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Wed 17 Sep 2008–Sat 20 Sep 2008, 8:30pm–9:30pm

Where: BATS Theatre, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

Ticket Information:

  • Adult: $18.00
  • Student/Unwaged: $13.00
  • Additional fees may apply

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Listed by: Brianne Kerr

A subtle and spiritual dance about the nature of love.

Tuawhenua is a poetic Maori contemporary dance theatre performance about the nature of love and loss, turmoil through separation and a transformation into a new life.

“The ashes are blown out of the Land of Winter and settle over a quiet hinterland of earth, moss and lichen”

Meaning ‘hinterland’ or ‘interior’, Tuawhenua also implies something beyond the earth and beyond the flesh – a spiritual release like a heartfelt sigh. Nature acts as a metaphoric canvas for the troubled heart, evoking sensations of ice, ocean, butterflies, clouds and pine trees.

Two dancers (Nancy Wijohn and Shannon Mutu) weave together different perspectives of the “lover” and the “departed”, in a compelling love story about the discoveries that come from heartbreak and resurrection. The dance is experienced through a delicate unfolding of time and space, inspired by Kabuki Theatre evoking a Chinese Zen Garden.

Tuawhenua is shown through innovative contemporary dance directed by Jack Gray, set to an intricately manipulated soundscape produced by Charlotte 90. Jack Gray Dance is an Auckland-based Maori contemporary dance company that collaborates with contemporary and traditional performing artists. Their recent works include: Electrify Walk Bride (Generation Project 2007) and View from the Gods (Body Festival and Tempo Festival 2006).

A freelance dance artist since 1999, Jack Gray has worked internationally in Austria, Czech Republic, France, Hawaii, Malta, New Caledonia, Serbia and Taiwan. He is currently a dancer in projects such as Atamira Dance Collective and has performed recently in Wellington with Maui (2006) and Sleep/Wake workshop (2008).

“I am very excited to debut my own project in Wellington. It is a vision that I have conceptualised over a period of time that continues to evolve and grow. I was inspired after being within nature and feeling the vibrations of the land, water and sky, feed my creative spirit in a nourishing way. I wanted to capture the essence of this feeling and find a way to tell a story about the impressions of love and loss that are left imprinted in our memories and bodies. The company I am collaborating with have all offered beautiful insights into how the work is told and conveyed”. – Jack Gray

Tuawhenua is his Dance Your Socks Off Festival and Bats Theatre debut.

Also featuring live taonga puoro played by Wellington's Alistair Fraser and actress Ngapaki Emery (Vula).

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