Atamira Dance Company are leading international creators of contemporary dance and performance. We are based in Aotearoa New Zealand, a remote and wild landscape where indigenous Māori stories are a powerful voice in the arts locally and, increasingly, internationally. As a dance collective, we offer a rich and diverse programme guided by high calibre choreographers. Our research-based practice keeps us at the forefront of cultural and technical innovation, a process of deep collaboration and genuine openness to risk-taking and experimentation. Single choreographic dance works are the heartbeat of the company, which we perform at international arts festivals across the globe. Audiences have experienced unforgettable performances by dancers driven by a strong vision. We are here to celebrate and share our Māori culture through the arts, and to grow the arts through cultural innovation. As well as single dance works, we have created a number of important large-scale performances in collaboration with other arts organisations.
Atamira is integral to the contemporary Māori performing arts conversation and movement, with collaborators from diverse creative fields within and without the dance sector. An exciting network of moving image artists, folk artists, set designers, poets, philosophers, costume designers, photographers, and musicians all challenge and influence our work. The foundation and impulse for all this creative work is our understanding of Māori world view. And evolving our ongoing connection with Tikanga Māori (protocols and values) today.
Achieving power and richness in performance requires a strong and diverse research practice, and wananga (workshops) are thus core part of our practice at home in Aotearoa and abroad. Research actively re-forms and re-shapes our ideas and understanding. As a celebration of diversity, innovation, dance, performance, and technology, Atamira dancers and collaborators create from a continuum of stories, interpretation, and memory. By mapping cultural processes with modern choreographic processes, we acknowledge the impacts of the past on the present while continuously defining our future. Our dance collective is constantly growing and evolving. We take risks. We challenge each other. And through these beautiful physical, spiritual, intellectual, and collaborative processes, we find ever new expressions of the culture that can serve to enlighten all of us.
Tūhono is a strand for wānanga (Māori cultural practice and knowledge exchange). Atamira company members connect with expert cultural practitioners to discuss, experiment and learn from Matauranga Māori (knowledge and skills embracing Māori world-view concepts) including language, song, prayer, ceremony, oratory and storytelling. Tuhono is where we embody Atamira’s unique tikanga/values through workshop activities (in studio, on marae, in nature). It is a space where dancers gain a deeper insight into Indigenous creation stories, spirituality, historic and contemporary relationships to people and land.
Hou is an annual strand for choreographic and artistic development. This is a supported process of investigation and refinement for choreographic experimentation and development of methodologies and concepts. Choreographers utilise foundations of cultural practice to develop ideas that are enmeshed with their whakapapa (past, present and future lineages and convergences), as well as embarking on their own unique pathway.
Huarahi Is Atamira's annual touring NZ programme strand - presenting Matauranga Māori through dance to diverse audiences. Huarahi aims to not only broaden audience perspectives of Māori contemporary dance but also to increase and encourage accessibility for regional Māori populations to attend a theatrical presentation by Māori artists.
Taumata is the presentation strand which brings together the highest quality knowledge and skills of the choreographers, dancers and designers. This place of elevation is where Atamira showcases it’s unique world view and brings the best of contemporary Māori dance to the nation and the world. Works can range from to short to medium choreographic works presented by a stand-alone choreographer or as a collective showcase in a mixed bill, up to large-scale choreographic works often in an artistic co-production with a collaborative partner or organisation.
Te Ao is Atamira's international programme which includes: researching target markets, presenting overseas and hosting residencies in Aotearoa for international choreographers. Ki te Ao is about creating engaged relationships with international presenters, partners, organisations and institutions that enable us to take our work into different cultural contexts. Mai te Ao invites a high profile, international Indigenous guest choreographer to be in residence with the company sharing repertory and workshops with the intent to develop a new work with the company.
The Atamira Dance Collective Charitable Trust was formed in 2007 to support the growth of Atamira.
Ngāti Raukawa, Ngati Tūkorehe
With a background as a professional dancer and founding member of Atamira, Dolina is currently Auckland Arts Festival’s Head of Programming. Dolina is also an independent producer through her company Betsy & Mana Productions and an advocate for contemporary indigenous theatre and dance. She is a member of the Tri-Nations Curatorial Advisory group and a member of the APP group (Asia Producers Platform). As an independent producer she has produced artists and works such White Face Crew, Mei-Lin Te Puea Hansen’s The Mooncake and the Kumara and Kirk Torrance’s Flintlock Musket. She has also produced with Indian Ink, NZ Dance Company, and was a member of the PANNZ executive committee from 2016 – 2018. Dolina has toured New Zealand work to Australia, Hawaii, New Caledonia, and Edinburgh. She is a member of National Maori Theatre Steering Committee He Waka Urungi, and was on the steering committee of the last National Maori Dance Summit. Her creative background includes dancing with Atamira, Black Grace, Touch Compass and independent choreographers and projects such as the Limbs Retrospective and Maui One Man Against the Gods. Dolina's choreographic works includes The Beautiful Ones written by Hone Kouka, and the Poi E Thriller dance in the movie BOY.
