Last night students from Tangaroa College danced at Vodafone Event Centre with the Auckland Philarmonia Orchestra! The show was called Takarangi and also included Balmoral School, Waitakere College and Unitec Dance students.
What an amazing opportunity for these young people to experience professional standard work in art forms they don’t usually have much exposure to: contemporary Dance and orchestral music.
Katy Perry’s song “Roar” is number one on the NZ singles chart this week. The video for it is really interesting and reminded me of the Tangaroa College students’ journey in Takarangi. At the beginning of the video Katy’s character is plunged into a forest, a totally foreign environment for her. At first she feels helpless and dependent on her boyfriend, or maybe he’s made her feel that way?
But after he disappears she’s left on her own. She initially freaks out at the spiders, crocodiles and wild animals in the forest. At one point she peers into the darkness of the forest and numerous sets of eyes are staring back at her. To me they represent all her fears. The turning point of the story is that she takes the eyes, combines them and turns them into a tiger. When she looks into a stream she sees a reflection of herself as a tiger. This is the start of her transformation.
I really love the next part as she takes things she brought with her and uses them in her new environment e.g. breaks the heel of her shoe and uses it as an arrow. By the end of the video the character not only is totally at home in the forest, able to survive and live comfortably, but has found that she can still be herself in this new environment, she can bring who she is e.g. in one scene she paints the toe nails of an elephant!
So what’s this got to with Takarangi and students of Tangaroa College? Well most of them had never been in a project like this before. They found it challenging learning contemporary dance, working with strange music, with tertiary dance students, and a professional dance company Atamira, whose choreographers Moss Patterson and Gaby Thomas expected excellence of them. It was a foreign experience for them at first, full of “wildness”. But by the time they hit that stage last night I felt they owned it, they were comfortable with this new setting and even more, able to bring themselves and their own talent, flavour, style to it. So cool!