Black Grace on the Road
By Leah Maclean
One of New Zealand’s treasured dance companies are heading into an ambitious nationwide tour. Neil Ieremia’s Pacific Contemporary dance company, Black Grace, are hitting 20 ‘out of the way’ towns for their celebratory 20 for 20 tour.
For the last two decades Black Grace have toured their explosive productions nationally and internationally. Starting in 1995 with their self-titled work, Black Grace, The Listener pronounced the company one worth following. In subsequent years the company created other critically acclaimed works such as Minoi, Human Language and Verses. Fast forward to now and Black Grace have nearly 30 tours under their belt, not to mention their latest endeavours Siva and 20 for 20.
Jennifer Dunning, a New York Times writer and critic, described Black Grace in 2004 as ‘fresh’ and ‘exuberant’. More than 10 years later, it’s safe to say things have not changed. ‘Exuberance’ is what one needs to carry out a 20 town, back to back tour. “Everyone here is very excited and of course expectedly anxious,” says Black Grace dancer Callum Sefo. “It is a great honour and a privilege to share some of Black Grace’s finest repertoire and some new works by some of the original Black Grace members of 1995. We are all looking forward to a successful tour.”
From 10 November to 6 December towns such as Kaitaia, Matakana, Thames, Tauranga, Otaki, Motueka and Ashburton will be hosts to the 20 for 20 tour. Celebrating 20 years, with 20 venues and $20 tickets. The production is a collation of some of Black Grace’s most iconic short works, including Minoi, Method and Human Language. It will also feature new works by original company members Sean MacDonald and Siaosi Mulipola.
“New Zealand can expect a full on ride from a company full of passion and unity, as we set out to give one heck of a show,” says Callum. “This is a performance for the people who make up Aotearoa. It is a gift for those who have supported us from the start and a treat for those who have not yet experienced New Zealand dance at this level.”
Black Grace have been flying high. Having recently come back from a five city tour in the United States, hitting the 20 year milestone, performing two new pieces in celebration and not to mention the Senior Pacific Artist Award which Neil Ieremia was presented at the Creative New Zealand Arts Pasifikia Awards (4 November 2015). Speaking to Jenny Stevenson earlier in the year Neil expressed his positivity for the future, “I am forever grateful to be in the position that I am.” (DANZ Magazine, Issue 41).
This summer the company’s 20 for 20 ‘going back to their roots’ tour is expected to be an energetic and breath-taking experience for the audiences. The programme is set to honour New Zealand, the people and the past, present and future. “Black Grace have clinical accuracy and jaw-dropping physicality. Their finely-honed bodies exude an inspirational energy and move seemingly without the casual constraints of time and gravity. When you can experience dance like this, you feel there really is hope for the future.” (Otago Daily Times, 2013).
See Dance Events for more information on Black Grace's 20 for 20 tour
Read DANZ Magazine Article - Black Grace: 20 Years