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From hiva to hip hop - UH Manoa collaborates on major dance conference in Wellington, New Zealand

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa
Katerina Teaiwa, (808) 956-2659
Center for Pacific Island Studies
Posted: Oct 31, 2005

The importance of dance to the survival of the cultures of the Pacific and Oceania will be the subject of a major international conference in Wellington, New Zealand, in November 2005.

The conference and performance event, Culture Moves! Dance in Oceania from hiva to hip hop, will be held at the Soundings Theatre, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, November 9—12.

The conference will include panel appearances by local and international scholars, choreographers, musicians, and museum specialists; performances by performers and dance companies from Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Samoa, Fiji, Guam, Hawai‘i, and California; and master classes.

Well known kumu hula and local choreographers Michael Lanakila Casupang, Karl Veto Baker, Vicky Holt Takamine and Peter Rockford Espiritu are also participating.

Conference convenor Katerina Teaiwa, assistant professor at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Center for Pacific Islands Studies, says dance and music have always been central forms of physical, spiritual, political, artistic, and intellectual expression and communication throughout Oceania.

"Dance has often been described as the first means of communication, and yet the study of dance has often been marginalised in academia. More work needs to be done that recognizes the importance of dance to the creative survival of Pacific peoples."

Co-convenors are April Henderson, a lecturer in Pacific Studies at Victoria University, and Sean Mallon, senior curator Pacific cultures at Te Papa. The conference will bring together choreographers, dancers, composers, curators, costume makers, scholars, writers, musicians, and artists to participate in a discussion on the knowledge and practice of dance in Oceania across cultural, national, academic, and aesthetic boundaries.

The conference and event have been organized by the Center for Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Victoria University of Wellington‘s Pacific Studies Programme, and Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, with additional support from the UH Mānoa Chancellor‘s Office, Creative New Zealand, the Pacific Cooperation Foundation, and the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO.

Keynote presentations will be given by Dr Epeli Hauʻofa, director of the Oceania Centre for Arts and Culture at the University of the South Pacific, Fiji, and Dr Adrienne Kaeppler, dance ethnologist and Oceanic curator at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

The conference will also include master classes by Neil Ieremia, of New Zealand‘s acclaimed Black Grace dance troupe, and Suga Pop, from the Electric Boogaloos, and a dance notation workshop by Jennifer Shennan from Victoria University and Professor Judy Van Zile from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.