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Mātanga / Practitioners

Jack Gray (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa)

Born in Auckland, Aotearoa, Jack Gray is a world class recognised Māori contemporary dancer, choreographer, teacher, facilitator and writer. He is a founding member and became Artistic Director of Atamira Dance Company in 2018.

His independent arts practice spans two decades and has taken him all over the world where he engages with diverse audiences in community-centred spaces of Indigenous knowledge exchange, such as Cultural Informance Lab (California), Transformance Lab (New York), I Moving Lab (USA, Australia, NZ), Indigenous Dance Forum (New York), I LAND (Hawaii, Seattle, Portland, Chicago, New York), Intentional Indigenous Artform Exchange (New York) and more. He was a Visiting Assistant Professor at University of California Riverside, Artist in Residence at New York University’s Asian/Pacific/American Institute, Regent’s Scholar at UCLA/World Arts and Cultures. Jack has published writings in Dance Europe Magazine, Danz magazine, Theatreview, Te Kaharoa and Biography. Jack has produced interdisciplinary works for the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum (Hawaii), Berkeley Dance Project (UC Berkeley), FestPAC (Guåhan/Guam), Yirramboi Festival (Narrm/ Melbourne), Festival 2018 (Gold Coast), Te Whainga (Auckland Museum/Smithsonian Museum) and more.

Jack creatively devises Indigenous approaches towards enhanced relationships between place, people and potential. He has been invited as a cultural ambassador with Dancing Earth (New Mexico), International Interdisciplinary Artist Consortium (Massachusetts), First Nations Colloqium (South Africa), Kaha:wi Dance Theatre (Canada), University of the Arts (Philadelphia), Blakdance (Australia). Another ongoing platform is Movement for Joy, a class that is inclusive to all, which looks at joy and authentic embodiment as an opportunity to dynamically connect more productively with the self and others.

Dolina Wehipeihana (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Tukorehe)

With a background as a professional dancer and a founding member of Atamira, Dolina was Auckland Arts Festival’s Head of Programming from 2012-202. A strong advocate for contemporary indigenous theatre and dance, she is currently the Kaiārahi Māori of PANNZ (Performing Arts Network New Zealand) and the General Manager of Kia Mau Festival, a member of the Tri-Nations Curatorial Advisory group and a member of the APP group (Asia Producers Platform). Through her company Betsy & Mana Productions, Dolina has produced 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.

Louise Potiki Bryant (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Waitaha)

Louise Potiki Bryant is a choreographer, dancer, and video artist who has choreographed for companies Atamira Dance Company, Black Grace Dance Company and The New Zealand Dance Company. Louise has choreographed six works for Atamira. Louise also collaborated with researcher and composer Prof Te Ahukaramū Charles Royal, with whom she began the development of the somatic and dance practice called Whakaahua Dance and choreographed the whare tapere dance work; TE KĀROHIROHI: The Light Dances. In 2014 Louise was the Caroline Plummer Fellow in Community Dance at the University of Otago, during which time she continued the development of the Whakaahua Dance practice. Louise has a strong body of solo and collaborative works, which draw upon her interdisciplinary and whakaahua practice. She has made seven dance films. The music video she made for Ariana Tikao’s song TUIA was awarded Best Music Video at the imagineNATIVE lm festival in Toronto, Canada.

Louise has been awarded several residencies. In 2014, Louise was awarded the Harriet Friedlander New York Residency by the Arts Foundation of New Zealand, an award which supported Louise to live in New York City for a period of choreographic and artistic inspiration. Other residencies include the Ngāi Tahu artist residency at the Dunedin School of Art in 2003, and a Wild Creations Residency in 2007 which supported Louise to the make dance solo and lm Aoraki whilst living at Aoraki/Mount Cook. In 2009, Louise was supported by Creative New Zealand to undertake a choreographic internship with Santee Smith, the artistic director of Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, in Toronto, Canada.

