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NZ companies to reach new audiences at Holland festival

New Zealand companies to reach new audiences at Holland Dance Festival 2014

Two dynamic New Zealand contemporary dance companies will feature at one of Europe’s most prestigious dance festivals this month and next.

Okareka Dance Company and The New Zealand Dance Company were invited to perform at the 2014 Holland Dance Festival after showcasing their work to the festival’s Artistic Director Samuel Wuersten in New Zealand last year. The showcase was one of a series organised for international producers and buyers as part of Creative New Zealand’s programme to develop international markets for New Zealand artists and work.

“We are very excited to present Okareka Dance Company and The New Zealand Dance Company during the up-coming Holland Dance Festival,” says Mr Wuersten.

“It will be a unique opportunity for our audiences to touch base with developments in New Zealand contemporary dance. The various artists involved in both productions will take us on an exciting journey down under.”

The Holland Dance Festival attracts international audiences and buyers to see performances by choreographers and dancers from all over the world.

Okareka Dance Company, acclaimed for its diversity and fusion of Māori themes, will be performing its work Tama Ma. The piece is performed by Okareka’s artistic directors and renowned dance duo Taane Mete and Taiaroa Royal. A Dutch television company is making a documentary about Okareka and Tama Ma while they are in Holland.

This opportunity comes at a great time for Okareka, with the company focusing on increasing its presence in Europe.

“The opportunity to perform Tama Ma at the Holland Dance Festival is the start of an international touring dream for Okareka Dance Company,” says Rachael Penman, Okareka’s General Manager/Producer.

“This opportunity allows us to showcase contemporary Māori dance to the world and to expand our international networks for future tours. Okareka plans to regularly travel internationally from 2015 and Samuel and the team at the Holland Dance Festival have helped make that a reality.”

The New Zealand Dance Company will be taking its latest production, Rotunda, to the festival. Rotunda presents life stories of the First World War through turbulent choreography and live music of the era (composed by the great Don McGlashan). The company is joining forces with Dutch brass band Rijnmond specifically for the festival.

This will be The New Zealand Dance Company’s international debut; a promising milestone for the young company, which is becoming known for their ‘fresh’ and 'fervent’ work.

“An international artistic collaboration where Don McGlashan will conduct a Dutch brass band playing wonderful New Zealand contemporary music for our dancers to perform with is clearly very exciting for us,” says Shona McCullagh, company Chief Executive and Artistic Director.

“We are very grateful for being introduced to this opportunity by Creative New Zealand, allowing our young company to fulfil another goal of achieving an international season in 2014 and making new connections to New Zealand dance.”

The New Zealand Dance Company and Okareka will each give three performances as well as host dance workshops. Okareka will also perform in the festival’s opening gala on 25 January.

Creative New Zealand contributed towards travel, freight and remounting costs for both companies through its International Presentation Fund, which supports touring of high-quality New Zealand work.

“It is wonderful to see these companies being recognised at an international level for their unique style and artistry,” says Cath Cardiff, Creative New Zealand’s Senior Manager Arts Policy, Capability and International.

“We are proud to be able to support them in this opportunity to perform for a knowledgeable and interested European audience.”

While in Holland, Creative New Zealand will host a function for international presenters and producers from European festivals and venues to meet and see the work of each company.

This is the second year that New Zealand companies have performed at the Holland Dance Festival. Douglas Wright Dance presented work Rapt last year, also with Creative New Zealand support.

The Holland Dance Festival runs from 25 January – 15 February 2014. For more information visit the Holland Dance Festival website:


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