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Stripping K' Rd back

Tue 11 Jun 2013 In: Performance View at NDHA

Okareka Dance Company is bringing the focal point of Auckland's gay night-life to the stage. We find out what K’ Rd means to those at the heart of the production. Okareka says K’ Rd Strip is its response to an Auckland landmark that has anchored its deep roots into the veins of New Zealand history, both culturally and counter-culturally. The result is a work that is unlike anything Okareka have created before - pole dancing, drag queens, haka, contemporary dance and dramatic scenes entwined with live vocals from an all-New Zealand music score from the likes of Gin Wigmore, Mi Sex, Annie Crummer and Th'Dudes. K'Rd Strip's six queer cast members include Taiaroa Royal, Taane Mete, Jamie Burgess, Adam Burell, Will Barling and Jason TeMete, direction by Simon Coleman and with music implicitly arranged Mahuia Bridgman-Cooper that link dance and theatrical scenes to complete this narrative journey in to the vibrant, dark and vulnerable soul of Auckland's most famous street. We’ve delved into Okareka’s blog to share stories of what K’ Rd means to those who are bringing this piece to the stage. Okareka Co-Artistic Director a place where I’ve been able to express myself for who I really am… a proud gay Maori man! “K' Rd. is a performance space, a street where I’ve had many a chance to perform both on its road and in its clubs and bars. It’s a street of excitement, of passion, of daring and of love. But most of all, it is a street where people are constantly; the effervescent are always there, the stalwarts frozen in their usual place, the office workers and school girls to-ing and fro-ing. K' Rd. is home to all of this, home to vibrancy, colour and pride!!!" Performer Will Barling: "K' Road to me has always been a place of wonder. Being young and gay and coming to terms with society's idea of what that means was hard (albeit some years ago now). K' Road offered an insight of what it could be like when the dust of coming out settled. It showed me that all my bright and colourful craziness was wonderful and beautiful and if anything duller than most (don’t worry, I upped my game!). I guess K' Road felt like a secret guilty pleasure where I could take my beige ideas of myself, flip them upside down and add glitter, flashing lights, self-worth and view it all through a kaleidoscope built of acceptance, tolerance, and not giving a fuck!" Performer Jamie Burgess: “When I lived in Auckland, shortly after the turn of the century and the millennium(!), the city represented for me a place where creativity became possibility. I had dreams (doesn't everybody?) of 'making it', but like every fresh young thing, I had no idea what that meant, or really how to do it. Then I discovered K' Rd... The Rockshop, Kiss there are sights you may never see anywhere else in New Zealand and thats why I love it so much. You can be anyone you want to be on K' Road!! That's possibly why I feel so close to this project. Being able to show people the different facets and possibilities only strengthens my connection with this amazing pathway which brings us all together at some point... The opportunity to be involved in such an amazingly creative project thrills me to no end. "This is the show of a lifetime and will excite, inspire and entertain - while exploring one of New Zealand's most famous roads. I love it!!" Director: Simon Coleman "K’ Road is the home of some of the most extreme times in my life. A place where I’ve both laughed my head off or cried my heart out, where I’ve been flattered and rejected, excited and scared, loved and lost. A place where I have proudly stood in the sun or shamefully lurked in its shadows. It has stroked me with compliments or stabbed me with hate. It’s indulged me and denied me. "K’ Road is my bitter sweet, multi-faceted vice, the place where life is art and the art of living swings in patterns of thrills and spills. K’ Road has shaped who I am; it’s made me wiser and stronger. "I have spilt blood, sweet and tears on its sidewalks and yet K’ Rd will always run through my veins. K’ Road, my home, my place to stand." Musical Director, Jason Te Mete "K' Road has embraced me wholeheartedly for the past 12 years. Personally, I associate with being different. Vagrant. Misunderstood. Vibrant. I associate with biculturalism. Being Pakeha. Being Maori. Feeling lucky, feeling torn. I associate with music. I associate with dance. I associate with sexuality conflict. Acceptance. Rejection. Elation. Despair. I associate with people. I associate with community. But most importantly, I associate with love, and with light. K' Road not only provides an environment that is void of judgement, but it encourages self-recognition, self-confidence, and self-acceptance. K' Road shines a beacon of light for anyone who needs guidance, and whanau." K' Rd Strip is at The Loft at Q Theatre from Tuesday 11 June-Saturday 15 June. Get tickets here. GayNZ.com staff - 11th June 2013    

Credit: GayNZ.com staff

First published: Tuesday, 11th June 2013 - 9:13am

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