Pacific Dance NZ is proud to announce the selection of 3 Pacific choreographers in this year's Pacific Dance Choreographic Laboratory.
The Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab each year gives 3 choreographers the opportunity to develop original, never before performed works with the support of Senior Dance Mentors and the Pacific Dance NZ team.
The selected choreographers this year are: Jasmine Leota, Zildjian Robinson and Ufitia (Tia) Sagapolutele
The Mentors for the Lab are: Show producer Sasha Gibb (The Conch) who will mentor Jasmine; Dancer, choreographer, artiste Justin Haiu (White Face Crew) who will mentor Zildjian; and Le Moana director Tupe Lualua who will take Tia under her wing.
The Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab is now in its ninth-year and we are excited to see what this year's selectees will bring to the floor.
The public is invited to a showing of works developed in the lab:
When: Saturday 4th November
Where: Unitec Department of Performing and Screen Arts, Studio D2
Time: 3pm - 4pm
Jasmine Leota is an actor, dancer, and choreographer who graduated from Whitireia New Zealand in 2009 with a Bachelor in Applied Arts majoring in Performing Arts. Since then Jasmine has toured Aotearoa and the World in various tours and perennially (2012 - 2017) with T.H.E.T.A. (Theatre in Health Educational Trust) as an actor, singer and facilitator delivering health education programmes around the country. Jasmine has worked both back-stage and on-stage in a number of productions and worked with Pacific Dance NZ in 2013 as a dancer for that year's Pacific Dance Artist's Residency. Jasmine has also played representative Women's Rugby 7's and Rugby League.
Jasmine's dance piece in the laboratory is called “Tagi.i.Lima - The Hands that Hold our Tears” exploring the space between light and dark, happy and sad, the night and dawn, Island idyllic imagery and the struggles of the 'real' people. This work fuses an amalgamation of movements from Siva Sāmoa, Kapa Haka Māori, Ura Kuki Airani and Hiva Tokelau.
Zildjian Robinson graduated with a BMCT double major in Dance and Screen and Media Studies from the University of Waikato in 2013 and followed this up by completing a Bachelor of Performing Arts majoring in contemporary dance from Unitec's Performing And Screen Arts in Auckland. Since 2012 Zildjian has danced with Touch Compass Dance. He has toured with Black Grace and is currently dancing with Atamira Dance Company.
Zildjian's dance piece for the laboratory is called 'Short Story Long' which is centred on the idea of not wanting to grow-up, having fun, not accepting cultural norms and asking that essential question in everything - Why?
Tia Sagapolutele holds a Diploma in Performing Arts and a Bachelor of Creative Arts from the Manukau Institute of Technology. She also boasts a Postgraduate Diploma of Dance from the University of Auckland and is currently completing her Master of Dance Studies.
Besides Tia's academic achievements she is also an accomplished hip-hop dancer, being Street Dance NZ Varsity Champs 2012 with Sorority Dance Crew, Silver Medalist at the World Hip Hop Championship 2012 with the Royal Family, and at Street Dance NZ 2013 Tia and crew gained 2nd Place in the Mega Crew Division with Dziah Dance Academy. Most recently Tia was part of the 'Wahine Toa' programme at the Pacific Dance Festival 2017 with her work 'Ave', which received rave reviews. Tia has also placed works within the Tempo Dance Festival over a number of years and she is currently a dance tutor at the KMS Dance Studio and Auckland Academy of Dance.
Tia's work for the Lab "So'otaga", ('Connection' in Samoan) is a tribute to her parents, an exploration of guilt, loss, loneliness, pain and forgiveness - having lost her father when she was young, not knowing him, and then losing her mother when she was 18. This piece fuses siva Samoa and hip-hop tracing her journey in search of pathways to connection with her parents and their memory.