Duo exploring masculinity through dance

By Talisa Kupenga

A Māori-Pacific contemporary dance duo will take centre stage at the New Zealand School of Dance 50th Anniversary show. The pair's piece explores the many aspects of masculinity.

A sneak peek at the only contemporary dance duo piece that will feature in the 50th-anniversary programme.

Dancer Toa Paranihi (Ngāti Porou, Tūwharetoa) says, "The piece is called S.U.B which stands for Salubrious Unified Brotherhood. I suppose we start off very stand-off and then explore various other emotions and masculinity states and end up in a unified brotherhood kind of a way where we're dancing together and in sync; here as at the start it was the complete opposite."

The pair's hip-hop background has influenced the piece, the sharp movements providing a dance style with a unique edge. NZSD contemporary dance tutor Victoria Columbus helped refine their choreography.

Dancer Connor Masseurs (Hāmoa) says, “"The choreography was directed by Victoria Columbus but the choreography was essentially made by us and she generated it by giving us tasks and such."

S.U.B is one of 10 pieces to be included in the anniversary programme and is the only contemporary duo dance piece.

“The fact there's only two of us is a big difference because the other three pieces have 20-plus [people] so already that's quite a dramatic difference but as well as the choreographic decisions and the stylistic side this is a pretty different duo."

The anniversary programme will run for two days from November 24.