Atamira’s Te Wheke Debuts at NY’s Joyce Theater
“Founded in 2000 in New Zealand, Atamira [Dance Company] fuses Māori cultural expression with contemporary dance theatre. There’s an admirable integrity to how the group doesn’t explain much to the uninitiated,” New York Times critic Brian Seibert writes in a review of the troupe’s show Te Wheke. “Translating almost nothing but the title, the dancers drop you into their world, graciously, and trust that you can learn how to swim in it.”
“The environment of Te Wheke is oceanic. The first sound is that of surf. The production design is centred on black silk curtains that are raised and lowered throughout, like sails without a mast,” Seibert writes.
“Te Wheke is an accomplished work of many layers. Frequently, human figures are projected onto the curtains, always ghostly and sometimes with a double-exposure blur. Anyone can see these as ancestors, representatives of a culture that Atamira furthers in its homeland and is now sharing with New York.”
Original article by Brian Seibert, The New York Times, March 30, 2023.
Photo by Andrea Mohin.