Raye Freedman Arts Centre, Gillies Avenue (Cnr Silver Road) Epsom, Auckland

12/11/2020 - 15/11/2020

Production Details

Showcase 2020 featuring the Unitec Dance students in their end of year production performing works by guest choreographers; Sarah Foster-Sproull, Claire O’Neil, Charlene Tedrow, Rose Philpott, Chrissy Kokiri, Teiaro Taikato & Ariana Williams, and Yiling Chen.

Mauri Tū, Mauri Ora

Choreography: Ariana Williams (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti
Tūwharetoa), Teiaro Taikato (Ngāi Te Rangi ki Rangiwaea, Te
Arawa ki Maketu, Ngāti Raukawa ki te Tonga)
Music: Live Taoga Pūoro, and guitar by Teiaro Taikato and
Kauri Williams
Cast: Unitec Dance Students, Year one, two, & three


Choreography: Claire O’Neil
Music: Sound advisor and arrangement – Kristian Larsen
Tracks: Looming by Rival Consoles, The Bristol Project by Vito
Acconci, Drum Part by Kristian Larsen, My Body by Perfume
Cast: Imogen Mackintosh (not performing), Joshua Edwards,
Grace Nemeth, Mele Taumoeanga, Niamh Hogan, Katie
Heaven, Sophie Brown, Jane Smolira, Grace Nickel, Stella
Grace Seawright, Charlotte Barrand, Dan-Yel James, Gabby
Terras, Jake Starrs, Leila Akers, ‘Isope Akau’ola, Eden
Matthews, Sydney Magnus, Te Atarangi Richards (Ngāti
Pūkenga, Ngāti Whanaunga), Andre Busby (Te Rawara), Ella
Rerekura (Te Āti Haunui-a-Pāpārangi, Ngāti Tuwharetoa), Tara
Hodge (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Whare)

Left of Spring

Choreography: Rose Philpott
Music: Hannah Lynch (Ngāti Porou) with assistance from Eden
Cast: Dana Dawson, Deciree Espino, Ebony Nichols, Gemma
Rundle , Georgia Menhennet, Jordana Arnold, Lulu Qiu, Liz
Cocks, Priya Miller, Robert Bloomfield, Sasha Matsumoto,
Susanna Dawber, Weichu Huang, Lynn (Yiyang Liu), Pati
Leiataua (Gataivai Savaii, Puipa’a Upolu), Kaliyah Lima (Ngāti
Paoa, Ngāti, Whanauga), Kereana Mosen (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti
Hauā), Madison Tumataroa (Ngāti Kahungunu), Natasha van
Etten (Ngāi Te Rangi), Anthony Te Puke (Ngāpuhi, Tainui),
Bailey Dewar (Ngāti Kahungunu), Rebecca Johnson (Te Arawa)

Hineni (film)

Choreography: Yiling Chen
Music: Partita No. 2, J.S. Bach
Cast: Yijun Deng, Yixin Zhang, Shuyi Zou

Le Manu Tagi (The weeping Pigeon)

Choreography: Charlene Tedrow
Music: Amuia le lupe (Le manu tagi e) by Maulolo Matuloa
Toevai, cover performed by Audrey English, Mataloa – Te vaka
Cast: Pati Leiataua (Gataivai Savaii, Puipa’a Upolu), Liz Cocks,
Priya Miller, Robert Bloomfield, Ray Santiago, Weichu
Huang, Aimee Edwards, Rebecca Johnson (Te Arawa), Bailey
Dewar (Ngāti Kahngunu), Kereana Mosen (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti


Before The Dawn

Choreography: Chrissy Kokiri (Te Arawa)
Music: Completely Gone by Emptyset, Fear Ending by Kim
Jae Duk, original score by Lucien Johnson
Cast: Georgia Foley, Jordana Arnold, Sasha Matsumoto, Caleb
Heke (Ngāpuhi), Oli Mathiesen (Ngāpuhi), Sharvon Mortimer
(Ngāti Porou), Anthony Te Puke (Ngāpuhi, Tainui), Madison
Tumataroa (Ngāti Kahunugunu), Jess Crompton (Maori)
Understudies: Tobyn Gregory, Natasha van Etten (Ngāti Te


Choreography: ‘Isope ‘Akau’ola and Jake Starrs
Music: Subtotem by Mount Shrine
Cast: ‘Isope ‘Akau’ola and Jake Starrs

Rave Pattern

Choreography: Sarah Foster-Sproull
Music: Original Score by Eden Mulholland
Cast: Georgia Foley, Ray Santiago, Katie Shaw, Aimee
Edwards, Carla Harre, Caleb Heke (Ngāpuhi), Oli Mathiesen
(Ngāpuhi), Dana Moore-Mudgway (Te Ātiawa, Rangitāne),
Sharvon Mortimer (Ngāti Porou), Jess Crompton (Māori), Tobyn
Gregory (Ngāpuhi)


Dance , Contemporary dance ,

2 hours

Diverse dance works showcase extraordinary talent

Review by Nicole Wilkie 13th Nov 2020

Unitec Dance Showcase is a representation of the budding talent of our young Aotearoa dance students being nurtured and prepared for entering the industry. The showcase is an extraordinary display of skilful and provoking choreography, and the prowess of the performers is a credit to the Unitec dance programme. I want to acknowledge the incredibly difficult year it has been for students and tutors alike, with lockdowns forcing them to adapt and create their work digitally and isolated from one another. To end the year on such a high note despite the challenges associated with creating dance while separated from one another is a testament to the dedication and perseverance of all parties involved.

