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Friday, 19 April 2019 02:28 pm

Promenade leads CubaDupa on a merry dance


LIFE’S A CIRCUS: Circus performers (From left): Natasha Halliday, Bri McCormock, Sophia O’Connor, Adrian Renar and Anna Wallace (sitting) are in training for the promenade performance at CubaDupa the weekend of March 19 and 20.

WHAT do you get when you add a circus aficionado and performance students to Wellington’s most iconic street?

The result is a Boulevard of Dreams, a promenade performance which recreates the history of the vibrant creative centre of Wellington is what.

Boulevard of Dreams will be performed at this year’s CubaDupa festival March 19-20.


CIRCUS DANCE: Students of Whitireia’s circus dance class (from left) Adrian Renar, Natasha Halliday, Anna Wallace and Bri McCormock (on chair)

The showpiece has been co-ordinated by Deb Pope and involves the Whitireia Polytechnic students of music, dance, circus and performing arts, who will take the audience on a journey through three centuries of history.

Pope says the performance represents the journey we have all been on.

“We’ve all travelled to get to where we are now and the performance gives the sense of intrepidation, fear, wonder and the sense of a journey,” says Pope, who developed New Zealand’s first circus dance professional training course, and is now part of Whitireia Polytechnic’s Performance Centre.

A promenade performance can be set in various locations in a venue and the audience watches the action happen among them and even follow the performers around the performance space.

Boulevard of Dreams is a first for Wellington and Pope hopes locals will embrace the creativity of the young talent involved.

She says the aim of the promenade performance is to show the journey of New Zealand through the past 300 years, starting with the arrival of the first settlers and ending with present day New Zealand.

“We are really trying to show the growth of Wellington,” she says.

The performance begins with the audience gathering at the site of the new Whitireia arts campus being built on the corner of Cuba and Dixon Sts.

They are invited to pick up a suitcase and follow a journey of the history, the footsteps, the characters and the shoes of Wellington.

The audience will be led down Dixon Street by characters from Whitireia’s acting school where they will follow in the steps of Kupe and stop at Te Aro Park to await a challenge from the Maori Performing Art students.

Then Eva Street turns the clock back to the 1800’s with the sideshow and carnival experience of Wellington and a performance by the Whitireia circus dance students capturing the hustle and bustle of business trading in the city.


HELPING HAND: Curator of the circus dance classes at Whitireia, Deb Pope, fits a costume onto Natasha Halliday (right)

Lead by Pascal Ackermann, the Whitireia commercial dance students and The Wellington Youth Circus, the performance marches into the World War I era with the former Hannah’s boot factory as the backdrop for a lone shoemaker telling stories of the shoes that have made Wellington’s history.

The final act of the promenade performance is the present and future as the audience ends up in Leeds Street and is greeted by the Whitireia hip hop students celebrating the urban feeling Cuba St adds to Wellington.

The performances will last 45 minutes and will start at 1pm and 4pm on Saturday March 19, and 2pm and 4pm Sunday March 20.

The second annual CubaDupa festival celebrates the creative spirit of Cuba Street and the Wellington community.



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is a journalism student at Whitireia.
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