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Festival of Native Arts hosts Maori Dance Theatre

Submitted by Marmian Grimes
Phone: (907) 474-7902


The Kahurangi Maori Dance Theatre of New Zealand will give two performances April 24 and 25 at 7 p.m. in the Lee H. Salisbury Theatre at the University of Alaska Fairbanks as part of a week of Fairbanks activities sponsored by the UAF Festival of Native Arts.

In addition to the performances, the company will visit local schools and perform its People of the Pacific presentation, which highlights the rich Pacific cultures and history. And on Saturday, April 22, the public is invited to participate in a community potlatch to welcome the company to the Interior. The event will begin at 6 p.m. in the David Salmon Tribal Hall downtown. Please bring a dish to share.

Kahurangi, which means "cloak from heaven," is the only professional full-time Maori dance troupe from New Zealand to maintain a consistent presence in North America for the past 13 years. Members of Kahurangi are graduates of Takitimu Performing Arts School, based in Hastings, New Zealand. Since 1985, Kahurangi has given more than 2,000 performances throughout the world.

Kahurangi brings to life the "ihi" or life force of the Maori through the songs and dances that are part of the history and fabric of Maori life. The performances bridge the past and the present with genealogical chants, martial arts techniques, powerful songs and pride in being Maori. The performance imparts a wealth of cultural and tribal knowledge and fosters a greater understanding of this unique and exciting indigenous culture.

The April 24 and 25 performances will serve as a benefit for the annual Festival of Native Arts. Admission is $25 for adults, $20 for UAF staff, faculty and students, and $15 for children. Tickets are available at the UAF Wood Center and Hoitt's Underground Sounds.

CONTACT: Graehl Brooks, Festival of Native Arts administrative assistant, at (907) 474-7181 or via e-mail at fngdb@uaf.edu .