In good com­pany with Black Grace

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Janie Smith

Get­ting the chance to dance along­side some of con­tem­po­rary dance com­pany Black Grace’s pro­fes­sional dancers has been a life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for two Auck­land teens.

One Tree Hill Col­lege stu­dent Te Arahi Eas­ton and Jahra-Jayde Wasasala of Avon­dale Col­lege are part of the Black Grace Ur­ban Youth Move­ment pro­duc­tion You Bet­ter Run Boy!

Jahra-Jayde says she has al­ways looked up to the com­pany’s dancers and be­ing able to per­form with them is amaz­ing.

She says al­though it can be hard to touch on per­sonal top­ics like bul­ly­ing, which is the theme of the pro­duc­tion, the emo­tion it in­spires takes the dance to a new level.

She does con­tem­po­rary dance with the Auck­land Per­form­ing Arts Cen­tre and went to a Black Grace work­shop ear­lier in the year be­fore get­ting in­volved with the pro­duc­tion.

Te Arahi is in­volved with his kapa haka group and also dances at school.

He found out about the Ur­ban Youth Move­ment through his school dance teacher and says the con­cept fits in with his phi­los­o­phy on life.

“It’s a quote: ‘I can ac­cept fail­ure, but I can never ac­cept not try­ing’.”

He says be­ing part of the group has in­creased his con­fi­dence.

Both year 13 stu­dents say it can be tricky bal­anc­ing re­hearsals with school work but it’s worth the ef­fort.

“I would en­cour­age any­one to try it – it’s a life-chang­ing ex­pe­ri­ence,” says JahraJayde.

The Ur­ban Youth Move­ment has been run­ning for more than 10 years and this year’s pro­duc­tion in­volves 16 young peo­ple and six com­pany mem­bers work­ing un­der the guid­ance of artis­tic di­rec­tor Neil Ieremia.

They’ve been re­hears­ing the show for nearly three months.

Com­pany mem­ber Abby Crowther says the most im­por­tant part is teach­ing the young peo­ple life skills through dance.

“They come from dif­fer­ent back­grounds and lev­els of dance ex­pe­ri­ence. It’s a mixed bag.”

Mr Ieremia came up with the theme of the per­for­mance and the par­tic­i­pants come up with some of the move­ment ma­te­rial through do­ing var­i­ous ex­er­cises and tasks.

The group re­hearses most week­nights and Satur­days so it’s a big com­mit­ment for those in­volved, says Abby.

You Bet­ter Run Boy! will be on at The Edge’s Her­ald The­atre from Septem­ber 8 to 12.

For book­ing in­for­ma­tion, call 357-3355, go to www.buyt­ick­ets.co.nz or www.black­grace.co.nz.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Life chang­ing: Jahra-Jayde Wasasala, left, and Te Arahi Eas­ton are part of the pro­duc­tion You Bet­ter Run Boy!

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