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APO Gives Youngsters a Chance to Dance

APO Gives Youngsters a Chance to Dance

Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra (APO) is inviting 100 school children to dance. But this is no blue light disco: the students will take to the stage before a paying audience, with backing from some of the country’s top musicians.

The one-off performance at Vodafone Events Centre on 30 September is titled Takarangi, and sees children from across Auckland dance to new choreography by Moss Patterson, the acclaimed artistic director of Atamira Dance Company. The music is provided by members of the APO, led by Principal Percussionist Eric Renick, who is music director for the project.

Takarangi is the third in the APO’s ‘Auckland Dance Project’ series, and builds on 2011’s Sacre and last year’s Fireworks.

Patterson has been a fixture of all three projects, as has Tangaroa College, which this year accounts for 35 pupils. Dancers are also drawn from two schools joining the project for the first time, Balmoral School and Waitakere College. Patterson is assisted by students from Unitec’s dance studies programme, who will help mentor the school children in rehearsals, which began in earnest this weekend.

The ‘Auckland Dance Project’ series has proved life-changing for participants, and among the Unitec students’ ranks is Alolii Tapu, who chose to pursue a dance career after participating in Sacre as a Tangaroa College senior.

The name Takarangi is apt. It refers to the distinctive Māori spiral design that indicates the blending of past and future, and how one idea develops as another finishes. Takarangi therefore references not only the earlier APO dance projects Sacre and Fireworks, but also the knowledge passed down through generations, or in this case passed on by tutors and previous participants, and further developed in this 2013 performance.

Eric Renick has selected distinctive music, with some of Takarangi’s pieces requiring unusual instruments, including tuned tea cups. Renick also spent hours at a time exploring hardware stores, searching for flower pots that make just the right sound when struck – much to the bemusement of weekend shoppers, including one who sought Eric’s help with her rhododendrons. He was happy to oblige.

Takarangi is made possible with the kind assistance of the Stout Trust and the Chisholm Whitney Family Charitable Trust.


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