DANZ's 2016 Māori Choreolab Recipient
The recipient of the first DANZ Māori Choreolab, funded by the Auckland City Council, is freelancer and Atamira Dance Company member Bianca Hyslop. Bianca will be paired with experienced Māori choreographer, Merenia Gray who will mentor and work with her over six weeks to devise and rehearse a work at Te Pou in Auckland. This work will then culminate into public showings at Te Pou and The Mangere Arts Centre during Matariki (July 2016).
The aim of the Māori Choreolab/Te Kanikani Whakamatau is to expand the choreographic expression of Māori in Tamaki Maukarau, reflecting the artistic vision of Māori in the twenty first century. The Choreolab is a unique opportunity for Bianca, as a dancer and choreographer, to explore her craft in a safe, supported and uniquely Māori process of choreography.
In 2009 Bianca completed a Bachelor of Performing Screen and Arts degree at Unitec and went on to make her mark in the contemporary dance world by performing nationally and internationally with Atamira, Okareka and in the World of Wearable Arts.
At the start of this year Bianca was given the opportunity to create a short work through the Emerging Choreographers programme with The New Zealand Dance Company. Her nature based piece, A Murmuration, received positive feedback which has inspired her to continue this momentum and thrive to create more short works, which she ultimately hopes to collate into a series.
“Creating a Tuakana Teina relationship with Merenia Gray is a wonderful opportunity in which I can challenge my art making in a supported environment,” says Bianca. “I’m not interested in making works of protest rather to create living works of beauty that serve as reminders. Over the six weeks I will create a new short work in which I will layer the human form with qualities of the natural world as a reminder of the beauty evoked when we are harmonious”.
Bianca's mentor, Merenia Gray, is a graduate from the New Zealand School of Dance and has enjoyed a successful career as a dancer, teacher and choreographer both nationally and internationally, with a specialisation in Māori contemporary dance.