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Celebrating 21 years of dance

A life between us
Dance Showcase promo - photo shoot - by Elena Doyle
Dance Showcase promo - photo shoot - by Elena Doyle
Some of NZ's top choreographers are returning to Unitec to be part of a four-day showcase t

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Its location may have changed but Unitec’s dance programme still remains the cream of the crop in New Zealand.

And now the public will get an opportunity to see just why with a spectacular four-day showcase to celebrate 21 years of the programme’s existence.

Its location may have changed but Unitec’s dance programme still remains the cream of the crop in New Zealand.

And now the public will get an opportunity to see just why with a spectacular four-day showcase to celebrate 21 years of the programme’s existence.

To mark the occasion, some of the country’s top choreographers are returning to Unitec to  be part of the spectacle being held at Auckland’s Maidment Theatre from 18 to 21 November.

Michael Parmenter, Chris Jannides, Malia Johnston, Neil Ieremia and Shona McCullagh, who  all share a long and unique relationship with Unitec as either graduates or tutors of the dance programme, will each choreograph a new and unique piece for the A Life Between Us showcase.

“We are so lucky and privileged to have five inspirational choreographers be part of A Life Between Us as they have all played a major role in shaping who we are today,” says Unitec Dance Curriculum Leader, Charene Griggs.

“It will provide an opportunity to celebrate the relationships formed during the incredible journey of the contemporary dance programme.”

Griggs says A Life Between Us encompasses the theme of the celebrations.

“Everyone that has passed through here has played a part and it is that legacy that continues to inspire a new generation of dancers. We very much look forward to the public joining us in November to become part of that history.”

Parmenter and McCullagh, who have taught on and off at Unitec for the past 21 years need no introduction as leading dance figures with a wealth of experience and a long list of credits to their names.

Ieremia, who graduated from the programme in 1991, went on to found the internationally renowned Black Grace dance company, which performed its latest show Verses in Auckland in September while Jannides was head of the dance programme for ten years until 2006 and is now based in the UK.

Johnston, a 1996 graduate, is now the artistic director for the World of Wearable Arts Awards (WOW) which was held in Wellington last month.

Each choreographer will produce a dynamic piece with first, second and third year students of the Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts (Contemporary Dance) programme.

The Unitec dance programme first came to life under the Performing Arts School in 1989 based on upper Queen St with just 13 students enrolled in the two-year Diploma in Contemporary Dance course.

The growing need for space saw the programme move to studios at Hargreaves Street in Freeman’s Bay before Unitec won a bid to house the dance and acting programmes in 1994 where it has been based since.

By 1998, the diploma had been upgraded to a Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts (Contemporary Dance) which sits within the Department of Performing and Screen Arts.

“We are very proud of the achievements of our Dance programme, which consistently win awards for the quality of student work and its teaching staff,” says Head of Department, Athina Tsoulis.  

“The celebrations in November to mark the 21st birthday of the dance programme will be a very special occasion for our entire Department and the wider Unitec community.  

“We would like everyone interested in Dance to come along and share this historical moment with us and have a great viewing experience as well.”

Tickets for A Life Between Us are now on sale and and can be purchased at www.maidment.auckland.ac.nz  or by phoning (09) 308 2383.

Written by

Unitec

11 Nov 2010

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