Katerina Fatupaito, Leki Bourke and Seidah Karati 2014 Choreographers
Katerina Fatupaito, Leki Bourke and Seidah Karati 2014 Choreographers

Now in its sixth year, the Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab offers new and up-and-coming choreographers of Pacific Islands descent the opportunity to develop and present new dance works in a supportive and professional environment.


Pacific Dance NZ announces this year's Pacific Dance Choreographic lab choreographers - Leki Bourke (Tonga/Niue), Seidah Karati (Samoa/Kuki Airani) and Katerina Fatupaito (Samoa).

This year there was a high standard of applicants and we would like to congratulate these three choreographers on their selection while also encouraging others who missed out this time to try again.

All three choreographers have been a part of the Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab before, as dancers, and it's wonderful to see them develop and take up the challenge of choreographing their own works.

This year, the mentor for the lab is Justin Haiu, himself a previous choreographer and dancer in the lab, who has also danced with the NZ Dance Company and Red Leap Theatre amongst others. Justin will be a great mentor and will be well aware of what what these three Pacific choreographers are going through.

Once again congratulations to Leki, Seidah and Katerina and here's looking forward to November 1st at Corban Estate Arts Centre at 7pm for a showing of works developed during the lab.

Behold the Coconut

By Leki Bourke

Leki Bourke has been an up and comer on the Pacific theatre / dance scene for sometime. He is a graduate of P.I.P.A (Pacific Institute of Performing Arts), was a presenter for TVNZ's Polyfest (2011) and was previously a dancer in the Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab (2012).

Leki is a versatile performer who has not only shone in acting and dance but also recently worked as the stage manager for Kila Kokonut Krew's The Factory international season, travelling to various venues in Australia and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Leki has for years tutored and choreographed various high schools in the Auckland area for the ASB Polyfest dance competition, showing his solid base in Pacific heritage dance is complemented by his training in theatrical and contemporary dance.

Leki's piece for the 2014 Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab is  Plastic Savage and is an exploration of his Niuean roots. Through the mixing of various dance styles - Samoan, Tongan, Niuean and contemporary - Leki will explore and reflect upon the cultural history of Niue, the definitions of being a true Niuean or just plastic, and how this shapes what it means to be Niuean today.

Dancers: Eric Ripley, Moses Maika, Bana Meleisea, Aaron Ryan, Terara (Lala) Tune, Aisea Latu, Paula Uvea.

Drummer: Epine Bob Savea


By Katerina Fatupaito

Katerina is a performing artist with a strong Pacific, German and Asian ancestry. She has an established career in costuming in the film and television industry. After completing a performing arts qualification from the Pacific Institute of Performing Arts, she has gone on to feature in lead and supporting roles in a variety of well received plays.

Katerina is a long-standing member and has an integral role with Ura Tabu Pacfic Dance. She has been involved in workshops with Charles Koroneho, Margaret-Mary Hollins, Lima Dance Productions, Red Leap Theater's Incubator and with Renee Liang for Paper Boat. Katerina loves being involved with all forms of performing arts and is driven with the prospect of creating.

She has been inspired by a family story about an Ai Tagata (cannibal): he is never spoken of and his story has diminished to a mere legend. This story was told to Katerina by her mother whom throughout her youth heard this story. There are no songs and no chants other than the conversation with Katerina's mother – no story to help ‘uncover’ and re-tell the “legend of Leaitutuliafili” in its fullness.

By focusing on what captivated her during those story moments, the dance is told through the eyes of an Ai Tagata and in doing so, it takes us into another realm where myth and story come to life.

Dancers: Riki Nofo'akifolau, Albert Mateni, Albert (Bux) Falefatu


By Seidah Karati

Seidah was one of the first dance Honours graduates from the University of Auckland. She is currently studying as a secondary dance teacher in training at the University of Auckland and continues to be actively involved in the performance circuit.

Seidah was one of the original dancers in the inaugural Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab in 2009. She has continued on in dance, performing in several hip hop crews such as Hopskotch Dance Company; has tutored dance in schools across Auckland, had stints doing physical theatre with Red Leap Theatre and has been a judge for Street Dance NZ as well as appearing in several music videos.

'Like Mike' is a dance piece that focuses on how Samoan siva and popping, a fundamental dance style of hip hop, can be fused appropriately in a New Zealand context.

The name 'Mike' in the title, represents Michael Jackson and how Seidah grew up trying to mimic his dance style from his dance videos. This dance is about finding identity through hip hop dance, growing up in church, and being a New Zealand born Pacific Island female.

Dancers: Mele Taeiloa, Renee Sharp, Anastasia Fa'aui, Seidah Karati

You can catch these works at -

Corban Estate Arts Centre on Saturday 1st November at 7pm.