KAHA is a collection of dynamic performances by the Atamira Dance Company that celebrate Maori culture and history through contemporary dance. Using a stunning blend of the traditional and the contemporary, each piece showcases different styles of dance that all come together in an exhilarating symphony of grace, movement and sound.

Artistic director, Moss Patterson warmly welcomes the audience like Whanau and introduces each performance with pride and much passion. He takes us on both a cultural and emotional journey starting with a reinvention of the famous Haka and ending on a playful note with the Poi E Thriller, the popular Maori and Michael Jackson mash up from the local hit movie BOY.

The incredible talent and dance prowess of the dance troupe is truly remarkable. They transition effortlessly between the different characters and stories, skilfully commanding every square inch of the Rangatira stage at the Q Theatre. Great costume design and clever incorporation of props into the choreography also helped bring another element of performance to each piece.

Ngai Tahu 32 was my personal favourite of the night. Inspired by a period in history and backed by a haunting soundtrack, this incredibly beautiful and stirring performance was dramatic, mesmerizing and at times confronting. It had an amazing narrative arc and was performed with incredible strength and conviction.

Piata, a compelling solo performance about the mythical Patupaiarehe trapped between two worlds, sent chills up my spine. The choreography was emotionally engaging and visually arresting. Bianca Hyslop perfectly embodied the physicality and spirituality of this being, managing to be both powerful and graceful in her performance.

Koru and Moko were the most enjoyable pieces to watch, as we got to see the dancers come together as an ensemble and perform flawlessly as one entity. The choreography was artfully centred on evolving patterns of spirals and loops, mirroring the actual shape of the koru and look of the moko.

KAHA is truly a visual spectacle that will leave you breathless, captivated and simply impressed. Be prepared to be emotionally invested and in complete awe by every single second of this energetic and wonderfully New Zealand production.

By Faith-Ashleigh Wong

Kaha is on at Q Theatre till 30th June. Tickets can be purchased on the Q Theatre website.




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