The Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab is now in its ninth year and this year marks the return to Wellington at the new Te Auaha NZ Institute of Creativity presented as part of the Measina Festival 2018. Each year three Pacific choreographers are selected to create original danceworks over a six-to-eight-week period where they are matched with a senior dance mentor, are given a stipend and a showing opportunity.
Tofifailauga Misa is one of the selected 2018 participants and has been mentored through the Lab by Joash Fahitua . This is a little about Tofi and the work he has created.
Tofifailauga Saefa Misa (T.J) comes from a Sāmoan ethnic background and holds a Bachelor of Performing Arts from Whitireia New Zealand in which he performed extensively around the world.
Following his studies at Whitireia T.J. travelled around the motu as an actor in the Duffy Books in Homes programme and joined Le Moana Dance Company as a dancer and choreographer, in which he still belongs.
About the Work in the Choreographic Lab 2018:
Title of Work: ‘Ave Ese’
Description of Work: ‘Ave Ese’ is a dance piece inspired from a time when there was disunity in Sāmoa and who we now call 'Tongans' had on behalf of the Tui Manu'a for quite sometime faught a war of subjugation with the local Sāmoans. The Tongans in this sense represented the old world of what some have termed 'The Tangaroans' (Williamson, 1924) while the local Sāmoans were fighting for freedom from oppression. The Tui Tonga Tala‘aifei‘i arrived in the time of this story and set up camp and his royal court at Safotu, on the northern coast of Savai'i. In this story two brothers named Tuna and Fata stole the anchor stone of the tuitonga's war canoe. Tuna and Fata received help from Ulumasuisui -the son of their sister. They went off to Savai'i with a plan conjured up by Ulumasui on how to move the great stone. They caught two Eels, gathered some mud from the swamp and placed them beneath the stone. Then down at the reef they caught an Octopus and carried it to be placed under the stone in a small pool of sea-water. The movement of the Eels and Octopus helped loosen the stone to move the large boulder completely. As Tala'aifei’i watched, he was amazed at what he saw. Uluamasuisui’s plan was successful thus saving the lives of his uncles.
Creative Process: This piece is presented using Pacific contemporary dance movements with a focus on weight and balance. It is also an experiment with the elements of water and earth to illustrate the movements of sea creatures. The cast consists of two dancers whereby personification and partner dance take play. The music is a soundscape of nature layered with Pacific drum and rhythm.
The public is invited to view the final showing of works from this year’s choreographic lab on:
Friday 14 December 2018
2pm – 3pm
Te Auaha Institute of Creativity
65 Dixon St, Wellington
# Seating limited, please email attendance to Cilla Brown at
Pacific Dance NZ would like to acknowledge:
Te Oro, Auckland Council, Creative NZ, DANZ, PIDF, Le Moana