Upcoming symposium highlights the creative potentials of dance and performance in the 21st Century

03 June 2016
Rapt by Douglas Wright, photographed by John Savage.

Dance Studies at the University of Auckland is hosting the Undisciplining Dance Symposium at the Kenneth Myers Centre from 30 June-2 July 2016.

What can art do for us? Can the arts enable new value systems? How do the arts provoke and undiscipline us, creating space for us to come together differently in uncertain times?

The Undisciplining Dance Symposium brings artists and researchers in the fields of dance, choreography, performance, visual arts, spatial design and architecture together to imagine divergent futures and ways of effecting change and movement.

This unprecedented gathering of international artists in the field of dance, performance and creative arts research rethinks disciplinarity, and the role of the body and live art in todays diverse cultural and political climate.

The Symposium will mobilise inspired, fluid, surprising and inclusive approaches to arts research through presentations, performances, workshops and performative lectures by leading international artists and scholars.

International keynote presenters offer diverse perspectives from Europe, the Americas and the Pacific.

  • Artist and Māori scholar, Dr Moana Nepia from the University of Hawaii will open the symposium with a special performative event at Waipapa Marae.
  • Globally renowned in the critique of performance studies and choreography Professor André Lepecki from New York University launches his new book 'Singularities’ and speaks to the significant political movements of experimental performance.
  • Swedish artist Efva Lilja will perform her solo, There once was: A House, A Cow, A Woman and present a lecture about the role of art and research in politically complex and troubled times.

Efva Lilja will also be presenting a professional development workshop for contemporary dance artists and performers at Wellesley Street Studios during her stay with the support of Creative New Zealand.

About Efva Lilja:
Efva Lilja has a unique position in the Nordic region as a creative artist, researcher, writer, arts advisor, director, Professor and formerly a vice-chancellor. Through her work and practice within cultural, governmental and educational institutions she has demonstrated a commitment to creating understanding of the potential of the arts and artistic research to release and realise new ways of participating in contemporary times and living better within today's multicultural and diverse societies. Currently Lilja is the director of Danshallerne in Copenhagen, Denmark’s national centre for dance as an art form. In 2012 she was part of a cultural task force for the European Commission exploring how the innovative power of art and culture can stimulate new ideas and opportunities for development in times of crisis. Since 2014 she has been an expert adviser on Artistic Research to the Ministry of Education and Research in Sweden. Lilja has been an active force nationally and internationally, working to improve conditions for artists to undertake research in their artistic practices and develop understanding about the benefits of this research.  

About André Lepecki:
André Lepecki is the author of Exhausting Dance: performance and politics of movement (Routledge 2006) which has been translated into ten languages, and editor of several anthologies including Dance (Whitechapel 2012). Lepecki is Associate Professor at the Department of Performance Studies, New York University. He works and researches at the intersection of critical dance studies, curatorial practice, performance theory, contemporary dance and visual arts performance. He has curated projects for Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw; Hayward Gallery, London; Haus der Kunst, Münich; the 20th Biennale of Sydney, among other venues in Europe, the USA and Brazil. Lepecki has lectured extensively in venues such as Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; MoMA-Warsaw; Tate Modern, London; HKW, Berlin; Princeton University, Brown University, Écoles des Hautes Études in Science Sociales (EHESS), Paris, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, amongst others. He was the recipient of the AICA Award for Best Performance in 2008 for his authorised re-doing of Allan Kaprow’s 18 Happenings in 6 Parts (commissioned by Haus der Kunst, Munich 2006; presented at Performa 07). His book Singularities: dance in the age of performance is forthcoming through Routledge and will be launched during the Undiscipining Dance Symposium.

About Moana Nepia:
Moana Nepia is a Māori visual and performing artist, choreographer, curator, video artist, painter, and poet. He has choreographed for Atamira Dance Company, Footnote Dance Company, Taiao, the Royal New Zealand Ballet; he has presented work in festivals throughout the United Kingdom, in Spain, and at the Lilian Baylis Theater and The Place in London. He has devised choreographic projects for education departments of the Royal Ballet, Birmingham Royal Ballet, London City Ballet, and Dance Advance in the United Kingdom and taught at Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland, Unitec, and AUT in dance, visual arts, and digital and spatial design. His PhD thesis, awarded in 2013 from AUT titled Te Kore: Exploring the Māori Concept of Void, was the first practice-led PhD thesis in visual and performing arts rooted in Māori epistemologies. At the Center for Pacific Islands Studies, he is developing new courses with a focus on arts and performance in the Pacific. His interdisciplinary research interests include visual arts, dance and performance studies in the Pacific, Indigenous epistemologies, and research through creative practice.

30th June – 2nd July 2016
Dance Studies Programme,
Creative Arts and Industries Programme,
the University of Auckland.
To find out  more and to register visit

Media queries to m.playfair@auckland.ac.nz