Bianca Hyslop (Te Arawa)

Bianca Hyslop (Te Arawa, Ngāti Whakaue, Tūhourangi) is a freelance dancer/choreographer and teacher. She has worked specifically within the Maori Contemporary Dance Sector for over ten years and has been involved in highly influential dance projects including indigenous development, cultural research and cross cultural laboratories for interdisciplinary art makers. Bianca is a long standing member of Atamira Dance Company; a guiding force for Bianca's growth within the company as well as her work as an independent artist. Bianca is currently living in Ōtaki on the Kāpiti Coast and studying Te Reo Māori me onā Tikanga at Te Wānanga o Raukawa. Alongside her studies Bianca is developing a body of work in collaboration with her partner/Performance Designer Rowan Pierce.

Taane Mete (Ngāti Kahunganu)

Dance is my way of expressing life. This allows a deeper connection to Wairua, revealing the ancient wisdom that is embedded in my DNA. With a dance career expanding 40 years, Taane is one of New Zealand’s most revered dancers and choreographers. Taane was first introduced to dance as a child through Kapa Haka and has continued to refine his craft. At the age of 15, Dupree Jazz initiated his pathway towards beginning formal training at The New Zealand School of Dance in Wellington where he graduated with Honors majoring in Contemporary Dance.
Formerly a founding member of Okareka Dance Company, Mete continues his artistic journey as a solo artist. Māori culture and the rich tapestry of Aotearoa influences his artistic palette allowing Mete to weave together profound work steeped in tradition from an Indigenous perspective. His collaborative art explores new territory to produce world class performance. Taane continues to evolve his own personal embodied practice inspired by dance, yoga and movement. He teaches from the place of moving the body with awareness and ease to create space.

Kelly Nash (Ngāpuhi)

Kelly Nash is a queer, femme, cross cultural director, movement based artist and choreographer, whose day job involves running a physical therapy business specialising in impact injuries and related trauma based in Aotearoa. She is a descendant of Ngapuhi and Ngai te rangi and has English Irish and Baltic ancestry. A long time company member of Atamira Dance Company, Kelly is now also Co-director of Body Island a creative production company alongside Co-director Nancy Wijohn. Her current interests are cultural collaboration, body histories and sharing work on digital platforms.

www.kellynashdance.com

www.nancyandkelly.com

www.bodyislandnz.com

Kura Te Ua (Te Rarawa, Te Aupouri, Te Aitanga a Mahaka, Te Whakatohea, Thuoe)

Kura Te Ua is the Artistic Director, Choreographer and Kaihaka of Hawaiki TŪ, Auckland based Māori Performing Arts Company and Kaiarataki Toi Māori/Producer at Auckland Live. With a BA Performing Arts - Dance from The University of Auckland. She is a long-standing kaihaka practitioner of the Kapa Haka group, Te Waka Huia and has extensive performance and travel experience representing Aotearoa on several overseas tours. Kura was selected by Creative New Zealand for the residency in indigenous dance in Banff, Canada 2014 and was the recipient of the prestigious Tup Lang Award in Choreography. She is currently studying a Post Graduate Diploma in Māori Business Development at The University of Auckland. Her passion to share Māori culture through performing arts is motivated by the drive to positively evolve the global indigenous voice with Māori perspective to the world.

Gabrielle Thomas (Kāi Tahu, Te Atiawa te Tau Ihu)

Gabrielle Thomas is a choreographer and dancer of Kāi Tahu and Te Atiawa te Tau Ihu descent. Her choreographies are inspired by Māori philosophies and traditional practices, mythologies and raranga (weaving) and often incorporate her personal experiences growing up.

Gabrielle became a member of Atamira Dance Company in 2006 and has continued to dance, teach and choreograph for the company. She was Moss Patterson’s assistant choreographer for the youth engagement programmes Takarangi and Te Manu Ahi in collaboration with the APO and taught Atamira’s Dancing with Mythology programme. Her short works have been performed in Aotearoa and abroad. Her recent work Huri Koaro, a development of Te Waenganui from Atamira’s triple bill programme Manaia, was performed in the NZSD graduation show in 2018. Gabrielle last performed in Siva for Black Grace’s 20 year anniversary, 20for20 and Alfe before having her fourth baby.

Gabrielle is studying Te Reo Māori and raising her whānau. She is passionate about creating new pathways of enquiry through the arts and sharing Mātauranga Māori through dance.