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Atamira Is Back On The Boards With A Premiere Dance Work From Revered Māori Dance Artist

Atamira Dance Company presents
Choreographed by Sean MacDonald

Atamira Dance Company is thrilled to be back in the live performance space to premiere a full-length dance work from one of Aotearoa’s most distinguished dance artists – Sean MacDonald (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Raukawa). Drawing on mythology and historical figures set against the backdrop of Te Motu-o-Kura, MacDonald’s Ngā Wai will be a treat for audiences eager to get back into Q Theatre from November 26 -28, to experience contemporary dance at its finest.

Seers, shapeshifters, warrior protectors, lovers and thwarted romance from both history and mythology form the essence of this poetic new work inspired from the sacred waters and whakapapa of Waimārama, Sean’s ancestral home in the Hawkes Bay. Ngā Wai is about water and how that flows with everything, is in everything, the pool and flow of the moon and the maternal. It flows with connection, history and strength following the journey of Takitimu (migration waka) from Samoa to Waimārama.

Ngā Wai began its haerenga in 2019 at the Wellesley Street Studios and saw the ensemble travel to Waimārama in early 2020 to immerse the creative process with whānau in the spirit of the whenua that informed its creation. With delays caused by lockdowns the work has recently been greenlighted for its premiere season in late November, in what will be Atamira’s only public facing performance of 2020.

The poetic storytelling structure of Ngā Wai tells a new story that reflects MacDonald’s personal journey in 2020. “Waimārama has a very strong feminine energy and this work is designed to hold up mana and respect for the wahine toa of my whakapapa. It has evolved in what has been a crazy year, where Ive personally aimed to go with the flow and not fight it. You hope that in this, like the whakatuaki Kia rere te wairere,” the flow goes to places of positivity” says MacDonald.

The multi-faceted characters resurrected from tribal history to tell the tale of Ngā Wai are brought to life by a cast of exquisite dance artists – Bianca Hyslop, Brydie Colquhoun, Kasina Campbell, Jeremy Beck, Tupua Tigafua and Sean himself. With an incredible design team on board including John Verryt (Set), Vanda Karolczak (Lighting) , David Long (Sound and Composition), Te Orihau Karaitiana (Costumes), and Osborne Shiwan (Campaign Design) Ngā Wai is a celebration of Aotearoa’s most creative performance artists and the wealth of stories that are held by Māori.

Sean MacDonald is no stranger to Aotearoa’s contemporary dance scene, having been a major force in the industry for the past three decades. His legacy as a dancer has seen him work tirelessly and extensively with Douglas Wright, Michael Parmenter, Shona McCullagh, Lynne Pringle, Malia Johnston, Neil Ieremia , Claire O’Neill, Michael Keegan-Dolan, Tupua Tigafua, Louise Potiki-Bryant, New Zealand Dance Company (NZDC), and Maaka Pepene, Moss Paterson and Kelly Nash for Atamira Dance Company amongst others. MacDonald kicked off his choreographic career last year with NZDC’s Matariki for Tamariki. Designed with an audience of young people and families in mind, this show did exceptionally, well with future seasons planned for presentation. Ngā Wai is his first full length contemporary work intended for an adult audience.

Atamira Dance Company are honoured to be able to uplift this new work on their platform. A platform which proudly champions Aotearoa’s remote and wild landscape where Indigenous Māori stories have a powerful voice. “Seans exceptional artistry as a dancer has been seen for many years in the whakapapa of some of Aotearoas best choreographers. We are excited to back him on this journey of personal and professional self-realisation as a choreographer in his own right” says Jack Gray Atamira Artistic Director.

Ngā Wai plays at Rangatira at Q Theatre:
Thursday 26 November at 7.30 pm 
Friday 27 November at 7.30 pm (Post show talk) 
Saturday 28 November at 4pm (Post show talk) 
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