In a recording and performance career now spanning 20 years and 18 albums, Paul‘s musical offerings have spanned the acoustic music of his solo work, the rock and pop of Gramsci and the ambient electronica of The Impending Adorations. Added to this is his ever expanding body of work for theatre. Currently Paul is the Director of Music for The Pop-up Globe and the Musical Director for The World of Wearable Arts. He is also the Writer Relations Manager for Native Tongue Music Publishing and previous to this was the General Manager Mushroom Music Publishing for 9 years. Paul is the Deputy Chair of Atamira Dance and also of the NZ Music Commission, he regularly leads sessions in the sector on governance, law and music publishing.
Dr Moana Nepia
Ngāti Porou, Te Aitanga a Hauiti, Rongowhakaata
Moana Nepia is a visual and performing artist, dancer, choreographer and video artist, designer, and Senior Lecturer at AUT University, Arts Editor for The Contemporary Pacific - A Journal of Island Affairs, former Assistant Professor at the Center for Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, former Trustee for Orotokare and DANZ (Dance Aotearoa New Zealand), and was one of the original Trust Board members for Atamira. As a dancer he performed with Impulse Dance Theater in NZ, the Royal NZ Ballet, Extemporary Dance Theater (UK), Dance Advance (UK), Vienna Festival Ballet, English National Opera, choreographed for the Royal NZ Ballet, Dance Advance, Taiao, Footnote Dance Company, Atamira Dance Company, the inaugural Honolulu Biennial in 2017, devised choreographic projects for Education departments of the Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet and London City Ballet Companies, and Youth Dance companies throughout the UK. His PhD from AUT University was the first creative and interdisciplinary practice-led doctoral thesis rooted in matauranga Māori. Moana is also a swimmer and athlete and won a gold and two silver medals at the 2010 World Gay Games in Cologne in swimming, discus and shotput.
Wendy Preston MZSM
Wendy has over 39 years of professional involvement in the arts. Her early career was in contemporary dance – as a dancer and teacher for the Limbs Dance Company and as an independent artist, choreographer/director and performing arts educator. As a young woman she engaged through cross-cultural creativity with diverse communities around the world, studying and dancing in Bali, India, Papua New Guinea, Rarotonga and Aotearoa.In the 1980s she had a close association with pioneering contemporary Maori dance companies Te Kanikani O Te Rangatahi and Taiao. She was a founding co-director of the Performing Arts School of NZ, a member of faculty for the Unitec School of Performing and Screen Arts and a founder and inaugural Venue Manager of TAPAC (The Ak Performing Arts Centre). Wendy has worked extensively with rangatahi through Maori partnerships - primarily with Te Whanau Apanui on marae-based projects and also with Pacifica youth in South Auckland schools. In 2006 she founded Mixit, an arts project that uses creativity to support former refugee youth, which she continues to produce and direct. In 2018 Wendy was awarded a Queens Honor for her services through performing arts with young people.
Ngāiterangi, Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāti Pūkenga
Puawai Cairns is Head of Mātauranga Māori at Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, leading the Māori curatorial team. She specialises in contemporary social history research, curating and collecting to reflect the stories of Māori communities. She is currently researching and co-writing a book about the material culture of protest, and the stories of Māori activism reflected through objects. She has worked as a curator on exhibitions such as Gallipoli: the scale of our war and Ko Rongowhakaata: the story of light and shadow, and advises nationally and internationally on curatorial practice. She has a particular interest in increasing and enhancing Māori representation and participation across the heritage sector. Puawai is also a board member for Pantograph Punch, Te Ara Wai museum in Te Awamutu, and the National Army Museum.
We present our work at large and small scale, adapted and customised for unique programmes and venues. Contact our Executive Director Marama Lloydd and Artistic Director Jack Gray to discuss your upcoming project or festival.
Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa
+64 21 197 0833
+64 9 838 5780
Ngāti Kahu, Te Rarawa
+64 21 262 1288
+64 9 838 5780
Atamira Dance Company
Corban Estate Arts Centre
2 Mount Lebanon Lane
P.O Box 21019
Auckland, New Zealand
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