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Jaycee Award

Jaycee Tanuvasa’s Biography

Last Updated:
4/05/2023, 4:11 pm
Arts Foundation Springboard 2023
South Auckland: Divas Of La Salle – A chosen family built by Pasifika MVPFAFF trans and gay youth as a form of support and survival during high school. Samoa: Nofoali’i & Faleasiu
“I am truly grateful to be the recipient of the Springboard dance award 2023. I want to acknowledge my Tanuvasa family, my ancestors, ballroom culture and the artists, creatives & community leaders that have supported, influenced and uplifted me throughout my journey. It is a special feeling to be a woman of my experience in this position. To be seen, to be heard, to be humanised and to be acknowledged for what I can create. This is one of the many flowers that will further support my creative journey to continue the work that I've been doing for 10+ years. I will continue to build, enrich, uplift and be unapologetically bold.”

Jaycee receives the Springboard award for Dance, gifted by Abby McCormick O’Neil and D. Carroll Joynes.

Jaycee Tanuvasa (Sāmoa) is a multi-disciplinary artist and choreographer of fa’afafine, femme queen & trans experience, born and raised in South Auckland, Tāmaki Makaurau. Her work is firmly rooted in community, and she places autonomy and story sovereignty at the core of each of her projects. She celebrates the fullness of young, queer, brown life and works collaboratively to create empowering and responsive reflections of this across a range of media.

Tanuvasa is a Pioneer of the Aotearoa Ballroom vogue scene and Mother to the House of Iman, dedicating ten years to the development of both the community and the artform nationally and across the Pacific. She has produced a variety of events for the scene with Iman Ball, 2021, held at the ASB Tennis Arena, being a most significant culmination of her work across the decade. In theatre, she recently premiered her production ŌVAH ŌVAH as part of the 2023 Sydney World Pride core programme, and acted as co-creative director for FEVER-Return of the Ula, for Auckland Live Cabaret Festival and Nelson Arts Festival.

She is currently finishing production on an upcoming television project that explores contemporary queer indigenous life, made in collaboration with Koha Productions and TVNZ, and has previously featured in FAFSWAG: VOGUE! – Interactive Documentary 2019, produced by Piki Films.

Jaycee Tanuvasa will be mentored by 2021 Arts Foundation Laureate Nina Nawalowalo ONZM.

Artistic Director and Co-founder of Wellington-based theatre company The Conch, Nina Nawalowalo ONZM is a performer, mentor and teacher who has presented at over 40 international festivals, including the London International Mime Festival, British Festival of Visual Theatre, and the Moscow Arts Festival. From her groundbreaking Vula (2002) – which toured for 7 years including a 3 week season at The Sydney opera House and a sold out season at London’s Barbican Centre ­– to Masi (2012), and her unforgettable direction of the work of others such as Hone Kouka’s The Prophet (2004) and Edinburgh festival award winning Duck death and the Tulip (2014), Nina is renowned for her powerful visual and magical work exploring Pacific themes. She is passionately committed to bringing untold stories into the light, and for using theatre as a vehicle to affect social change. In 2013 She established the Solomon Islands National Women’s Theatre Company Stages of Change in order to address violence against women and girls.