Taiaroa Royal's classes are based around fundamental basic dance exercises from the 90's and 00's. Developed from 'the efficiency of moving' his class stems from his vast dance knowledge of using the energy, weight and momentum of movement to get through a dance exercise, whilst encouraging fun with pure alignment, core strength and weight balance elements.
Te Arawa, Kai Tahu, Ngati Raukawa
Taiaroa Royal, one of New Zealand’s most outstanding and versatile dancers, graduating from the New Zealand School of Dance in 1984 with a Diploma in Dance.
Tai has worked with the major dance companies in New Zealand including: the Royal New Zealand Ballet; Limbs Dance Company; Douglas Wright Dance Company; Human Garden; Origins; Commotion; Black Grace and Atamira Dance Company.
Tai has worked on many corporate productions both choreographing and performing; has choreographed music videos for Maree Sheehan, Evermore and Ardijah and was a featured extra on Peter Jackson’s King Kong.
In 2005 Tai began performing with Maui – One Man Against The Gods; The Montana World of Wearable Arts where he became choreographer for their South Pacific section; and the Waitakere Trash to Fashion awards.
In 2006 he danced in: Douglas Wright’s production, Black Milk; and choreographed and performed in the co-operative production, Glory Hole - A Queer Multimedia Flesh Circus. Tai was one of the directors for Renu o te Ra, a youth company set-up in conjunction with the education programme at The Edge, Auckland.
In 2007, along with dance collegue, Taane Mete, he started OKAREKA DANCE COMPANY (www.okareka.com), a collaborative company working with many different artists in various art forms. Their first collaborative work, ‘Tama Ma’, premiered in 2008 at the Tempo Dance Festival, Auckland, where it won 4 Tempo awards including ‘Spirit of the Festival’. It was also voted ‘Best Dance’ by Metro Magazine’s ‘Best In Auckland’, 2008. Since then Tama Ma has toured to Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch, Taupo, Hastings and Nelson. Tama Ma’s international seasons include the Strut Festival, Perth, November 2010 and The Powerhouse, Brisbane, March 2011 with sections performed in Cincinnati, Beijing and APAM 2010, Adelaide.
Adding to his artistic bow, Tai has begun a singing career. He is one of the fa’aafafine singing trio ‘Hymnchidivah’, has done backing vocals for Annie Crummer, Tama Waipara and Maree Sheehan and is part of the singing trio – PASH - with Jackie Clarke.
In August 2010, Tai was awarded the Te Tohu Toi Ke – Te Waka Toi Award for Making a Difference in Contemporary Dance. He was the first dancer and the fifth recipient of this award. Then in October, 2010 Tempo Dance Festival honoured him in their Honouring a Dancer evening. There the industry, along with close friends and family, celebrated Tai’s long outstanding successful career in the New Zealand dance community.
2010 ended with Tai choreographing for the new play, Mates and Lovers. Based on the Montana Award winning book of the same name by NZ aurthor Chris Brickel, his choreography received great reviews and played to appreciative audiences in Auckland, Wellington and Dunedin.
In September 2011, Tai was awarded the Koowhiti Lifetime Achievement Award, in Wellington, for his services to Maori contemporary dance.
October, 2011 had Tai as part of the NZ Choreographic team for ’Sacre – A Riot of Spring’, working alongside German choreographer, Royston Maldoom, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra an 180 school chidren.
In early 2012, Tai toured to the Hong Kong Arts Festival with ‘wOw – World of Wearable Arts’, as a choreographer and dancer performing in 8 sell-out shows.
2012 has provided the opportunity for Tai to attend two international internships – a business internship with Bangarra Dance Theatre, Sydney, Australia and a choreographic internship with Exhale Dance Tribe, Cincinnati, USA, where he choreographed a short work that premiered in Cincinnati, 16th February 2013.
Passing on knowledge to the youth of today is important to Tai, therefore Okareka Dance Company has established a two week Summer School intensive, creating a ‘pathway to performance’ for secondary students interested in studying dance at a tertiary level. This School began in January 2012 and is an annual event.
In February 2013, Tai was guest speaker for the Te Waka Awhina conference for Maori at local and national council level, held in Mangere, Auckland. He spoke of his acheivements in his career to date.
Tai has also associated with New Zealand Opera Company as Assistant Director/Choreographer (“Hohepa”, 2011) and as Movement Coordinator (“Madame Butterfly, 2013)
In January 2014, Okareka Dance Company had it’s European debut at the prestigous Holland Dance Festival, touring Tama Ma to Den Haag. At the Gala Opening, an excerpt from Tama Ma and footage from the documentary was performed to a sell-out audience that include Dutch Royalty, Princess Beatrix, the former Queen to Holland.
Currently Tai has enjoyed playing opposite well known actors such as Nancy Brunning, Kirk Torrence and Miriama Smith in the Okareka Dance Company collaborative work with Auckland Theatre Company, PANIORA. Tai received rave reviews from both Wellington and Auckland critics for his potrail as ‘Whatupo’ the guardian owl in the play.