ATAMRIA DANCE COMPANY :
Te Wheke is a work of legacy and succession commemorating the 21 years of creative existence of Atamira Dance Company. Te Wheke refers to the Octopus, a guardian on the journey from past into future, activating healing in the now. Created in collaboration by 8 leading Māori choreographic practitioners & embodied by 8 dancers, the dimensions of human experience, each symbolised by the tentacles of the mighty Te Wheke, are explored through a Māōri knowledge base. Solo and ensemble expressions of darkness and light occur within shape shifting worlds of floating black silk. Layers of symbolism emanate through AV patterning and mesmeric soundscapes with subtle lighting both revealing and hiding.
“Atamira wanted to represent the legacy of the many artists who have contributed over the years, and instead of a retrospective collection we are producing something that holds all the hallmarks of what has made our mahi so integral to the dance landscape of Tāmaki Makaurau” says founding member and Artistic Director, Jack Gray. Te Wheke is a powerful tohu for many Oceanic peoples, appearing in different mythologies. This guardian of the seas has many strengths and abilities. “When the name ‘Te Wheke came to us we discovered the late Rangimarie Rose Pere’s model of hauora which aligned a Mātauranga Maori dimension of health and wellbeing to each of the eight tentacles. We chose to honour her model in our choreographic structure”, says Executive Director Marama Lloydd.