The showcase begins with Mauri Tū, Mauri Ora; an activation of the space bringing the three year groups together. Combining a welcoming mihi, tī rākau, waiata and haka, the dancers perform with a palpable ihi that creates a strong presence leading into the rest of the pieces.

OFF GRiD by Claire O’Neil is a hypnotic, rhythmic piece performed by the first-year class. Much of the movement is classically contemporary in style and reminds me of the classes I took myself when completing my first year of studies at Unitec several years ago. The use of momentum and fall and recovery features heavily, with dancers creating a grid system, only to weave in and out of this pattern, constantly constructing and deconstructing. The spatial design of the piece is expertly performed, and I am blown away that these students are only in their first year of study! The piece is engaging throughout and I am looking forward to seeing how these artists at the beginning of their dance education journey develop their craft in the coming years.

Left of Spring, performed by the second year cohort led by choreographer Rose Philpott, is a dance work filled with standoffs between performers, quirky movement reminiscent of the post-modern dance era of the 1960s, and use of gesture. When the lights come up on the dancers, displaying their billowing soft pink costumes, we immediately realise that the title of the work is a clever pun on the famous ballet ‘The Rite of Spring’. The dancers switch between staccato and flux with ease, and a particular highlight of the work is the duet and solo sections, with dancers demonstrating their individual skill and their ability to connect physically and emotionally with others in the performance space. The division of the space in the larger group sections is satisfying to watch, with the entire space being used effectively and efficiently.

Hineni is a dance film created by Yiling Chen, in collaboration with Beijing Dance Academy students Yijun Deng, Yixin Zhang, and Shuyi Zou. Due to physical isolation as a result of the global pandemic, the work is created using live-stream and cloud-transfer applications to combat the fact that the dancers cannot share the same space at present. The film is poignant and addresses the need for new platforms and innovative ways of creating dance collaboratively despite physical and social distance.

Le Manu Tagi, which translates from Samoan as ‘the weeping pigeon’, is a Siva Samoa that contemplates themes of loss and isolation. Choreographed by Charlene Tedrow, the movement is mesmerising to watch, and the performers make this elaborate cultural dance form look effortless. Their movement is exact and precise, and performed with love and care.

Before the Dawn by guest choreographer Chrissy Kokiri is a dynamic, high energy piece to begin the second half of the showcase. The driving music sets the tone and the dancers rise to match it. The use of the dancer’s clothing being manipulated as a choregraphic device is alluring, and the dancers navigate the space throughout with rhythmic precision. A highlight of the piece is the duet between year three students Sharvon Mortimer and Caleb Heke, which is just simply gorgeous.

Tangata, devised and performed by first year students ‘Isope ‘Akau’ola and Jake Starrs is an examination of masculinity, the relationships built between men and the societal pressure men face to suppress emotion and fragility. This duet is a stand out piece of the programme, and the performers engage wholly in the movement with skill and maturity far beyond their years. They show care and support for one another, their partnering is deliberate and adept, and both men commit to the ideologies with conviction.

Rave Pattern, performed by the graduating third year class and facilitated by choreographer Sarah Foster-Sproull, is a lively end to the show inspired by the 90s rave scene in its music, costume and movement. The dancers emerge with giant psychedelic, brightly coloured masks displaying wild facial expressions, and through both these and the movement material the dancers each express their individuality. The departure from a typical ‘serious’ piece for dancers in their final year is refreshing, and the dancers have the opportunity through this work to articulate both their obvious proficiency in dance, and their personalities as performers which shine through in the hair whipping, quick-stepping, high energy movement. It is a celebration of the culmination of years of hard work as this cohort prepares to enter the industry, which feels like an appropriate expurgation of the emotions associated with the challenges the students and the wider dance community have faced this year. Rave Pattern ends the show on a high, and I wish the talented dance artists all the best for the next steps in their dance careers.

Unitec Dance’s Showcase combines dance works of all kinds, from calm and contemplative, to dynamic and wild. This serves to show the diversity of the contemporary dance industry in Aotearoa, and I am confident that these dancers will become well-rounded, resolute artists. Congratulations to all dancers and choreographers, and to the graduating class, go forth into the industry, be bold, and keep cultivating your craft. Unitec Dance Showcase 2020 is not to be missed!


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