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Black-Grace | Rena Shagan Associates, Inc



Dancers/Performers: 12
Artistic /Administrative Staff:
3 - 4
Production/Technical: 2

With their distinctive dynamism sparked by Pacific Island and Maori heritage, the Black Grace dancers take possession of the stage and own the audience from the first moment. And they never let go. Eloquent yet elemental, athletic yet spiritual, they are ready in all respects for the physical and artistic rigors of artistic director Neil Ieremia's choreography. Under Ieremia's direction for two decades, this unique fusion of contemporary and Pacific Island dance has earned phenomenal critical and audience acclaim in Australia, Japan, Europe, Mexico, Canada and the U.S.

Click here for company's website.


The company offers a mixed repertory of works by Neil Ieremia and will be performed in two sections:

Section 1:
Black Grace's most popular and iconic works, which may include Minoi, Pati Pati, Mother Mother, Method, and Human Language. Other short works may also be available.
Section 2:
Crying Men


Music: Minoi Minoi (traditional), arranged by Neil Ieremia
Minoi fuses a traditional Samoan dance style known as Fa'ataupati (slap dance) and western contemporary dance as a means of exploring the idea of cultural identity issues, live singing and vocalisations.

The Men's shoulders and bare chests were oiled with sweat; and after their mighty exertions the ground seemed to crack open, making the world of spirit imminent. At such moments, geographic and cultural distances seemed to vanish.
- The Star-Ledger, New Jersey, 2010

Music: Original music from Surface (2003), Neil Ieremia and Juse
This work is a mixture of excerpts from older repertoire that utilise body percussion influenced by traditional Samoan Sasa (seated dance) and Fa'ataupati (slap dance). Movement segments, phrases and motifs have evolved from past full-length works, including; Relentless (1998); the self-titled debut season Black Grace (1995); Fia Ola (1998); and Amata (2007).

"Black Grace is an aesthetic delight, it is even more so an elemental experience of the magic of rhythm."
– Badische Zeitung, Germany, 2012

Brandenburg Concerto no.3 in G, J.S. Bach
Boyhood memories of backyard rugby games, bull rush and wrestling provided the basis for improvisational exercises from which the movement vocabulary was derived. The combination of these simple images and the music of J.S. Bach offer an interesting juxtaposition between the raw and refined.

"Method, a gorgeous and complex choreography with contact improvisation techniques at its core, showcases the company perfectly." - New Zealand Herald, 2000

Music: Mother Mother (radio version), Fat Freddy's Drop
Originally choreographed for a music video, on request of popular New Zealand band Fat Freddy's Drop.
Click here for "Behind the Scenes" footage.

"Mother Mother is a tribute to my mother who is often the unsung hero in my family. Even to this day she helps to prop me up when things get tough, knocks me back when I get ahead of myself, reminds me to never forget where I come from and to always be grateful for what I have." – Neil Ieremia.

"Strong explosions of dance that are so characteristic of the company and the creativity of Ieremia.
" - Theatreview, New Zealand, 2013

Conquistador, Chico Hamilton.
"As social creatures we seem to complicate the very thing that was designed to capture, articulate and communicate our deepest thoughts and feelings. Language. From a simple scenario I extrapolated gesture and movement patterns common to a particular social situation and created a physical language that I used to respond to my sources of inspiration. Human Language is also inspired by an unexpected reaction to having females in my studio after working for years with only male dancers." - Neil Ieremia

“Human Language is as sharp as citrus, sweet as mango, pretty as pawpaw and an ideal entrée.” – New Zealand Herald, 2003

Music: Original
In this brand new work, Ieremia revisits the theme of what it means to be a man in today's society and how attitudes have shifted and changed over the last 20 years. In 1995 Ieremia founded his then all male dance company Black Grace and and explored ideas around male stereotyping in their renowned debut season.

In Crying Men, Ieremia uses his unique Pacific perspective to challenge long held views on the role of men in New Zealand society; how they see themselves and how these views transform with age, family and cultural protocols.

Crying Men is highly physical and energetic Pacific Contemporary dance, laced with humour, moments of beauty and performed in true Black Grace style.


Outreach & Residencies




Led by senior company members, students are taught warm-up, conditioning exercises and repertory excerpts utilizing the Black Grace technique. Classes are available for high school, college and professional level dance students.

Introduced by Artistic Director Neil Ieremia, this 60-minute school performance features excerpts from the company’s repertory and a Q&A session following the performance.

Choreographic workshops taught by Neil Ieremia available on special request and dependent on production schedule.

Pre- and Post-show discussions available upon advanced request.


  Click here for Press Kit.

Philly.com, February 2015

New Zealand Theater Review, August 2014

Edinburgh Festivals Magazine, August 2014

The New York Times, October 2014

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, March 2013

North American Tour Schedule 2016-2017

Stanford Live, Stanford University
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Stanford, CA

Utah Presents, University of Utah
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Salt Lake City, UT

University of Texas, Austin
Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Austin, TX

Choregus Productions
Saturday, April 1, 2017
Tulsa, OK

Newman Center for the Performing Ats
Wednesday, April 5, 2017
Denver, CO

La Jolla Chamber Music Society
Saturday, April 8, 2017

La Jolla, CA

North Carolina State University
Tuesday, April 11, 2017
Raleigh, NC

George Mason University
Friday, April 14, 2017
Fairfax, VA

Peace Center for the Performing Arts
Tuesday, April 18, 2017
Greenville, SC

State Theatre New Jersey
Friday, April 21, 2017
New Brunswick, NJ

Tech Info

  Contact RSA for Technical Information for tours after the 2016-2017 season.

Contact Us

180 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10024