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Don't miss: K' Rd Strip's return season

Sat 11 Jul 2015 In: Performance View at Wayback View at NDHA

Okareka Dance Company is taking its breath-taking K’ Rd Strip – A Place to Stand to Edinburgh, but first people in Auckland, Rotorua and Hamilton get a chance to see the hit show which delves into Auckland’s one-and-only Karangahape Rd. K’ Rd Strip sold out 21 shows in 2013 and was dubbed “a triumph” by reviewer Jay Bennie. Its return season will open at Auckland’s Q Theatre on 14 July, before moving to Rotorua’s Blue Baths on 21 July and Hamilton’s Meteor Theatre on 23 July. It will then head to London where the company will do some promotional shows before a coveted season at Edinburgh Festival Fringe from 5 to 31 August. It’s a multi-faceted, collaborative dance theatre piece which mixes ancient Māori mythology and haka with contemporary dance, theatre, drag and live vocals to bring K’ Rd to the stage. Okareka’s artistic directors Taane Mete and Tai Royal, who are also the show’s choreographers, have long histories with the iconic street. Mete says he was drawn to K' Road in the early '90s when he first moved to Auckland as a budding dancer. “The night life was a turning point where the glamorous personalities, oversized drag queens and young gays coming out the first time gave me the tools that would sharpen my social skills. K' Rd was my school yard where I learned how to develop my drag persona, Kornisha. Having the best teachers around didn't necessarily mean that I would be given the tricks of the trade. The only way to grow as a budding drag queen was to watch and learn over many years,” he says. “I've seen the cruel and the kind sides of K Rd, and it will always be one of the places that I refer to as home." For Royal, K’ Rd has always been a community of fun and laughter, and a place where he has been able to express himself as 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,” he says. “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." K’ Rd Strip has a backdrop of New Zealand music, including Gin Wigmore, The Exponents, Th’Dudes, Crowded House and Split Enz, and features both Mete and Royal along with ‘a band of superbly talented men’ in Adam Burrell, Jesse Wikiriwhi, Jason Te Mete and William Cooper Barling. Mete says it’s important for Okareka Dance Company to produce powerful art that upholds integrity, intention and Mana. “It was our intention to create a show across a variety of disciplines that harnessed Māori culture yet would travel successfully around the world. This contemporary fusion exposes a new genre of theatre that we believe will strengthen the fabric of contemporary dance in New Zealand and place Aotearoa on the map for developing ground-breaking art.” Show dates: Q Theatre, Auckland - 14-18 July Blue Baths, Rotorua - 21 and 22 July Meteor Theatre, Hamilton - 23 and 24 July Assembly Roxy, Edinburgh - 5-31 August   Jacqui Stanford - 11th July 2015    

Credit: Jacqui Stanford

First published: Saturday, 11th July 2015 - 10:48am

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