(4 raters, 4 scores, average: 1.00 out of 5)

Tama Ma (Duration 54 mins) tells the story of two men who travel from boyhood, to manhood, and the real life tale of love, life, joy and sorrow. The five part act moves from a short dance film projected on stage to a drag queen’s journey to femininity and the return back to masculinity. A young boy’s connection to his Whanau (family) and Iwi (tribe) and a mature man’s ideas of identity are also deeply explored.

Presented as a five act autobiographical dance journey; Tama Ma is powerfully performed by Taane Mete and Taiaroa Royal; the distinguished Douglas Wright choreographs Act 2 while the extraordinary talents of Michael Parmenter shape Act 4. This is the first time that the celebrated choreography skills of Douglas Wright and Michael Parmenter have ever been presented in the same show.

Mark Summervile and Heather Lee from ‘Zoomslide’ also collaborated on Tama Ma; they directed and produced a short film that plays in Act 1 of the performance while also creating a documentary about the process of making the dance. Eden Mulholland is also on board as musical director, using his vast talents to create a magical soundscape.

Okareka Dance Company is a vibrant contemporary New Zealand dance company formed in 2007 and led by Taane Mete and Taiaroa Royal with the aim to fuse contemporary dance with other creative art mediums. The essence of Okareka Dance Company is guided by Mâori beliefs, these beliefs – Mana (Honour and Integrity), Whanau (Family) and Matataki (Challenge) are brought to its work and to its audiences.

Through choreography, set design, and costume, Okareka Dance Company strives to tell bold, spiritual stories that are of and from New Zealand. Through careful collaboration the company seeks to extend its creativity and its influence by engaging experienced choreographers, musicians, film producers and performers to create evocative, beautiful dance works that tell a story.

Act One: Pito
8min 16mm short dance film projected on stage without live performance.
Dancers: Taane Mete and Taiaroa Royal
Choreographers : Taiaroa Royal and Taane Mete in collaboration with Mark Summerville
Film Director: Mark Summerville
Film Producer: Heather Lee
Music Composition: Eden Mullholland/ Lindah Lepou

Act Two: Tama Ma
Dancers: Taiaroa Royal and Taane Mete
Choreographer: Douglas Wright
Music Composition: David Guerin realises piano recording from composer Provokiev.
The dramatic and almost tragic metamorphosis of femininity returning to masculinity. Drag queen’s who lose their fabulousness to again become ordinary men. This act explores the emotional, physical and physiological characteristics of the drag queen and her regression back to a man.

Act Three: Rangatahi
Dancer: Taane Mete or Taiaroa Royal
Choreograher: Taiaroa Royal and Taane Mete
Music Composition: Eden Mulholland
A solo that remembers the connection to the whanau (family) and the iwi (tribe). It is a progression of the dance from childhood, danced by Taiaroa Royal, to adolescence, danced by Taane Mete.

Act Four: Hand to Hand
Dancers: Taane Mete and Taiaroa Royal
Choreographer: Michael Parmenter
This act centres on the issue of identity. Central to this issue is the polarity of being same or being different and the exploration of the tension contained in this polarity. The choreography will investigate the difficult territory between improvisation and set composition.

Act Five: Whanaungatanga
Dancers: Taiaroa Royal and Taane Mete
A return to spirituality and the importance of whanau ( family). This act pays homage to the fathers of Taane and Tai, both whom have passed away. A moving piece that see both men reflect on the important life lessons learnt from their fathers’ tautoko (support) and korero (talking, speaking).

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