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Maori Butoh troupe call on those who dare to dance

29 January 2008

Maori Butoh troupe call on those who dare to dance

The Council’s Public Art Panel, known for bringing sculpture and painted works to Wellington’s streets, will branch out into performance art next month with a Maori and Butoh (contemporary Japanese) dance collaboration, called Nō Naianei (From this Moment).

Nō Naianei is the creation of With Lime, a cross-cultural collaboration between two Maori artists, Anahera Gildea and Eugene Hansen and two Chicano (Mexican-American) artists, William Franco and Miki Seifert. It includes music, dance, a VJ (video-jockey) performance and a multimedia installation.

With Lime want people to join the performance, and there is a Butoh workshop this Sunday for anyone who wants to participate. Butoh is an oftentimes slow-moving, intensely expressive dance form that originated in Japan in the 1950’s. Miki Seifert says the workshop will pave the way to a new form of dance and expression for the new performers.

“Butoh is incredibly challenging, relying on the performer’s ability to push their inner boundaries,” she says. “A few steps in the direction of bravery are the only requirements for attending the workshop.”

The workshop will be held from 10am until 4pm at the Massey University Campus (W8, Fine Arts department; take the Wallace Street entrance). Anyone who wants to go along can either just show up, call Anahera on 021 940 957 or email butohwithlime@gmail.com

There will be a procession of Butoh hikoi dancers all along Cuba Street on Thursday 21 February. Decked out in white make-up, they will easily stand out from the usual weekday evening Cuba Street crowds.

Anahera Gildea says the dance will acknowledge the land that used to be Te Aro Pa and the diverse crowds that now walk the street.

“Butoh has the ability to cross cultures, because it draws on the internal workings of the performer,” she says. “Historically, hikoi have empowered people to make their protest visible. This hikoi will be made up of participants of any culture, any size, any background, who feel a connection with Te Aro Pa. They don’t have to be dancers - they just have to be willing to be visible.”

The Butoh hikoi will kick off from the top of Cuba Street at 6pm on Thursday 21 February, culminating in a karanga at the James Smith centre at 8pm. This will be followed by a combination of Butoh, live and recorded music and a VJ performance on the ground floor of the centre.


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