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Ta’alili – Aloalii Tapu and Tori Manley-Tapu’s Biography

Last Updated:
6/05/2021, 11:07 am
Dancers and choreographers
Arts Foundation Springboard 2021
Samoa - Solosolo and Saleilua, Falealili
"Particularly with live performance being precarious in these times, the support from this award to continue developing our works is invaluable. We're very grateful to be acknowledged in this way. More so, we're really excited to have our mentor, Lemi Ponifasio, journey with us this year and look forward to gleaning on his experience, thinking, design, stage and art making."

The Springboard Award for Dance, funded by Abby McCormick O’Neil and D. Carroll Joynes.

Aloalii Tapu and Tori Manley-Tapu are the founders of Ta’alili, an arts company that work with artists who design stage, theatre, dance, film and visual art. Their ethos is based around building a whānau around their works to support the thinking and careers of their artists. Their expertise in dance is presented mainly on stage but have recently taken form in galleries and film. Aloalii, from Ōtara, and Tori, from Titirangi, met while studying contemporary dance at Unitec. The two have since gone on to collaborate on a number of works from LEECHES that premiered at ASB Waterfront Theatre in 2019, to ETENA, their exhibition of dance-films, sculpture and poetry, currently showing at Māngere Arts Centre.

In their work, they explore how perceptions shape communities, reflecting on personal experiences of tension between cultures, systems and stereotypes. Both Aloalii and Tori have a strong drive to build deeper communities in the arts world.

Aloalii Tapu and Tori Manley-Tapu will be mentored by 2011 Arts Foundation Laureate, Lemi Ponifasio

While firmly established within the international avant-garde, Lemi Ponifasio grounds his work within communities and diverse Maori and Oceanic cultures. He explores complex forms of knowledge such as oratory, navigation, architecture, dance, performance, music, ceremony, philosophies, and genealogies as a driving force in emphasising local-oriented arts, indigenous cultural recovery, language and knowledge, thought and narratives that have been silenced or excluded.

Statement from selection panel: "Bringing pacific dance to a contemporary audience reinforcing the place of Pacific dance and culture in New Zealand. Their work is not bound just to them, they have a high artistic ability and collaborate extremely well. We have no doubt this award will be used well."