echoed by Nina Simone singing ‘Strange Fruit’. Personal narrative or political statement; either is possible in this world of personal and political unrest, a compelling piece.

Any breath I am holding in is released with arrival of The Pacific Muse and the incongruous sight of three ‘white maidens’ swanning onto the stage, swaying with provocative hip movements. Presented as an intentional parody of colonisation, the maidens are dressed in tongue-in-cheek costumes of white leotards, leggings and white raffia skirts with large white flowers in their hair.  The donning of large corset-waisted petticoat hoops signals their ‘caging’.  Hoops sway in balletic motion, arms in civilised port de bras.  Reclaiming themselves at church tim,e the holy trinity of Dasha Tarasova, Karin Amituanai and Ashley Hunt Fidow ground their movements to the drum beat instead.  This is a piece with a light-hearted social voice.

As the Pacific Muses sashay off, another trio, Ellen Chitty, Grace Woollett and Jahra Rager, place themselves in a triangle pattern, heads down.  The initial moves are an interesting examination of shape with yoga influenced poses.  I experience a lack of development of the movement in this piece; however given the title Addicted to Distraction this may well be intentional!  The dancers leap, scurry and move in varying patterns of triangles always seeming to be preparing; preparing for what?  Maybe they are preparing for interaction, but no, back into independent movement, dancing competently all the while. As they slow down, connection begins and the dancers back off stage clutching their heads as the ‘boy’ arrives on stage.  

The final piece is simple and short as the fun finally arrives in the form of Simon Watts, minus the injured Andrew Cesan.  Humour, sleight of hands, impeccable rhythm that is rubbed from the hands to the feet with a large smile!  Street clothes and street entertainment par excellence.


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