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The NZ Dance Company debuts 'Matariki for Tamariki' show this July

Wednesday 22 May 2019

The NZ Dance Company debuts 'Matariki for Tamariki' show this July

The New Zealand Dance Company (NZDC) presents the premiere season of 'Matariki for Tamariki'—their first full-length work specifically created for children and "kidaults" alike. Proudly a part of Auckland's 'Matariki Festival' and the 'Auckland Live Kids' 2019 season, accomplished New Zealand dancer and choreographer Sean MacDonald (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāi Tahu) has developed an enchanting and engaging dance journey, appearing at Auckland's Bruce Mason Centre and Māngere Arts Centre this July.

Travelling through the season as the Matariki constellation that signals the Māori New Year dawns and sets, the dancers will tell the story of traversing across Aotearoa's landscape through lush ngahere (forests), mighty maunga (mountains), and majestic moana (oceans). The nine whetū (stars) of Matariki all have their own history and personality, with their wairua (spirit) inhabited by NZDC's talented professional dancers in this full-length work, to create an accessible, heartfelt show for the whole whānau.

The Matariki story is one that touches all, a universally relevant exploration of the cycles of life, delving into the relationship between voyages, nature and the cosmos. The 50-minute journey for the whole family delves into what Matariki means to the artists creating the work, the youth participants and the audience.

Sean's majestic and humorous choreography is paired with evocative costume and set design by Rona Ngahuia Osborne, and spectacular sound design by Alistair Deverick (Boycrush) to inspire joy and gratitude for the whenua (land) we call home. Performing this innovative new work are some of NZDC's most elite artists—Chrissy Kokiri (Te Arawa), Carl Tolentino, and Katie Rudd who have been fulltime with the Company since 2016. They'll be joined by Eddie Elliot who last danced with the Company for the international tour of Lumina in 2018, newcomer Ngaere Jenkins (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Tuwharetoa)—a recent graduate of the New Zealand School of Dance—and lastly Taniora Motutere (Te Rarawa, Ngā Puhi, Ngāti Whātua, Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Tuwharetoa) who makes his NZDC return in this energetic new work.

An exciting element of these performances will be two affiliated Youth Winter Schools (one at each venue) for aspiring dancers ages 12 years and older. Students "live a week in the life" of NZDC's professional dancers, participating in daily contemporary technique and creative choreography sessions, culminating in a rare opportunity to perform alongside NZDC members in 'Matariki for Tamariki'. The two separate Youth Winter Schools will be held at the Bruce Mason Centre July 8–13 and Māngere Arts Centre July 15–20 and limited "pay what you can" options are available for young people in need through funding from Youthtown. Engaging with audiences across Auckland as part of their annual Tāmaki tour, these public performances fall during the July school holidays 2019.