Manaia

By Yulia Podrul

Date / Venue: Wednesday July 6th, 2016 - Q Theatre, Auckland

If you’d like to see what a human pain looks like, you may want to experience a new short programme by Atamira Dance Company. That’s what I felt while watching the one hour performance a couple of nights ago.

The production was split into three parts. The first one was a little disturbing. What I saw was a woman squirming on a stage with a heavy rope that clearly was hard to unwind and wind back again. Emotions of suffer and pain clearly were there.

Being a dancer myself and growing up by being exposed to Russian theatrical performances, ballet and incredibly unique talents, I have a balanced understanding. After experiencing hundreds of international performances; Cirque du Soleil, Russian ballet just to name a few, softly-spoken I was slightly shocked after watching Manaia.

There was one part that I loved, which showcased the vocal talent of one of the artists. The most amazing Maori singing that I’ve ever experienced. So immaculately done she managed to get all my attention.

But your imagination will go wild for the last part of the programme, where you’ll see two performers (Sean McDonald and Hannah Tasker-Poland) moving across the stage with so much suffering and struggle in their faces (not that they actually felt pain, but that’s the idea behind it). Birth of a new soul, perfection of women’s bodies, legends and myths, Manaia creatures, whatever this duet was trying to express, it certainly did play with our minds here.

Go in with an open mind. You’ll probably like to familiarise yourself with myths of Maori culture prior to watching this, as it will give it more significance.