Dance crew’s fit­ness fever

Auckland City Harbour News - - OUT & ABOUT - HUGH COLLINS

Run­ning up Mt Eden is all part of the rou­tine for dance com­pany Black Grace.

The Auck­land based group are pre­par­ing to be the first dance com­pany to per­form at Auck­land’s new ASB Wa­ter­front Theatre ahead of a tour of the United States.

Formed in 1995 by Neil Ieremia, Black Grace per­forms in­no­va­tive dance that draws on Ieremia’s Samoan and New Zealand roots.

Dancer Cal­lum Sefo, who had been with the com­pany for al­most four years, said the group had a num­ber of unique train­ing meth­ods, in­clud­ing a morn­ing run up Mt Eden.

‘‘They test our strength, speed and hand-eye co­or­di­na­tion,’’ Sefo said.

‘‘The rest of the day is filled cre­at­ing, re­hears­ing and re­fin­ing the works. Every­one has a role to play and takes their job se­ri­ously.’’

Dancer Zoe Vis­vanathan said the phys­i­cal­ity of the com­pany was dis­tinc­tive with a ‘‘rhyth­mi­cal na­ture’’ un­like any­thing she had ex­pe­ri­enced be­fore.

‘‘The work Neil cre­ates on the com­pany is pow­er­ful in its phys­i­cal­ity but also its nar­ra­tive and con­cep­tual ideas,’’ she said.

‘‘It gen­er­ates an en­ergy which au­di­ence mem­bers of­ten re­mark upon. As a dancer it is a com­pany where you are con­stantly striv­ing to be at your very best each day.’’

Vis­vanathan made her Black Grace de­but in 2009 and had since be­come a full time mem­ber of the com­pany, tour­ing na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally to Europe, Asia and North Amer­ica.

‘‘Prepa­ra­tions for these per­for­mances are go­ing well and I am ex­cited to be near­ing our per­for­mance pe­riod,’’ Vis­vanathan said.

Shane To­faeono, who is one of the com­pany’s pro­fes­sional dancers, said the best part about Black Grace was get­ting a chance to push him­self psy­chi­cally and men­tally ev­ery day.

In mid March the group will head to United States for a ten date tour.

Sefo said Black Grace had a strong fol­low­ing and rep­u­ta­tion in the United States as they had been tour­ing there since 2004.

‘‘I am con­fi­dent we will have a suc­cess­ful tour.’’

Black Grace per­form As Night Falls on Fe­bru­ary 23 at the ASB Wa­ter­front Theatre. The work has been chore­ographed by Ieremia and is an abridge ver­sion of the show which saw a sold out sea­son in 2016.

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