Tertiary Colours (2012)
12/10/2012 - 13/10/2012
Top tertiary dance programmes from across the country offer an exciting range of short, innovative dance works. Featuring performances from University of Auckland, Unitec, AUT, Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT), East Auckland Performing Arts, Whitireia and Otago University.
Tertiary Colours returns in 2012 with an inspiring programme celebrating the most thrilling and innovative works from our tertiary dance programmes. Featuring student and professional choreographies from each of our featured schools, this programme highlights the diversity of our tertiary institutes and the enormous talent and uniqueness of our emerging artists.
Tertiary Colours offers an excellent opportunity for potential students to see the different aesthetics of our tertiary dance programmes and enjoy first-hand the excellent standard at which they are teaching.
Performers from: University of Auckland, Unitec, AUT, Manukau Institute of Technology (MIT), East Auckland Performing Arts, Whitireia and Otago University.
A rollercoaster programme
Review by Dr Linda Ashley 13th Oct 2012
Tertiary Colours 2012 is all about celebrating Aotearoa New Zealand’s cultural differences. Such differences can enrich our understanding of each other and the audience engages with an emotional rollercoaster of a show. Groups that are performing come from Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin.
East Auckland Performing Arts open the show with its director Elizabeth Harvey’s lighthearted confection Reation. A fun piece danced with suitable brightness. Later in the show former Sadler’s Wells Ballet principal dancer, Carl Myers’ Entrelacer is all class. A measured classical ballet in which the musicality and tasteful choreography provides the seven dancers with poise and opportunities to enjoy delicious nuggets of movement phrases, it also takes on the might of Ravel’s Bolero and wins.
Throughout the show, Whitireia Performing Arts provide us with the warm sunshine of Pacific Island dance. Tutor Tuaine Robati’s Tama Mahoi, a Cook Island solo for Te Hau Winitana, ripples through the space like the ocean motion. Her technical skill more than meets the strength and stamina required for this dancing. Later she reappears in Robati’s Tavake duet with Lameka Nehemia, and the audience can be heard to Ooooh and Ahhh at this treat of happiness on a stick. A Samoan Taualuga, choreographed byTupe Lualua, brings Shannon Lindsay to join the two dancers. This is all traditional grace and flow, whilst Nehemia provides a frame around the whole with unbridled enthusiasm. By way of contrast, a musical theatre piece Call Me Al, choreographed by tutor Amy Hughson, adds yet another cultural difference. Bridget Connor, Manaia Glassey-Ohlson and Samuel McCleod perform Broadway style song and dance, providing another Whitireia assured performance, capturing the wit, romance and technical range that this music requires.
As these joyful pieces are scattered amongst the programme, there are moments when the audience have to hold onto their emotional wherewithal, especially when juxtaposed with some of the more intensely, dark, contemporary dance works. Dance lecturer from Otago University, Ojeya Cruz Banks provides an introspective interrogation of a solo Tama Watea, for Shaun Shallish. Resulting from a project that aims to nourish young male dancer-choreographers and a residency with Jack Gray in which masculinity was explored, this solo plunders the shadows of a soul and Shallish’s untrained body offers a brave, rawness of sincerity.
Also in the darklands, Unitec third year student Grace Woollett’s Kaleidoscope evokes a layered, contemplative study of memory for herself and six of her peers. Solos and groups are set in motion in a fascinating flux and the vocabulary captures the slipperiness of how our past can pop out and take us by surprise or weigh us down. The choice of a bottle to hold the memories and the use of this prop are exploited to the full lending this piece a sense of maturity, possibly beyond Woollett’s years.
University of Auckland dance lecturer Pei-Jung Lee presents Planets #B612 for six dancers. Accompanied with a backdrop of storybook animation by Nicola Brady, this dance explores the philosophical narrative of The Little Prince. Lee’s previous pieces have also been concerned with how our busy lives can invade our sense of reality and the wide ranging movement pushes us on towards a final scene that is all about rainbows, flowers and making time to take in their fragrance.
A newcomer to the scene of tertiary performing arts is Manukau Institute of Technology. With 20 students, guest tutor/choreographer, Unitec graduate, Josh Rutter produces Glamour Technologies. I like to think that this work has emerged from a blend of practice with theory as it delves intoexploring the close relationship that young people have with the internet as a reality. There is an echo of the raw energy that the audience felt earlier but the sheer size of this group take attitude to a whole new level. Coolarama struts through hyperspace and it’s all about conforming, and it’s not all pretty, but it is pretty funny in places.
AUT University Bachelor of Dance Senior Lecturer, Jennifer Nikolai’s Take 8 (research assistant/video director Grace Crawford) brings the show to a contemporary and, for me at least, moving close. The digital world is visited, but this is the technical side featuring 3 live dancers playfully interacting with 2 cameras and 15 dancers on the split screen behind them. In this labyrinthine dialogue between live dance and various digital formats we are taken down memory lane as a group of alumni and postgraduate students regroup in a fitting danced tribute and celebration of the degree which AUT has now ceased to offer on financial grounds seemingly brought about by government capping of places in tertiary education.
Tertiary Colours this year brought to life and celebrated the cultural richness and qualities of what dance can offer society, something the AUT executive seem to have difficulty balancing against financial formulae that provide ‘economies of scale’. So, as more and more dance students come through from studying NCEA dance looking for places to study, and dance programme numbers are capped, we have to wonder where the 30 or so students who would have enrolled on AUT’s BDance may go to study. If anyone has the answer to where such bright young talent can go I’d love to hear from you because I finished the evening weeping – and it wasn’t in celebration.
P.S. Huge respect to the amazingness of Q Theatre Production Team who pulled of a feat of mammoth proportions lighting and staging this show!
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