Whare Tapere 2012


04/02/2012 - 04/02/2012

Production Details

Whare Tapere 2012
Orotokare: Art, Story, Motion Trust
In Collaboration with Te Whanau-a-Haunui
4 February 2012
Kia kawea tatou e te rehia
Let us be taken by the spirit of joy and entertainment

At Waimango, near Tapapakanga Regional Park.
2.30-10pm (approx)   Entry by koha.

A free outdoor event with traditional Maori games, puppetry, musical instruments and at dusk the dance work Te Karohiroi, co-developed by Louise Potiki Bryant,  Charles Royal and Jack Gray.

Bring a picnic, blanket, warm clothes/raincoat, food, water. Carry away your rubbish. No swimming, no open fires.

Download map and driving instructions , plus background info:  http://www.orotokare.org.nz/assets/wharetapere2012info.pdf

Check web site for details if there should be inclement weather.


3-­‐6pm: Ngā Tākaro Games
Lead by Horomona Horo, Wiremu Mato and Eamon Nathan

4.00pm: A Presentation on the Whare Tapere Lead by Te Ahukaramū  Charles Royal 

6pm:  Reo –  A concert featuring traditional taonga pūoro, mōteatea chanting and digital textures (featuring Charles Royal, Horomona Horo, James Webster, Erina Daniels, Paddy Free, Erina Daniels)

7.15pm: Karetao Puppets Lead by James Webster 

9pm (approx): Te Kārohirohi: The Light Dances 
A new dance work by Louise Pōtiki-­‐Bryant in collaboration with Charles Royal and Jack Gray

2.30 -10pm

The Light Dancing: dancing

Review by Jenny Stevenson 05th Feb 2012

The last event in the day of Whare Tapere 2012, is the performance of Te Kārohirohi: The Light Dances, choreographed by Louise Pōtiki-Bryant in collaboration with Charles Royal and Jack Gray, which represents something of a watershed in dance performance in Aotearoa.  The culmination of seven years of collaborative research and development under the aegis of Ōrotokare: Art, Story, Motion, it places contemporary dance practice within the traditions of Māori mythology and ancient haka dance forms, at an elemental level, so that the dance becomes at one with the land.

Performed in the setting of a natural amphitheatre in Waimangō, the work emerges out of the darkness with tenuous orbs of diffused light, which gleam momentarily before being swallowed by the void.  Figures emerge as the eye adjusts to the dark, clutching woven baskets of the shimmering light against their bodies and then begin waving them aloft and arcing them through the air, as they proceed into movement formations. 

The analogy would seem to be that of the dawning of a new age, but could also reference the manner in which light interacts with the spectator, drawing them into the dancer’s world of magical possibilities.  The extraordinary music/sound track of Paddy Free, which underlies the sounds of traditional taonga pūoro with vocalising and chant, includes bird and insect sounds, and rents the air, adding to the mystical quality and surrounding the dancers with resonating waves of sound or barely audible, whisperings.

The dancers carefully place the lighted orbs down and then stake their claim to the space rolling and crawling on the ground with their bodies alternatively lit or in shadow.  A ring of theatre lights surrounding the stage and occasional slides, intensify this effect.  As they move around the circular space, with a floor of carefully-raked sand, an immediate connection between the dancers and the ground is apparent

During the developmental stages of the work, the choreographers/collaborators had apparently given themselves the task of accessing the inner emotions (cf. “the light within”) to transform their bodies in the dance – and they have succeeded.  The dancers’ customary lifted and extended posture often devolves into shapes or mis-shapes, which bring to mind the depictions of Vaslav Nijinski’s choreographic work. 

As the women rise and begin moving in diamond formations, their dance suggests the grace and sensual sway of the hula – both through the hips and the arms – at once sinuous and feminine, but also beguiling.  A beautiful solo by one of the women moves this vocabulary into a different realm, enlarging the movements through the body, until she succumbs to some unseen force and sinks gracefully to the ground.  The women’s movements would appear to depict a “lightness of being” and soft incandescence, as well as the reflective and illuminating properties of light.

In contrast, the male dancers’ energies suddenly become concentrated into ferocious and juddering bursts of movement that stir up storms of sand, as they posture and challenge, provoking reaction on a visceral level.  Their movements are reminiscent of the flashing, mercurial lightning of the sky, brief but vivid illuminations that are the startlingly ephemeral and jagged manifestations of nature.  It evokes a sense of the duality of nature and the manner in which its munificence is so easily shattered.  The male/female energies briefly coalesce as the dance concludes.

The performance creates a wealth of images and impressions that reflect not only “the light dancing” but also a force that is powerfully primeval.  Although Te Kārohirohi is theatrical in its execution, it is relatively easy to suspend belief and to allow that the dancers are indeed the guardians of this piece of land and that their dance harnesses the elements that have existed since its creation.


Paddy Free February 6th, 2012

Hi, I would just like to re-iterate that the attribution of "soundtrack by Paddy Free" in the review is somewhat inaccurate. The soundtrack to the performance was composed and performed by ALL the musicians (whom Jack has listed above). In fact, on the night, there would have been 80% live playing from the six musicians on stage, and only 20% pre-recorded underscore/backing tracks. I would in no way dream of claiming sole authorship of the soundtrack.

Just wanted to clear that up. Thank you for the review, and glad you enjoyed the night!!

Paddy Free

Jack Gray February 6th, 2012

Kia ora Jenny for your beautiful words. He mihi aroha kia koe.

As a co-choreographer for the work - I would like to pay due acknowledgement to the names of the following artists who contributed so much to the creative process and the performance of Te Karohirohi:

The Dancers

Wahine: Liana Yew, Kelly Nash, Cathy Livermore, Bianca Hyslop

Tane: Jack Gray, Mark Bonnington, Kani Collier, Ryan Carr, Arahi Easton

Sound/Light/Costume Design

Also, the soundtrack was a combination of recorded electronic soundscore by Paddy Free alongside the live performance of voice and Taonga Puoro by REO who consisted of: 

Voice: Charles Royal, Erina Daniels

Taonga Puoro: Horomona Horo, James Webster, Alistair Fraser, Jerome Mako

The lighting design was by Jeremy Fern with costume design by Bethany Edmunds and Ruth Woodbury. 

Mauriora, Jack Gray

Make a comment

Wellingon City Council
Aotearoa Gaming Trust
Creative NZ
Auckland City Council