ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Ordway Center for the Performing Arts’ Target World Music and Dance Series continues in March, with a performance by New Zealand’s leading contemporary dance company, Black Grace. The performance takes place March 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the Ordway’s Music Theater, 345 Washington Street. Saint Paul, MN 55102.
Black Grace takes the stage with an explosive program that mixes athleticism, rhythm, physical strength and energy. This leading contemporary dance company from New Zealand fuses Pacific traditional cultures with dance in an extraordinary and dynamic form.
The original group founded by Neil Ieremia has become a well-traveled company that performs all over the globe. Made up of Pacific Islanders and Maori performers, they have moved beyond their roots to explore the traditions of New Zealand culture in a modern and ever-changing landscape. The group often uses “slap dancing” in their choreography, which includes a unique blend of speaking, singing and slapping bodies on stage.
Black Grace has performed to several sell-out crowds in Auckland, New Zealand, and has been on several international tours, visiting multiple venues in the U.S., Australia, Japan, Germany, Switzerland and Canada. Boasting some of New Zealand’s finest dancers, Black Grace has become internationally renowned as the world’s finest example of Pacific contemporary dance.
Black Grace founder and artistic director Neil Ieremia is one of New Zealand’s most accomplished choreographers. Through his vision, he leads Black Grace with an explosive mix of rhythm, spirit and energy.
In 2005, Ieremia was the recipient of the Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate Award for outstanding creative achievement and for his contributions to the Arts in New Zealand. Ieremia also accepted a resolution passed by the Guam Legislator in recognition of the company’s work in Guam, and was a recipient of the Paul D. Fleck Fellowship in the Arts from the Banff Centre, Canada.
Ieremia not only weaves two styles of dance together while he choreographs but also uses three key Samoan principles to guide his company: Fa’amaoni: integrity, honesty and pride; Fa’amalosi/Loto Tele: perseverance and determination; and Fa’aloalo: humility and respect.
The Ordway is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading nonprofit performing arts centers and Saint Paul’s most elegant and inviting performance space. The Ordway’s Music Theater and McKnight stages attract diverse audiences with an array of productions showcasing the finest in American musical theater, world music, dance and vocal performance. Education and community engagement are integral to the Ordway’s mission, with major initiatives including the annual Flint Hills International Children’s Festival and Ordway Education programs that serve more than 50,000 students annually. The Ordway also serves as authorizer for the Saint Paul Conservatory for Performing Artists, a professionally guided academic and artistic environment that trains aspiring pre-professional performing artists. Together with The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Minnesota Opera and The Schubert Club, the Ordway is a member of the Arts Partnership and serves as the principal venue for their performances.
Tickets start at $26 (including fees). Call 651-224-4222 or visit ordway.org.