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New Zealand’s Black Grace makes their Toronto debut with a riveting celebration of dance, April 30 to May 3

TORONTO, April 23, 2008—From April 30 to May 3, New Zealand’s Black Grace brings the raw power and energy of their all-male troupe to Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage 2008 in their Toronto premiere, an exhilarating and athletic fusion of contemporary movement and traditional dance. Black Grace thrills audiences with a mixed repertoire including their testosterone-driven renditions of the Samoan slap dance and works inspired by the sacred art of tatau (tattoo).

Black Grace performs from April 30 to May 3, at 8 p.m., at the Premiere Dance Theatre, Harbourfront Centre, 207 Queens Quay West. Matinee performance takes place at 2 p.m. on May 3. Single tickets: $30. 13/13 rush ticket programme: students and seniors can purchase one $13 ticket, per valid ID, cash only, 13 minutes before curtain (subject to availability). Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage 2008 showcases the best theatre, music and dance through May 10. For tickets and information, the public can call 416-973-4000 or visit www.harbourfrontcentre.com/worldstage.

Black Grace is an amazing all-male dance company that boasts some of New Zealand’s finest contemporary dancers. Predominantly Pacific Island and Maori in heritage, the company is renowned for their unique ability to combine their traditional and contemporary dance forms. This fusion is what sets this innovative company apart from any other professional dance company in New Zealand. Based in Auckland, this relatively young company under founder and Artistic Director Neil Ieremia has developed a cross-over audience from the Pacific Island, Maori and European communities in New Zealand. Their numerous successful tours overseas have demonstrated that the company's appeal can also cross international boundaries.

Short Works is a celebration of favourite Black Grace works all choreographed by Neil Ieremia. Formed in 1995, Black Grace’s approach is percussive, rugged, athletic and spiritual. Their repertory program includes contemporary works like Open Letter, a stark, post-modern portrait of turmoil and isolation, set to music performed by the Kronos Quartet, juxtaposed with their signature work, Minoi, based on a traditional Samoan dance style known as Fa’ataupati (slap dance) along with Surface, an exploration of the ancient Samoan art of tatau, known today as tattoo. (For additional information on the company, please visit www.blackgrace.co.nz.)
In conjunction with the Toronto premiere of Black Grace, the Ontario College of Art & Design (OCAD) and Harbourfront Centre present a photography exhibition and a stimulating talk that looks at the historical and contemporary significance of tattoo culture. Tattoos have served as, among other things, rites of passage, marks of status and rank, and slaves.

Ticket buyers to the performance of Short Works are also encouraged to check out Tatau: Samoan Tattooing and Global Culture, featuring compelling large-scale photographs by another New Zealand artist Mark Adams, at the Premiere Dance Theatre inner lobby. The exhibition examines the origins, history and practice of Samoan tattooing and its contemporary significance. The exhibition is also on view at the OCAD Professional Gallery, 100 McCaul Street, until May 18. (For more information on the Mark Adams exhibition, please visit www.ocad.ca.)

In conversation with OCAD curator Charles Reeve, Neil Ieremia, founder and Artistic Director of Black Grace talks about the relationship of tattooing traditions to the contrasting values of community identity and inclusive culture in Getting Under Your Skin: From Tatau to Tattoo. This talk takes place at OCAD Central Hall, 100 McCaul Street, Level 2, Room 230, on Saturday May 3, from 1 to 4 p.m. Admission is free.

Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage 2008 presents a diverse collection of innovative and exciting performing arts events in one visionary series with a number of world and Canadian premieres of some of the world’s most exceptional artistic endeavours.

Other upcoming World Stage performances: Canadian premiere of Damascus—Traverse Theatre Company (Scotland), April 22-26; and Toronto premiere of The Space Between—C!RCA (Australia), May 6-10 who also perform 46 Circus Acts in 45 Minutes on May 7.

Additional information, images and artist links are provided on the Harbourfront Centre website at www.harbourfrontcentre.com/worldstagemedia.

FOCUS: Sacred
From January to June, Harbourfront Centre asks the big question—What do you hold Sacred? Part of an ongoing exploration of ideas in programming at Harbourfront Centre. Our Lens. Your View. Harbourfront Centre - divine culture.

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Media Contacts:
Linda Liontis
416-973-4381
lliontis@harbourfrontcentre.com
Shane Gerard
416-973-4518
sgerard@harbourfrontcentre.com
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