TE KĀROHIROHI: THE LIGHT DANCES
Choreographer: Louise Pōtiki-Bryant
Musicians: Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, James Webster, Erina Daniels, Horomona Horo, Alistair Fraser
Choreographer / Creator-Leader: Louise Pōtiki Bryant
Composers: Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, Paddy Free
Sound Design / Audio Production / Creator Leader: Paddy Free
Lighting Design / Production Manager: Jeremy Fern
Production Assistant: David John Hamilton-Gates
Costume Designer: Kirsten Parkinson
Video design: Louise Pōtiki Bryant
Wānanga Manager: Noa Campbell
Rehearsal Director: Taane Mete
This video shows excerpts form the live performance of Te Kārohirohi: The Light Dances, which is the culmination of a five and a half year collaboration between myself and Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal. Since 2005, Charles and I have held a series of wānanga, exploring and developing choreographic processes based on Charles's research into the whare tapere. Our aim has been to devise new dance for a whare tapere performance.
Within these wānanga, my initial approach was to develop a creative environment where dancers could contribute to the creation process. I began by developing improvisation scores, meditations and exercises based on our relationship with the natural world, the natural elements and the quality of light and heat at different times of the day. We also undertook these meditations and explorations at different sites here at Waimangō to develop dance as a direct response to this whenua. Within the process, dancers explored ideas and images either individually or collectively, and over time I discovered that certain dancers would respond well to particular images. As we progressed we would hone and refine individual movement phrases as unique ways of moving emerged. These ways of moving have contributed to a dance vocabulary for Te Kārohirohi. The process has been a collective and collaborative one with all the dancers and creative team.
Te Kārohirohi explores the qualities of Hineruhi, the exemplar of female dance, and Tānerore, the paragon of male dance. Their dances are based on the qualities of light and heat at different times of the day. Hineruhi brings about the dawn with her dance ('Ko Hineruhi koe, nāna i tū te ata hapara'), and is the light dancing on the early morning dew. Tānerore demonstrates the qualities of the ideal male dancer. He is the heat shimmering from the ground on a hot summer's day. Tānerore inspires us with his beauty as he dances. Wana (the ray of the sun) is an expression of Tānerore.
We are also exploring the concept of 'whakaahua': coming to form. Part of the journey has been the exploration of the emergence of a quality from deep within us to the eventual full expression of this quality in it's fullest form. Whakaahua has also informed the structure of Te Kārohirohi, in that the piece progresses from Te Korekore (nothingness, a realm of potential) to Te Pō (the night) to Te Whaiao (the pre-dawn) to Te Ata (the dawn) to Te Ao Mārama (the broad light of day).
Hineruhi emerges fully in Te Ata, bringing about the dawn, whilst Tānerore reaches full expression in Te Ao Marama as the shimmering of air on a hot day.
This work is an exploration and an experiment. We are not attempting to re-create whare tapere dance forms (for an ongoing whare tapere tradition does not exist). Rather, we are utilizing what we know about the historical whare tapere to inspire new choreography, music, performances and more. Charles was interested in how a choreographer would work with these ideas, and he was also interested in re-addressing the balance of feminine and masculine expression in haka.
I would like to thank our wonderful 2011 dancers who have brought Te Kārohirohi; The Light Dances to life: TemaKwan Fenton Coyne, Rachel Ruckstuhl-Mann, Liana Yew, Bianca Hyslop, Taiaroa Royal, Taane Mete, Jack Gray, and Jesse Wikiriwhi.
Alongside the beautiful dancers you see danced in this performance there have been many dancers who have been involved in the wānanga which lead to Te Kārohirohi: The Light Dances over the years, and I would like to acknowledge their wonderful input. These dancers include Terri Ripeka Crawford, Ngāpaki Emery, Nina-Kaye Taanetinorau, Toni Huata, Rangi Rangitukunoa, Kura Te Ua, Kereama Te Ua, Matariki Whatarau, Tamihana Paurini, Ojeya Cruz-Banks, Erina Daniels, Nancy Wijohn, Dolina Wehipeihana, Bert Van Dijk and Francine Sweetman.
Ngā mihi o te raumati ki a tātou katoa.