"I've loved dancing since I can remember and I'm so privileged to do what I love for a career."

Founding Artistic Director Neil Ieremia is one of New Zealand's most accomplished choreographer, a creative entrepreneur and inspirational leader. Born in Wellington and of Samoan heritage Neil was raised in a tough working class neighborhood in a country focused more on sporting prowess and agriculture rather than creative expression.  At the age of nineteen and with no formal training, Neil resigned from his banking job, left home, enrolled in a fulltime dance programme and broke his parents hearts.

In his final year of training he was invited to join the prestigious Douglas Wright Dance Company whom he worked for until 1996.  As a freelance professional dancer Neil also worked with many other leading New Zealand choreographers as well as creating a number of commissioned works. 

Motivated to provide a different perspective and a fresh voice in the dance scene, Neil founded his own Company, Black Grace in 1995, with ten male dancers of Pacific, Maori and New Zealand heritage.  Since then he has changed the face of contemporary dance in New Zealand and turned Black Grace into one of the most recognizable and iconic cultural brands.  His Company tours the length and breadth of New Zealand developing new audiences and a new appreciation for dance.  Internationally his work has been presented in Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, Japan, Luxembourg, Mexico, New Caledonia, South Korea, Switzerland and the United States of America. 

Among his many achievements, Neil was a recipient of the 2005 Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate Award, and received the Paul D. Fleck Fellowship in the Arts from The Banff Centre, Canada.  Numerous ‘firsts' for a New Zealand choreographer include sell-out performances at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival (US debut 2004 and 2005), a four-week season on New York City's 42nd Street, performances at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and performances as part of the 2010 Cultural Olympiad in Vancouver.

"Neil Ieremia, Black Grace's Artistic Director, has the necessary choreographic skill to shape movement that can reflect the complexity of Bach's polyphony.  Mark Morris possesses a similar finesse with music and dance, though Ieremia was not afraid to add concept and imagery to his exploration of the score.  The movement and the music were compelling in their own right, yet Ieremia surpassed his peers by adding a narrative dimension."

Ballet-Dance Magazine, Virginia, 2010

 

Video

2012
Highlights from 'Waka', Black Grace Germany Tour.