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Local dancers in their element

5 June 2008

Local dancers in their element

Rongotai-based Elements dance crew are among a diverse group of artistically-inclined Wellingtonians to benefit from the $55,269 worth of Creative Communities grants announced last month.

Elements is a student-led urban dance collective for young people who may otherwise struggle to attend dance classes. The crew was formed in 2006 as Eastern Elements and was initially just for Rongotai College students. However they soon expanded to include a younger group - known simply as Elements - comprised of boys and girls aged 9–11 years old.

Elements will perform at Te Papa as part of the Matariki celebrations later this month. The performance will feature original choreography provided by their three secondary school student-tutors – Zeneth Talasiga, George Finaepepe and Chrissy Raki-Noanoa.

Elements will use the $1000 Creative Communities grant they received to help pay the student-tutors for their untiring efforts.

According to MaryAnne Ennor, a teacher at Rongotai College who oversees the group, Elements isn’t about emulating American hip hop culture. “Our performances fuse contemporary Maori and Pacific dance with hip hop rhythms to create something uniquely Kiwi.”

The strong Pacific influence is reflected by the fact that the Eastern Elements group flew to Rarotonga last year on a cultural exchange. Through extensive fundraising the students financed the exchange themselves and even contributed $1000 to help a local school rebuild a dilapidated coral classroom.

Not surprisingly they have been invited back. However this year it is the younger Elements who will visit Rarotonga. Like the older group before them they will pay their own way through fundraising activities.

Elements were one of many groups to receive funding in the last Creative Communities grants round. Creative Communities Grants Subcommittee Chair Amanda Hereaka says she’s delighted they have been able to support Wellington’s diverse arts community.

“We have funded everything from a blues music festival to a children’s theatre production of Puss in Boots. It’s great that we are able to support such a wide range of projects. ”

Creative Communities grants are funded by Creative New Zealand and administered by the Council. They provide financial support for projects that will enhance the local arts sector through diverse arts experiences. Eligible projects must benefit the Wellington City rate-paying area and increase community participation in the arts.

The next round of the Creative Communities Wellington local funding scheme closes on 31 September 2008. Information on the scheme and other Wellington City Council grants can be found on the Council’s website,, or people can phone the Council grants team on 499 4444.


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