skip to main content

Auckland Arts Festival

A programme with diversity at its heart

2-20 March 2016, Auckland


Auckland Arts Festival artistic director, Carla van Zon writes in the programme, ‘The arts are like a waharoa to a new world, a gateway to welcome you to different cultures, art forms, generations and beliefs.’ Dance features prominently in a programme which has diversity at its heart, with works that cross time, cultures, borders and art forms.

The world premiere of Changes is the result of the Asia Pacific Dance Project, an initiative bringing choreographers together to create and present work. Changes performed by Black Grace crosses cultures as we see two cultures co-exist and create side-by-side. In Black Grace's first international dance collaboration, artistic director Neil Ieremia collaborates with Kuik Swee Boon of T.H.E. Dance Company of Singapore in a two-part work. Ieremia’s Another Letter From Earth explores death, "the bringer of change, liberator from pain and suffering", while Swee Boon's Change and Constancy looks at the parallels between Singapore society and the different cultures of the Black Grace dancers.

m¡longa, choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (Babel) and tango superstar Nelida Rodriguez de Aure crosses borders from the streets of Belgium to the calle of Buenos Aires. Belgium-born Cherkaoui captures the rituals of the mjlonga, and catapults them in the 21st century, with a heady and seductive mix of Latin aesthetics and state-of-the art video design. Under the guidance of Nelida Rodriguez de Aure, 12 dancers create virtuoso tango, re-forged by Cherkaoui’s signature liquid-limbed choreographic style into a fiery, decadent, dazzling dance. 

The world premiere of Ruaumoko, a collaboration between Atamira Dance Company and Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra crosses the boundaries of time and art forms as performers and artists of all ages and communities join together to become one voice. Bringing 100 new, young performers together with professional mentors, Ruaumoko is a spellbinding showcase for the energies and creative potential of Auckland youth. Ruaumoko follows heroine Hine Ariki’s journey to calm the rumblings of Rūaumoko, god of the earthquakes, and draw on the winds, rain, mythical creatures and her inner strength to restore the balance.

Three brilliant dance works, Speed of Light showcase the energy, precision and charisma of the Royal New Zealand Ballet under the leadership of artistic director Francesco Ventriglia. Andonis Foniakakis’s seductive Selon Desir, is inspired by the monumental opening choruses of the St Matthew and St John Passions. William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated will be performed by the RNZB for the first time in New Zealand. Alexander Ekman’s Cacti combines daredevil virtuosity and split second timing with a playful wit as the RNZB will be joined on stage by the New Zealand String Quartet.

Carla van Zon says she is delighted to offer a festival programme that reaches out to all audiences, with a special focus on introducing as many young people to the arts as possible. ‘The future of our world is in their hands; and in a fast changing society the arts help us to reach out across borders, barriers and cultures to understand each other better. The arts tell us about ourselves and express the diversity of the community that we live in.’ says van Zon.

For the full programme go to

2016 Auckland Arts Festival preview

+ Text Size -