In good company with Black Grace
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.
Life changing: Jahra-Jayde Wasasala, left, and Te Arahi Easton are part of the production You Better Run Boy!