The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    Finding a very worldly rhythm

    An evening of song and dance will fill Zorn Arena Monday, when the Kahurangi Maori Dance Theatre of New Zealand takes the stage for their show, “Hauhake.”

    The Maori are the people of New Zealand, and “Hauhake,” which means “harvest,” is an important time of year for them, Seidy Naera, the group’s North American touring manager, said.

    Performers will wear traditional Maorian costumes, such as a Piu Piu, which is a handmade dancing skirt made from flax, a cultivated plant, Naera said. A tatua, which is a sash or belt with patterns that represent the southern star their ancestors used to guide them from their homeland, Hawaiki, to New Zealand will be worn, she said. Ta Moko, which are facial tattoos that depict the genealogy or history of a person will also be worn.

    Formed in 1983 as a way to keep Maorian cultural tradition and customs alive, the group travels all over North America, as well as countries such as Malaysia, Thailand, Australia and Hong Kong, Naera said.

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    “When we chose (Kahurangi Maori Dance Theatre) we were trying to fill a world music extravaganza spot,” Arts and Events Coordinator Jennifer Brockpahler said. “We always try to bring artists from other cultures – Kahurangi Maori is representing the South Pacific.”

    Brockpahler said that was interesting because so many students do choose to go to New Zealand to study abroad, and thought bringing that culture here would appeal to them.

    Senior Elizabeth Wilson is interning with the Artist Series this semester and will be working with the performers back- stage during the show.

    “I think the No. 1 thing (students) are going to enjoy is the cultural experience,” Wilson said. “They will be in costume and doing traditional things we aren’t used to in the U.S., like traditional dances.”

    The members of the group come through the Takitimu Performing Arts School. It’s the only school that offers a degree in Maori performing arts, Naera said.

    “The school itself creates pathways the performers want to take, such as TV, radio or the tourism industry,” she said. “But they also have the opportunity to work with the Kahurangi Dance Company.”

    The dance company is made up of approximately 40 to 50 members, Naera said, and when it comes to touring, depending on the number of people needed for the performance, about 25 people are usually in a show. She said not everyone travels to each performance.

    Naera said the Maori culture is one of very few cultures that sing and dance at the
    same time.

    “It’s quite a physical performance,” she said. “It is very high impact.”

    The show is at 7:30 p.m. in Zorn Arena. Tickets are $5 for UW System or CVTC students and those 17 or younger, $13 for those 62 or older and faculty and staff, and $15 for the general public. Reserved seats are available at the Service Center in Davies Center. In addition to its Artists Series performance, Kahurangi is presenting two daytime performances for area schools on Tuesday.

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    Finding a very worldly rhythm