Black Grace Mixed Rep

“Paradise Rumour” trailer

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Wed - Sat, July 10 - 12, 2024
Jacob's Pillow
The Art of Black Grace 3/5
Becket, MA

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“Every so often I feel extraordinarily privileged to see something that stuns me to silence and ultimately exhaustion.”

Malcolm Calder, New Zealand Arts Review, 2023
Full article

“Black Grace … a feat of metric intricacy – the coordination is phenomenal.”

Alastair Macaulay, New York Times, 2014
Full article

“The audience could immediately grasp the wellspring of rhythms, often in unison, sometimes deliriously and complexly canonic.  (Mr. Ieremia must have a higher-math mind to visualize all of this.)”

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 2013
full article (PDF)


Paradise Rumour is an extension of Ieremia’s Gathering Clouds (2009), a response to an economist’s discussion paper, “Growing Pains: The valuation and cost of human capital and the impact of Pacific migration on the New Zealand economy” (2008). His controversial claims caused significant hurt within the Pacific Island community in Aotearoa, while emboldening those with more xenophobic views. The Human Rights Commission released a review of Dr. Clydesdale’s paper titled “Pacific Peoples in New Zealand; review of the public controversy about a discussion paper on immigration policy and the economic contribution of Pacific migrants to New Zealand”. It found that the paper was poorly researched and prejudiced, Ieremia couldn’t help but feel that the damage had already been done.

The provocation for Paradise Rumour was based on the central question: “how far have we really come since then?”

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Black Grace is New Zealand’s leading contemporary dance company.

Founded by Neil Ieremia (ONZM*) in 1995, one of New Zealand’s most accomplished choreographers, a creative entrepreneur, and inspirational leader. Ieremia draws from his Samoan and New Zealand roots to create innovative dance works that reach across social, cultural and generational barriers.

The work itself is highly physical, rich in the story telling traditions of the South Pacific and expressed with raw finesse, unique beauty and power.

Born in Wellington and of Samoan heritage, Ieremia was raised in a tough working-class neighbourhood in a country focused more on sporting prowess and agriculture rather than creative expression. At the age of nineteen and with no formal training, Mr Ieremia resigned from his banking job, left home, enrolled in a full time dance programme and broke his parents’ hearts.

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