Sunday, November 27, 2005

Dance in Oceania : Culture Moves

The Culture Moves Conference started on 9-12th November 2005 in Windy Wellington, NZ.
I was very fortunate to get a grant from Creative New Zealand to attend the three day meeting.
Delegates came from as far as California, Hawaii, Darwin, New Caledonia, Easter Islands.
The three convenors were Dr Katerina, April and Shaun, all of whom did a great and monstrous job of bringing all these awesome activities and people into one perfect venue: Te Papa Museum.

I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and hearing these new interesting perspectives, from academics, chereographers, dancers, potential sponsors. etc etc.

The performances by the travelling groups were simply stunning, I wish I could have memorised every move, every expression.
Some stuck to traditional conservative yet graceful moves, some were more for the dramatic, others simply gave it all, hip-thrusting, head-shaking, arms flailing, girls thrown in the air, men in trantric-like states and Chamorro boys screaming to drum beats.

I have a few images glued to my mind, Peter, a ballet dancer who has incorporated this with Hawaiian moves, danced so ....fluidly, so so passionately. At the end, i felt so macho after seeing him sway to a 70's beat.

Sugarpop, who breathed, lived and aged with the revolution of breaking and hip-hop before J.Lo and Micheal Jackson destroyed the original efforts of a few. He belonged to the group Lockers.
He was witty, straight-up, no nonsense kinda guy who stood up during the panel discussion and excalimed "I gotta pee!"

There were a very few moments where i felt dissapointed. With an academic dominating the discussions with irrelevant academic blurr that left the rest of the crowd staring at the ceiling, a Samoan man who claimed to be a traditional dance expert , never mind the Cook Island drum beats during the sasa and the foreign actions used. Some egos need to be deflated periodically.

Nevertheless, the networks made, knowledge acquired, experience absorbed made this Conference a success.
It can only get better from here.
I came reminded again that dance is more that expressions. It is bringing together people, it is breaking barriers, forging new relationships and givcing inspriration to many.

Ia Manuia!!!

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