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TE WHEKE reviewed by Olivia Garelja (Theatreview)

Being a new audience participant to the contemporary dance scene, it was Atamira Dance Company’s marketing imagery that first captured my attention and enticed me to get a ticket. It challenged the eye and before I knew it, I felt extremely privileged to be experiencing a truly beautiful and captivating performance.

Te Wheke is beautifully told with so much strength, yet delicacy and raw emotion emitted through every single element that one could tell had been well considered and executed with total precision. A great sense of personal growth and phenomenal sensitivity from each dancer takes the story telling to greater heights physiologically. I as a viewer didn’t expect to be weaved into such depth where I forgot about my presence as an audience member. The dancers' movements expanded in time through the development of the narrative.

A great understanding of detail across every layer that left me feeling I was watching a performance like a film premier unfolding, unforgettably. Te Wheke would leave anyone in awe of the transformational power of Māori storytelling through contemporary dance. Beautifully dream-like, I felt a true connection of travelling with each scene narrative and dancer. A great sensual use of lighting and congratulations is due for pushing the boundaries in making such interactive unique work that the world needs to experience.

The solo and group performances carried themselves with strength and unison utilising the floor to an exceptional level. They involved interaction with props that added illusion and took the viewer deeper into the narrative. The sensitivity of Te Ao Māori rich in value and wairua could really be felt from the stage.

I was left feeling I had experienced some spiritual bewilderment, of time that lives in between the here and now as If I had been taken to the depths of the ocean and back to the surface.

A meditative work of empowering hope for survival through emotional growth. I look forward to seeing developments in 2022. The after show talk with the team really added context to a celebration of the networking and transfer of knowledge and growth required for the success of this intricately woven piece that embodied greater depths than just movement. I look forward to the next Atamira initiative.