Black Grace Profiled Ahead of US Shows

“The formidable New Zealand national rugby union team performs a Māori war dance known as the haka before every match. Black Grace, the dance company created by Neil Ieremia, a New Zealander of Samoan descent, presents dance that is physical, rhythmic, and high energy, like the haka on steroids,” Michael Wade Simpson writes in a profile of Ieremia and the troupe for the Sante Fe New Mexican.

“The company began [in 1995] as an all-male group, including dancers who had been his friends since childhood. The dances were ritualistic affairs with strong, weighted movement and percussive rhythms. Over time, women were invited into the company and the dynamic changed,” Simpson reports.

“Dreams, images, memories, and stories all come into the making of a Black Grace work. ‘I remember how my mother would wipe tears from her face using her thumbs,’ Ieremia demonstrated with his own hands.

“‘Black Grace is an idea, a concept, a living entity. It’s more than just about dance.’”

Black Grace performs at New York’s Joyce Theatre on 2-7 August.

Original article by Michael Wade Simpson, Santa Fe New Mexican, July 22, 2022.

Photo by Christopher Duggan.

Tags: Black Grace  Neil Ieremia  Sante Fe New Mexican  

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