National Dance Hui
Together / Moving Forward
By Anton Carter
A National Dance Hui is an opportunity to meet face to face and discuss, share, debate, learn, challenge, reflect, particpate and contribute to the dance community in Aotearoa New Zealand.
I’m very interested in the notion of community; how a group of people, in the same place with a common interest, can work collectively to achieve shared goals. Being part
of a community also brings with it a sense of belonging, purpose or pride. These are all important ingredients in the value chain of being a member of a community and for attracting new members.
The strength of a community is the common interest that bonds and binds the community, equally as if it was bound by genealogy or whakapapa. No matter the size of a community, there are always rules, guidelines or a hierarchy to be followed or to be understood when attempting to work with any specific community.The dynamics of a community can be fluid or highly structured, but it’s important for any community to have specific forums and spaces (physical or virtual) that allows for interaction, sharing of
knowledge and support for each other from community members.
The purpose behind a National Dance Hui is to allow for tangible benefits to occur from a shared gathering or collective experience. For information, knowledge or research to be shared in a way that has a lasting impact or on-going effect on the participants in a positive way. The title, Together / Moving Forward is purposeful in terms of signalling there is a need to work together if we are to move forward together as a community. The themes chosen are practical and broad, open to interpretation but also grounded in reality rather than just purely a theoretical framework.
The four themes are:
• Audience First > Growing a fan base / Production of dance in New Zealand,
• Collaboration is Gold > Working with others / Independent artist network,
• Facts & Myths > Being realistic / Knowing how the arts/dance industry operates,
• The Money-Go-Round > The funding game / Sustained development for choreographers.
An excellent book called Korero Tahi/Talking Together by Joan Metge (2001) emphasises key principles from a Māori perspective when facilitating discussion. In the book Metge raises a number of critical points:
• The use of songs and humour; the Māori insight that discussion does not have to be either limited to the spoken word or invariably solemn is a valuable one. Both music and humour can be used effectively to help participants over rough ground, to mitigate clashes between personalities or strongly held views.
• Kōrero tāhi; the procedure aims to create an environment that is comfortable and empowering for all participants in a discussion, an environment where none feel disadvantaged or intimidated by rules, words or actions they do not understand, and where all are accorded equal dignity and respect.
I really like the concept of ‘all are accorded equal dignity and respect’ as a fundamental starting point for our Hui coming up in November. Everyone has something valid to contribute from their own perspective, no matter where on the dance continuum you stand.
Expanding your networks by meeting new people can lead to new opportunities or making connections with someone to help you in your career. Talking with others is an ideal way to seek solutions and pathways for your own development. This will be a feature and a focus for the Hui.
The National Dance Hui is another marker on the varied spectrum of previous events dedicated to progressing dance in Aotearoa New Zealand. It’s an opportunity for dance to have a voice, for a community to gather and inspire each other to greater things. We look forward to hosting people at the Hui and encourage the dance community to participate and engage.
When: 21 & 22 November
Where: TAPAC Performing Arts Centre, Auckland
Cost: DANZ Members & Students $30, General Admission $50