Neil Ieremia is a man practised in forging beauty from pain. The founder and artistic director of Black Grace, New Zealand’s foremost contemporary dance company, traded a career in banking for life on the stage more than 22 years ago. Childhood rheumatic fever left him unable to play sports. Dancing, though, was something he could do.
In years to come, Porirua-raised Ieremia gained international acclaim for his unique union of indigenous and modern dance set to soundtracks of Samoan, classical and hip-hop music, with choreography inspired by struggles witnessed, and survived. Ieremia’s show, Another Letter From Earth, had its inception on an operating table, where he lay awaiting heart surgery. His latest masterpiece is about “beauty from ashes”.
The 47-year-old was moved to create As Night Falls when the darkness of daily news – war, refugees, inequality, intolerance – threatened to overshadow his hope for humanity.
Set to the works of Vivaldi, As Night Falls will grace stages during a national tour of the country beginning this month. The show, he says, is bold and bright like the colourful dresses his mother wore. We submitted Ieremia to a Sunday Grill.
Onstage Backstage Homebody Social butterfly Ballet Opera Dance Choreograph Read Write Dinner Dessert Read a book Watch a movie Kiwi (bird) Kiwi(fruit) Talk Listen John Key John Campbell Comedy Drama Climb a mountain Explore a valley Classical music Pop music Dawn Dusk Beer Wine Black White Salted caramel Salt & vinegar Summer Winter Black tie Smart casual Whittaker’s Cadbury Tropical island Woodland glade
Black Grace performs As Night Falls in Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin, Blenheim, Gisborne and Tauranga. The tour concludes on July 6. For more see blackgrace.co.nz.