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Shakaiah Perez To Represent New Zealand At The Banff Centre In Canada

Award-winning Māori dancer and choreographer Shakaiah Perez has been selected to attend an acclaimed indigenous arts residency at one of the world’s leading arts and creativity hubs.

In a joint initiative with Creative New Zealand, Canada’s The Banff Centre – renowned for commissioning, supporting and producing new creative works – provides an opportunity for a Māori artist in each of its annual indigenous dance and writing residency programmes.

Shakaiah will shortly leave for Canada to participate in The Banff Centre’s Indigenous Dance Residency, along with other indigenous dancers from various nations and backgrounds.

The four-week residency over August is an intensive programme that involves daily technique classes and choreographic exploration with acclaimed indigenous choreographers and instructors, as well as creating a new choreographic work that will be performed as part of the Banff Summer Arts Festival. These collaborative performances can be an important creative and professional development opportunity for our emerging artists.

At nineteen, Auckland-based Shakaiah is already making her mark with international hip hop titles and vast film and television experience.

“I am really blessed to be given this amazing opportunity at such a young age and to be able to pursue my passion overseas as a native woman,” says Shakaiah.

“I can't wait to learn and share what I have to offer with the world and to take my skills to that next level. A huge thank you to Creative New Zealand for providing me with this opportunity of a lifetime to celebrate being indigenous through dance.”

Shakaiah is of Māori, Samoan, Portuguese, African, Spanish, Tahitian and Tokelauan decent. Her multi-ethnic make-up drives her interest in different cultures. She formed dance company Native Stance this year, which focuses on blending modern dance styles with indigenous dance styles. Shakaiah is also studying Anthropology and Spanish at Auckland University, with plans to travel to America to work with Native American tribes.

Shakaiah has represented Aotearoa at a number of overseas festivals and competitions, gaining world hip hop titles as part of the Royal Family crews from Parris Goebel’s Palace Dance Studios and the NoMads Dance Crew of company Fresh Movement. She is set to appear in the upcoming New Zealand hip hop film Born to Dance.

Award-Winning Maori Dancer Heads To Canada

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