Dance crew’s fitness fever
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.