Hadleigh Pouesi has run the gambit of the Aotearoa hip-hop dance scene. But, for the past two-years he has broadened his approach and with his newly formed (2015) dance crew - Freshmans Dance Crew - he's taking hip-hop beyond the safety of its competitive stage roots, experimenting with genre and delving into fusion dance in a big way. Hadleigh features one of his pieces called 'Tall Poppy' (created at the 2015 Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab) in the Pacific Dance Festival 2016 - Mangere Arts Centre, 13th - 18th June. Below is a quick Q & A about the piece:
Q. What is your piece about?
A. Tall Poppy is about the rat race of different people wanting the same thing. The funny dance of being happy for someone's success but also envying their progress.
Q. What was the inspiration behind it?
A. I personally felt this way about the success of another choreographer, then I realised that this kerfuffle of emotions happens a lot, then when i talked to other people about it I was pleased to realise that it was a common feeling shared by many yet it isn't talked about. So I thought I would dance about it.
Q. Who's working on it? (dancers or are you flying solo), how is that process?
A. Freshmans Dance crew, we have some new members and we are missing some old favorites so this process has been challenging (but still really fun)
Q. Are you looking forward to working with the other wahine toa or tamatoa at the festival? Why?
A. I am looking forward to all the pieces. I have looked up to people like Tupua Tigafua for years so to be on the same bill as him is something I still haven't come to terms with. To be sharing the bill with the likes of Leki Jackson, Jarah Wasasala and the others is such an honor and something I think audiences will have fun digesting.
Q. Are you excited about being the inaugural artists at what could turn into a long running annual event?
A. It is very exciting and is something that is bound to grow in the future. to say that we were apart of "the first" is special.
Q. How do you see the contemporary Pacific fusion dance scene at the moment?
A. I think the fusion scene in general is buzzing, the rules have been thrown out the window and creators are given free range to explore and experiment.
Q. Any favourite dance or arts quotes?
A. I have enjoyed works from all of these choreographers in the past so I am excited to see what it looks like to put us all under one roof.