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Let’s get physical

Rhythm, physicality and the athleticism of Pacific contemporary dance company Black Grace’s works are what audiences respond to says producer Abby Ieremia. With the assistance of Creative New Zealand, Foundation North and One Foundation the company returns to Gisborne mid-May to present its eclectic programme, 20for20.

The title of the touring show refers to the number of venues the company will stage their production and the ticket prices. Making contemporary dance accessible and affordability are key to the concept the company came up with in 2015 to celebrate its 20th anniversary.

“I think dance has the potential to be really obscure and pretentious at times,” Black Grace dance director/choreographer Neil Ieremia once told The New Zealand Herald.

“I’m not too interested in that myself.”

Ieremia founded the modern dance company in 1995 and draws on Maori and Pacific Island dance, modern dance and hip-hop to create innovative dance works. Audiences can expect to see a mix of favourites and new works in 20for20. Black Grace’s five performers will perform solo, duo and whole-troupe numbers to old musical selections and new ones for new dances put to music by artists that include Nina Simone, Chaka Khan and Bill Withers.

Black Grace, War Memorial Theatre, May 16, 7.30pm. Tickets $20, door sales only.

PACIFIC CONTEMPORARY: Black Grace dancers Demi-Jo Manalo and Shane Tofaeono demonstrate some of the physicality of the short pieces the troupe of five dancers will perform in Gisborne this month. Picture by Jinki Cambronero