Porirua dance schools go South­wards

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - KRIS DANDO

Bron­wen Tay­lor said South­wards Car Mu­seum will re­main her venue of choice for now.

The owner of Springhill Dance Academy in Pukerua Bay said a ma­jor new per­form­ing arts cen­tre in Porirua would have to tick a lot of boxes in or­der for her to host pro­duc­tions there.

‘‘Things like the size of the dress­ing rooms, light­ing, amount of seat­ing, whether we would be the only ones to have ac­cess to it while we set up - that sort of stuff is ab­so­lutely cru­cial,’’ she said.

Last week, Porirua City Coun­cil voted 7-4 to not grant $200,000 to­wards Aotea Col­lege’s pro­posed multi-mil­lion dol­lar per­form­ing arts cen­tre, to be built as part of the school’s $24m up­grade.

The coun­cil had agreed in 2015 to grant Aotea $1m to­wards a fa­cil­ity that would have com­mu­nity use, but the coun­cil has pulled away from any in­vest­ment.

Tay­lor said South­wards, near Para­pa­raumu, was costlier than Aotea’s Te Manawa, but of­fered out­stand­ing ser­vice.

‘‘We walk in to South­wards and they say ‘how would you like it set up?’

There’s nowhere in Porirua that can cater for us, and that’s a real shame.’’

John Linkhorn from Ex­treme Dance Per­for­mance Cen­tre in Pare­mata said his team of­ten use South­wards, but he was in favour of an up­graded Aotea Col­lege per­form­ing arts cen­tre.

‘‘It’s amaz­ing that this city does not have one, so if Aotea are pre­pared to be a hub, that’s awe­some,’’ he said.

‘‘Some­thing at­tached to Pataka would be fan­tas­tic but there is not much room to move in the city cen­tre. Aotea is a fea­si­ble op­tion and we’d love to spend our money in Porirua, if that com­mu­nity ac­cess re­mains.’’

Aotea prin­ci­pal Kate Gains­ford said af­ter the coun­cil meet­ing last week that the hope was still to build a $3.5m, 500-seat cen­tre and ‘‘we still want this to be some­thing the pub­lic can use’’.

Among the dis­ad­van­tages to sup­port­ing a $200,000 grant listed in the coun­cil re­port to coun­cil­lors last week, it was noted an up­graded Aotea fa­cil­ity could have the ‘‘am­bi­ence of a school au­di­to­rium, with ba­sic equip- ment’’, would not likely be ‘‘iconic’’ or have a raised stage, the col­lege would have pri­or­ity ac­cess rights, the lo­ca­tion was away from the CBD and Pataka, and any thought of a cen­tral city per­form­ing arts cen­tre for Porirua ‘‘could be pushed out fur­ther into the fu­ture’’.

PHOTO: KRIS DANDO

Te Manawa, Aotea Col­lege’s au­di­to­rium, as it is to­day.

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