'Mixit' up with a multicultural dance project

16:00, Jan 23 2014
Mixit up
MIXIT UP: Fathe Tesfamarium, centre, leads his group in rehearsals for Mixit’s upcoming production of ‘Access’. From left: Lisa Serbeh, India Davis, Fathe Tesfamarium, Josh Munezero, Josh Mushagalusa, Mohammed Al-Jamal.

An African refugee who learnt the language of dance before he could speak English has just six days to prepare a production before the curtain raiser.

Fathe Tesfamarium was born and raised in Sudan and moved with his family to Glen Eden when he was 14 years old.

Despite not speaking English he joined Mixit, a multicultural project that provides a platform for people with refugee backgrounds to "mix it" with migrant and local youths.

"Everything was strange but I love dancing and painting.

"I could dance and sing and we could communicate in that way," Mr Tesfamarium says.

"Mixit is so pure and where I can really be myself and help make things happen creatively."


Every summer Mixit invites people aged between 14 and 22 to devise a performance event.

They have just six days to create a show that includes dance, drama and music in a production based on a specific topic.

The group's upcoming production of Access sees 25 to 30 young performers create a story of what it means to have, or be denied, access to information, knowledge, opportunities and support.

Mr Tesfamarium, 21, has been involved in Mixit for eight years. In 2013 he took the year out to study at South Seas Film and Television School and graduated in December with a diploma in on-screen acting.

With his new-found skills Mr Tesfamarium returned to Mixit where he and three other refugees will act as creative interns.

"I'm also excited to return after some training and see the difference that I can contribute."

Mixit: Access, is on Saturday at 6pm and Sunday at 2pm and 6pm at Corban Estate Arts Centre, 426 Great North Rd, Henderson (entrance Mt Lebanon Ln). Koha entry.

See mixit.co.nz for more details.

Western Leader