Black Grace debut season at The Joyce a first for New Zealand contemporary dance
1 Nov 2019
Black Grace have debuted their six-night season at the distinguished The Joyce Theatre in New York from October 29 – 3 November. This was the first time a contemporary New Zealand dance company has performed at The Joyce and audiences were treated to Black Grace’s signature fusion of Pasifika and Māori traditional dance melded with contemporary styles.
Neil Ieremia, Founding Artistic Director, Black Grace said, “It has always been one of my goals to present my work at such an iconic dance venue – The Joyce Theater. I think it’s a really important milestone for the company as we approach our 25th Anniversary, and reflects the work we’ve put in over the last 15 years, building a loyal audience following in North America.”
Black Grace dancer Shane Tofaeono said, “It’s a huge honour to be performing at The Joyce Theater, on the stage where so many great dancers and companies have been before us. This is a great moment for New Zealand dance and I feel very privileged and grateful to be part of it.”
In the three decades since its establishment, The Joyce Theatre has garnered a global reputation for supporting the work of both emerging and established dance artists, welcoming audiences of over 150,000 to experience their dynamic and diverse performances each year.
Linda Shelton, Executive Director, The Joyce Theater said, “We are excited to continue presenting truly excellent international dance companies with the inclusion of New Zealand’s Black Grace in our season. It is always an honour to debut a new company on our stage and we cannot wait to share their work with our audience.”
The invitation to present at The Joyce was a result of The Black Grace Trust’s participation at the Association of Performing Arts Professional (APAP) conference in January 2018 in New York. Black Grace strategically showcased at New York City Center with support through Creative New Zealand’s International Initiative Presentation Fund.
Cath Cardiff, Creative New Zealand’s Senior Manager, Arts Development Services said, “The Joyce Theatre is an amazing opportunity for Black Grace to return to U.S. stages building on their reputation as an innovative Pacific contemporary dance company. Opportunities like this and the upcoming SoHo Playhouse season in 2020 continue to allow global audiences to experience high quality and distinctly New Zealand dance and theatre.”
Creative New Zealand funded Black Grace’s debut at The Joyce via its International Market Development Fund (NZ$25,176) which covered flights for additional performers, rehearsal fees for singers/musicians and updates to their promotional material. Black Grace is also one of five Pasifika-led organisations in the Totara Investment Programme.
In addition, Creative New Zealand supported Black Grace to host invited guests and dignitaries at a function after opening night with the view to build networks with international presenters.
At the conclusion of their North American tour, Black Grace returns to Aotearoa New Zealand for One Night Only at the ASB Waterfront Theatre in Auckland on 23 November.
Rave reviews for Black Grace at The Joyce Theatre
New York Times: Review: Black Grace, From New Zealand With Incredible Speed
Maryland – The Diamondback: Black Grace, a New Zealand-based dance company, wows in The Clarice for one night
Boston – Boston Globe: Black Grace’s ‘Kiona and the Little Bird Suite’ takes flight
New York – Financial Times (subscriber content): Black Grace at the Joyce Theater, New York — when two worlds coexist