The Auckland Performing Arts Centre: TAPAC, Auckland

01/10/2008 - 03/10/2008

Tempo Dance Festival 2008

Production Details

Following the success of Whakairo in 2007, New Zealand’s leading Māori contemporary dance company are back with a new season of inspired work called MAPUNAPUNA at TAPAC Theatre from Wednesday 1 October.

Inspired by the pearly trail of the pacific, MAPUNAPUNA means rippling outwards, and is a segue-way from previous successful full-length theatre productions towards the development of fresh, innovative, entertaining and accessible short new works by Atamira. Through MAPUNAPUNA, Atamira explores the connection between Māori and the age of ukuleles, goddesses, spoken word, community dances, traditional music and show-bands. With a line up of four short new works by Atamira choreographers Maaka Pepene, Jack Gray and Dolina Wehipeihana with Director Waimihi Hotere and guest Choreographer Moana Nepia. MAPUNAPUNA promises something for everyone.

MAAPUNA by Jack Gray
Inspired by Atamira’s recent tour to Hawaii, Maapuna explores the beauty and delicateness of Hawaiian Hula Dance with sensual bodies moving like ocean breezes.

TE KORE by Maaka Pepene
Maaka creates a poignant duet based on the whakatauki ‘Ka mate he tetekura, ka ora he tetekura’ – ‘From death comes life, from life comes death’.

THE STARLIGHT BALLROOM by Dolina Wehipeihana and Waimihi Hotere Inspired by the era of the show-bands. The Starlight Ballroom is a window into the timeless optimism of youth, aroha, and above all having a good time.

WAIATA POI by Guest Choreographer Moana Nepia
Waiata Poi draws the rhythmic and percussive intricacies of short poi into a new work for five dancers set to an original soundscape of poi, breath, piupiu and song.

"Atamira Dance Collective goes from strength to strength and is now the hotspot of contemporary dance in Auckland" New Zealand Herald, 2006

Founded in 2000, Atamira Dance Collective have presented work to critical acclaim in New Zealand and internationally including ‘Ngai Tahu 32’ (Best Contemporary Dance Production 2004, NZ Listener), ‘Memoirs of Active Service’ (Best Work by an emerging Choreographer 2006, NZ Listener), and ‘Whakairo’ (Best New Work by an Emerging Choreographer 2007, NZ Listener, Winner of 3 Tempo Awards for Best Choreography, Best Music & Best Set Design).

Choreography Maaka Pepene, Jack Gray, Dolina Wehipeihana with director Waimihi Hotere,
Guest choreography Moana Nepia

Dancers: Jack Gray, Maaka Pepene, Justine Pepene-Hohaia, Nancy Wijohn, Gaby Thomas, Dolina Wehipeihana and Louise Potiki Bryant.

Dates: Wednesday 1 October – Friday 3 October, 6pm
Venue: TAPAC Theatre, 100 Motions Rd, Western Springs
Tickets: $25/ $20/ $15 service fees apply
Booking: Ticketek ph 09 3075000
Duration: 60 mins

Jack Gray, Maaka Pepene, Justine Pepene-Hohaia, Nancy Wijohn, Gaby Thomas, Dolina Wehipeihana and Louise Potiki Bryant

1 hr, no interval

Tender and wicked

Review by Raewyn Whyte 07th Oct 2008

Popular with [Tempo 08’s] opening week audiences were two works in progress presented by Atamira. Maaka Pepene’s darkly lit duet, Te Kore, beautifully danced by himself and Justine Pepene-Hohaia, at once explored the Creation realm of Māori tradition and the intimacy of procreation and birth. With a subtle ambient score by Tapua Heydon Hohaia, the dancers entwined and continually shifted their positions against the floor, drawing the audience into their tender embrace without any sense of voyeurism.

In utter contrast, Moana Nepia’s brightly lit Waiata Poi had the dancers dressed in alternating layers of bitter orange and bright pink netting attached to laced-up bodices for the women and bare chests for the men, suggesting at once postmodern ballet tutus, candy floss cones, fire poi, and a flock of chattering parrots.  [More]
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Decidedly and richly entertaining

Review by 02nd Oct 2008

Some artists can make a dark thing light; dark, not as in lack of light, nor light as in superfluous humour but more about shades. In this performance of Atamira Dance Collective it seems more about the shades of time.

Maaka Pepene’s Te Kore, which opens this programme, is barely lit. Lighting designer Vanda Karolczak has a knack of lighting dance darkly and this sensuous, dancing loving between Pepene and Justine Pepene-Hohaia unfolds as the night makes way to day. This dance similarly releases us into an eclectic programme.

Each dance is an opportunity for a different choreographic exposure, not seamless but decidedly and richly entertaining.

Atamira dancers, like many of this country’s job and independent dancers, lack some of the finesse and movement ranges that I associate with high end contemporary dance theatre, but their exploration of Māoriness, of gesture and history, has an integrity which pulls their work back into excellence. Subtle, gestural reminders of ritualised movement remains at the forefront of their work and promotes opportunity after opportunity to dip deeply into the realms of expression that have made this dancing troupe what they are.

According to the programme notes, Jack Gray’s Maapuna was inspired by a recent trip to Hawaii. It is as though Gray has reached into a cellular self to find the traces of much older movement memories.

Louise Potiki Bryant’s most successful film so far again dips into the unconscious; the textures between natural forms and body shifting between shades of beauty, provoking rhythms as timeless as wind.

The Starlight Ballroom by Dolina Wehipeihana and Waimihi Hotere, though an uneasy fit with this show, suggests a desire for a more (or less?) visceral response too. Pepene’s acute sensitivity in his soulful singing and diatribes hold a question for me, about the nature of their work, their message, and about the opportunity for this performance vehicle to allow Atamira to most fully explore their artistic voices.

Guest choreographer Moana Nepia has works in two different programmes at the tempo dance Festival. Both well worth watching. It is really refreshing to see his work back out of the box. Waiata Poi is deliciously faulty, not that subtle, droll and fun, with lovely, lovely costumes … A crowd pleaser? I think so.

These dancers and choreographers have sent us a great show. It is deep, not so deep, dark but not dark. It’s great – a great tempo start for me anyway.


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