Monday, September 28, 2009

Leaping into the Spotlight

One of the big attractions at this year’s Body Festival in Christchurch is bound to be the award-winning show, Tama Ma, performed by two of New Zealand’s most acclaimed contemporary dancers, Taane Mete and Taiaroa Royal. The pair premiered Tama Ma at the Tempo Dance Festival in Auckland in 2008, where it received rave reviews, standing ovations and sell-out performances.
Still from the short film Pito Act 1
This evocative performance takes the form of a five act autobiographical dance journey, which tells the story of two men who travel from boyhood to manhood. It’s a real life tale of life, love, sorrow and joy. The five-part act moves from a short dance film projected on stage to a drag queen’s journey to femininity and the return back to masculinity; a young boy’s connection to his whanau (family) and iwi (tribe); and a mature man’s ideas of identity. “We do not often see choreography that is so deeply drawn from a core of Maori culture and personal experience,” says Jennifer Shennan in the Dominion Post.
Zoomslide Films director, Mark Summerville and producer, Heather Lee collaborated on Tama Ma, producing the short film, Pito that plays in Act 1 of the show. Distinguished choreographer, Douglas Wright worked on Act 2; and extraordinary talents of Michael Parmenter have shaped Act 4, Hand to Hand. Act 3, Rangatahi, explores remembered connections to whanau and iwi; and Act 5, Whanaungatanga, explores whanau and spirituality as Mete and Royal pay homage to their late fathers. It is an especially moving piece that sees both men reflect on the important life lessons learnt from their fathers’ tautoko (support) and korero (talk). The show runs in Christchurch at James Hay Theatre on October 6.
Images Courtesy of Elephant Publicity and The Body Festival

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