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Māori dancer Kura Te Ua heads to Canada

Māori dancer Kura Te Ua heads to Canada’s Banff Centre for cultural exchange




Māori contemporary dancer, performer and choreographer Kura Te Ua will shortly leave for Canada to participate in The Banff Centre’s acclaimed Indigenous Dance Residency over July and August.

This opportunity, funded by Creative New Zealand as part of its International Cultural Exchange Programme, will see Kura join the residency to share a special artistic process with other indigenous dancers from various nations and backgrounds.

The Banff Centre is renowned for commissioning, supporting and producing new creative works. Its four-week Indigenous Dance Residency is an intensive programme that involves daily technique classes, choreographic exploration as well as creating a new choreographic work that will be performed as part of the Banff Summer Arts Festival.

“Thank you to Creative New Zealand and The Banff Centre for this amazing opportunity, and also to my mentors and whānau within Te Waka Huia,” says Kura.

“I am extremely grateful to carry the honour of my tūpuna and those that have guided me in such an extraordinary career in Kapa Haka and Haka Theatre. As a contemporary Kaihaka, I am excited for this opportunity to exchange the mana and wairua of my culture with other indigenous artists. This is a chance to fill up my kete to share with those back home.”

Kura trained at Pounamu Performing Arts and The University of Auckland, where she is studying towards a postgraduate degree in dance studies. She has represented Aotearoa at a number of overseas festivals, and was awarded the 2013 Tup Lang Choreographic Development Award.

Kura is affiliated with Te Aitanga a Māhaki, Te Whakatōhea, Tūhoe, Te-Whānau-ā-Apanui, Te Rarawa and Te Aupōuri, and is a long-standing member of the renowned kapa haka group Te Waka Huia. This association provides the foundations for her practice in ‘Haka Theatre’ ¬¬– a new indigenous art form that combines the fundamentals of kapa haka, Māori movement and theatre. As well as teaching Haka Theatre at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, she is the co-director with Beez Ngarino Watt of an emerging Māori performing arts company Te Haka Tāpere o Hawaiki TU.

Thanks to a special partnership with Creative New Zealand, over the next two years The Banff Centre will reserve one spot for a Māori artist in each of its indigenous dance and writing residency programmes.

Kura is the first to participate in the Indigenous Dance Residency under this pilot arrangement. A Māori writer will be chosen to participate in The Banff Centre’s 2014 Indigenous Writing Program in the coming weeks.

“The idea behind this joint initiative with The Banff Centre is to give contemporary Māori dancers like Kura the chance to develop their arts practice at one of the world’s largest arts and creativity incubators,” says Creative New Zealand Acting Senior Manager Belinda Jones.

Creative New Zealand’s support for Kura to take part in the residency includes support towards her flights and accommodation.

“We are delighted to provide this support for Kura. I’m sure she will gain much value from this experience.”

More about Creative New Zealand/Banff Centre partnership

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