Female Choreographers Join Forces for Manaia

Atamira Dance Company presents


choreographed by Kelly Nash,
Gabrielle Thomas, Nancy Wijohn

Tuesday 31 May, 2016 - Just over 15 years ago Atamira Dance collective formed under a common bond of a love for dance and a hunger for indigenous stories and themes. Since then the company has grown up as a leading creative business taking their art to the world and collaborating with many of this country’s finest talents.

The success of the company still weighs on this shared vision and in July the company will present Manaia at Q Theatre, presenting three female choreographers who have all been an important part of the journey.

Choreographer Gabrielle Thomas joined the company in 2006 originally as a dancer then developing her skills through short choreographies. Kelly Nash has combined her career as a dancer and choreographer with frequent collaborations with the company. Nancy Wijohn has travelled to North America, the Pacific and throughout NZ in six different dances with Atamira.

Atamira’s short works programme Kaha was launched in 2012 and since become their most popular touring programme to date. Under the theme of Manaia (from the mythical creature of the same name with the head of a bird and body of a human) this year’s short works programme bridges human endeavour to spiritual aspiration.

Choreographer Kelly Nash, whose performance features two startlingly prolific dancers, Sean McDonald (Black Grace, Douglas Wright, Michael Parmenter’s Commotion Company) and Hannah Tasker-Poland (NZ Dance Company, Auckland Theatre Company) seeks “…a spiritual presence that I see overarching and protecting the work. The guardian looks after what I have worked hard for and creates a sacred space to explore in.” 

Nancy Wijohn’s solo performance weaves physical opposition with illusion as videographer Rowan Pierce blurs reality with virtual bodies to highlight the physical world merging into light.

Gabrielle Thomas conveys the ethos of the company as an ongoing artistic journey bringing together three of the brightest new talents to graduates from the Unitec Dance degree course  “I feel a responsibility to share what I have learned while working for and alongside powerful choreographers and performers such as Louise, Kelly and Nancy.  These women all hold strength different from each other but are all equally talented in their expression.   So making a show with them gives me great confidence.  I am also excited to work with a new generation of wahine in the company.”

Manaia is the culmination of a movement in contemporary dance that began as a instinct, developed into an unstoppable force and came of age with the surety of new talent taking the reigns of artistic endeavour.

Manaia plays: 
Q Theatre Loft Space, 305 Queen Street, Auckland
Performances: 5 – 9 July, 8pm
Tickets: $15 - $30* Early Bird and Group prices available. 
Tickets available through Q Theatre – 09 309 9771 or www.qtheatre.co.nz

* Service fees apply