Dancers grace Scottish stage

SHELLEY GRECO
Last updated 05:00 18/07/2014
Joash Tuugamusu’s
INTERNATIONAL DANCER: Joash Tuugamusu’s will perform with Black Grace at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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Black Grace is travelling to the land of kilts, haggis and castles next month.

For the first time, the contemporary dance company is included in the lineup for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the largest arts festival in the world, which takes place from August 1 to 25.

They will leave New Zealand on July 26.

Every year, thousands of performers take to hundreds of stages all over the Scottish capital to present shows for every taste.

Acts include comedy, dance, physical theatre, circus, cabaret, children's shows, musicals and operas.

Joash Tuugamusu, 26, started as a hip-hop dancer when he was 12 or 13 years old.

"I always wanted to be a dancer," the Glen Eden man says.

"I was part of a hip-hop crew but as I grew older, I liked the narrative behind the dance and that's what got me interested in contemporary, especially with Black Grace which is hard hitting and physical."

Tuugamusu has been with the company since 2009 and was given the opportunity to debut with them in Germany in 2010.

He then took a break and returned in November 2012.

Self-taught, he has travelled to Germany, Canada and the United States with Black Grace and is looking forward to Edinburgh.

"I think it's going to be amazing, it's a great privilege to be a part of that," Tuugamusu says.

"I'm just looking forward to being on the stage and performing for a different audience."

Founded by Neil Ieremia in 1995, the company has toured internationally to Europe, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Australia and New Caledonia. In 2004 Black Grace made its United States debut, performing at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival.

Since then, it has performed regularly throughout North America.

Tuugamusu is one of nine dancers going to Scotland with its self-titled production, Black Grace, which is rich in the storytelling traditions of the South Pacific.

More than 200 Kiwi artists will take part in the festivals, as part of New Zealand at Edinburgh, an initiative supported by Creative New Zealand to showcase our arts on the world stage.

Following its Scottish gig, the group will fly straight to Seoul, Korea for the Chang Mu International Dance Festival.

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