Performances of the New Zealand company Black Grace, founded, directed, and choreographed by Neil Ieremia, a charismatic New Zealander of Samoan heritage, are as rich as multilingual conversations. Almost instantaneously upon being introduced to Ieremia’s egalitarian and boundless movement language, embodied by eleven sturdy, versatile dancers, many of whom are of Samoan or Maori descent, one-dimensional ideations of “culture” are rendered passé and ridiculous. The work draws from—and transcends—contemporary dance, ballet, dances of the Pacific islands, and Ieremia’s personal reflections. He and the dancers are fluent in all of it, all at once.
Black Grace performing “Mother Mother.” Photograph by Simon Wilson