This year sees a changing of the guard and a re-brand for Tempo Dance Festival in it's 12th year. Carrie Rae Cunningham steps into the role of Artistic Director, Brendan Meek is appointed General Manager and Jessie McCall becomes festival Producer. Photographer Solomon Mortimer's photographs capture NZ dancers on location in it's 5th year at Q Theatre, while designer Zoe Ikin gives the Tempo brand a contemporary, sophisticated update. 2015 boasts 50 shows and events over a 19-day season - Tempo's biggest festival yet!
Tempo celebrated its 10th anniversary under the guidance of Festival Director Celia Walmsley who joined the Tempo team in 2012. In the same year, the Government acknowledged the important role of the Tempo Dance Festival in promoting and supporting New Zealand dance and dancers, by awarding the New Zealand Dance Festival Trust Creative New Zealand Kahikatea status. Tempo continues to grow each year, developing key partnerships within the arts sector and strengthening its communication with the dance community to ensure the Festival remains a vital and significant event in New Zealand’s cultural landscape for generations to come.
Tempo moved its hub to the newly-opened Q Theatre on Queen Street, in the heart of Auckland City. The larger Rangatira stage allowed Tempo to present evening–length shows to a wider audience, while the more intimate Loft theatre was ideal for experimental and smaller-scale works. The basic festival format by this time comprised a selection of predominantly professional shared programmes, evening–length works and workshops. The Poutama (staircase of learning) was well-established to develop stage craft and professional skills for
The festival trustees decided that there was demand for an annual event, and October became known as ‘Dance Month’ in Auckland. Under the professional artistic direction of ex-Limbs dancer and choreographer Mary- Jane O’Reilly QSM, the festival grew in strength and breadth. In response to the demand for a holistic rather than purely regional approach to dance in New Zealand, the trustees established a new charity which could bring dance to any part of New Zealand - the New Zealand Dance Festival Trust. Tempo initiated collaborations with other arts organisations and community-based dance festivals around the country, such as The Edge, The Body Festival and a variety of regional pan-arts festivals, to tour international dance around New Zealand. The Festival also brought dancers and choreographers from all over New Zealand to show their work to a large, mostly Auckland-based audience.
Tempo Dance Festival was officially launched as the main event of the ADFT. The early festivals were held once every two years at the Auckland Town Hall and those who were involved recall a frenzy of dance activity from community dance groups and professionals. The festival format was ideal for increasing audience awareness of the diversity of dance available in New Zealand and promoting established and emerging choreographers’ and dancers’ work.
Tempo began to include multiple venues across Auckland and a wide range of dance genres and participants, from young children to international dance companies. When modern facilities were built at The Auckland Performing Arts Centre (TAPAC) in Western Springs, the festival moved its focus there to enjoy the intimate theatre space and easy access.
A group of visionary dance professionals and supporters saw the need for a festival dedicated specifically to dance, run by industry professionals knowledgeable in the special requirements of this art form. The Auckland Dance Festival Trust was established, with Sonja as its director, to run the first dance festival in the Southern hemisphere.
Northern Dance Network began running Chance to Dance events in Auckland at Town Hall. Organised by Sonja Bright, these early events included workshops in all styles of dance and performances by local dance groups and studios, including The Dance Studio and Boyzdance.