Dance Company to wow audience
Taane Mete and Taiaroa Royal are perfectionists by nature. So much so, each work they produce is at least two years in the making.
The creative geniuses behind Okareka Dance Company, Mete and Royal say their newest contemporary work, Nga Hau E Wha, centres on the four elements and draws on Maori legend.
Nga Hau E Wha, which translates to The Four Winds, enjoyed its premiere in Wellington midway through last year but has not been performed since. Now, the duo are set to embark on a national tour with their company of six other dancers.
It has been reworked and further developed into a 70-minute production, and all going well, the national festival tour will eventually turn international, Royal said.
Choreographed by both Mete and Royal, along with acclaimed New Zealand dancer Ross McCormack, Mete described the creative process behind Nga Hau E Wha as "incredibly collaborative".
He said with a company consisting of established choreographers in their own right, it was only natural that ideas were shared and developed as a team.
It all culminates in a work which navigates a deep narrative and provokes its audience.
"We incorporate Maori themes and mythology into our work. Also a part of our vision is to create work of a very high quality, and hopefully sustainability in terms of being able to work that piece for quite a few years," Mete said.
Nga Hau E Wha tells a spiritual story of struggle in a primitive land where the elements and Papatuanuku are both harsh and nurturing. The movements are raw and combative, yet fluid in their execution, and while Mete and Royal have been likened to twins - such is the simultaneousness of their movements - the rest of the company echoes that synchronicity.
Nga Hau E Wha is also backed by a fairly serious production crew, which includes the likes of musician and composer Eden Mulholland (best known for Kiwi band Motocade), set designer John Verryt, costume designer Elizabeth Whiting and video and lighting team Mike Hodgson and Paul O'Brien.
Okareka is one of New Zealand's youngest dance companies, having only been formed in 2007. But with Mete and Royal as founders and artistic directors, the company already has an enviable amount of mana.
The two came together to form Okareka as "the next logical step" in their individual critically acclaimed careers. The duo have long been considered New Zealand dancing royalty with careers spanning more than 20 years across both ballet and contemporary dance.
Their first work, Tama Ma, was performed by just the two of them and received with rave reviews both in New Zealand and Australia when it toured more than two years ago.
Promising to wow audiences again, Nga Hau E Wha is the next progression in a journey guided by Maori belief that is at the peak of New Zealand contemporary dance.
Nga Hau E Wha is set to tour to four festivals around NZ this October :
Otago Festival October 9 & 10
Christchurch Body Festival October 12 & 13
Auckland Tempo Dance Festival October 18-20
Auckland South Side Arts Festival October 24-26
- © Fairfax NZ News