Ode to the Environment
Auckland choreographer Lemi Ponifasio and his 24-member dance troupe MAU performed ‘Requiem’ at New York’s Rose Theater as part of the city’s Mostly Mozart Festival – the company’s first ever US show. Commissioned by Peter Sellars for the New Crowned Hope festival in Vienna to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth in 2006, ‘Reqieum’ explores threats to the environment. Samoan-born Ponifasio says he cultivated the MAU dancers for over a decade. “In Polynesian culture there is no such thing as a dancer or actor, everybody is expected and is taught to know those things,” he said. “If I saw someone didn’t go to dance school, it doesn’t mean they don’t know how to do those things. It’s part of knowing about how to be a person in those places, to be a good citizen of those communities.” Ponifasio and MAU performed ‘Requiem’ at the 2007 London International Festival of Theatre, returning to this year’s Festival with ‘Tempest’.