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Lumina – A Bright Original

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By Leah Maclean – DANZ

“Lumina is a show in which the senses are definitely activated,” explains Malia Johnston, one of the three choreographers enlisted to work with The New Zealand Dance Company (NZDC) on their latest work. “It’s going to be a very rich experience.”

Following the success of their international season of Lumina in Germany and The Holland Dance Festival, preceded by the premiere season in Auckland last year, NZDC are gearing up to take the show on a North Island Tour. Lumina is a dynamic work made up of three pieces grounded on the element of light. Louise Potiki Bryant in collaboration with AV designer Paddy Free bring their piece, In Transit, to the table. Based on Maori myth and contemporary urban experience, In Transit explores the state of liminality.

Brouhaha means much fuss over a small thing and this is the basis of Malia Johnston’s work with composer Eden Mullholland and AV designer Rowan Pierce. Malia explains her desire to see what they could “create from the idea of a small drop creating a large ripple and how this would work on the body.” Brouhaha can be described as a bold, loud and rich world of colour, rhythm, harmony and emotion.

The third work is the company’s first international commission in co-production with the Holland Dance Festival. Dutch/American choreographer, Stephen Shropshire, and composer Chris O’Connor create a piece which features a trio of dancers as three different versions of the truth searching for destiny. The work explores the emotions which accompany exile and belonging.

With a large team associated with Lumina, teamwork has been an integral part of the show’s coming together. Recent UNITEC graduate, Xin Ji, admits that the show has been a challenging one but it has also been a fantastic opportunity for him to experience a professional dance environment and practice different dance styles, especially working alongside multiple choreographers. Fellow dancer, Chrissy Kokiri, agrees, “all the choreographers are totally different which is awesome. They all have their own way of thinking about movement, so I’ve learnt so much from them.”

The Lumina process has been a fast paced one with choreographers coming and going, ideas whizzing around and the dancers going “hundy” as Chrissy enthusiastically puts it. The dance talents of Xin, Chrissy, Tupua Tigafua, Carl Tolentino, Katie Rudd, Chris Ofanoa, Lucy Lynch and Eddie Elliot have been put to the test. “I have witnessed a very strong team of dancers work hard and create and contribute great material and movement,” says Malia, and with a supportive overarching design and production team she is certain that the show will be memorable for the participants and the audience.

Lumina provides a striking performance and audiences will be exposed to the beautiful ways in which dance and light complement each other. The raw but refined physicality of the dancers explode on stage showcasing the versatility of the company. The show is “three amazing choreographers, three amazing pieces and three totally different ideas about Lumina,” describes Xin. “There’s no reason not to see Lumina!”

Lumina goes on a North Island Tour this May, including Whangarei, Warkworth, Napier, wellington and New Plymouth. For more information see The New Zealand Dance Company’s listings: NZDC Lumina Tour

Also, Check out Lumina’s behind the scenes webisodes here!