Gradfest showcases students' work

DARING DANCERS: Jared Hemopo, far right, alongside fellow Unitec performers, from left: Eddie Elliot,  Ben Temoku and Te Arahi Easton.
DARING DANCERS: Jared Hemopo, far right, alongside fellow Unitec performers, from left: Eddie Elliot, Ben Temoku and Te Arahi Easton.

Jared Hemopo's talent for dance has taken him on many journeys and his latest venture will see him perform at tonight's Unitec Gradfest.

The 22-year-old Massey resident will perform in Rahui, a contemporary dance involving 16 dancers.

The piece was inspired by an article in the newspaper about a riot in the Middle East.

"The dance techniques in the piece are to do with a riot and it's about the group dancing as a whole," Jared says.

Gradfest has been running for 21 years and brings together the very best work by Unitec's graduates and celebrates emerging talent, while inspiring the creative minds of the future.

With eight different departments, Gradfest displays students' work from different subjects including architecture, design and performing arts, to name a few.

Jared is in his second year in the department of performing and screen arts and will graduate next year with a degree in contemporary dance.

He has taken part in a number of professional dance performances including Tempo, and New Zealand's Got Talent, in which his dance group Limit Break made it to the semi finals.

He has already worked with some of New Zealand's top professional companies such as Atamira and Black Grace, and continues to inspire his audience with his performances.

Jared was a keen sportsman when he attended Massey High School, but decided to give dance a go after his friends showed an interest in the secondary school dance competition Bring it On.

"I dropped everything and gave it a go," he says.

Jared has a background in hop hop dancing but enjoys exploring the aspects contemporary dance has to offer.

"I enjoy the freedom of it. It's the only time I get to really let go."

"Some people go to Church to let go, for me, dance is a way for me to do that. I really enjoy being on stage," he says.

Gradfest project manager Paula Buckley says the event not only gives students the opportunity to showcase their work, but helps them form important contacts in their chosen field.

"The festival operates on two different levels," she says.

"It gives the students an exit celebration and a chance to show friends and family what they've worked on while studying."

"And it also is an opportunity for people in the industry to come along and put tabs on graduates. Contacts start to be made, and it gives exposure to people. That's really important," she says.

Jared will perform in the Unitec dance showcase tonight at 7pm in the Raye Freedman Arts Centre at Epsom Girls Grammar School.

The festival began on November 9 and will run until December 6, at venues around Auckland.

Visit for more information.

Western Leader