Polyfest leads to busy dance career

20 June 2018

Artist Xavier Breed is busy. The twenty two year-old University of Auckland Dance Studies Programme postgraduate student has just returned from Asia, where he represented NZ and the Pacific at the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) Forum for Creativity and Heritage in China.

After taking part in Auckland’s Pacific Dance Festival (running until 23 June) he will be inducted to the Asia New Zealand Foundation Leadership network in Auckland on 28 June.

Xavier has choreographed a work entitled Pou for his project based Pacific dance company, MANU Collective, which will be performed for two nights at the festival as a double-bill with Anga, by Dance Studies Programme graduate Vivian Aue of AUE Dance Company.

To top it all off, he’s in the middle of researching and writing his master’s thesis on the topic of How might a choreographic process empower cultural understanding by engaging creative-practice choreographic research in the context of international diplomacy, supervised by Senior Dance Studies Lecturer Dr Alys Longley. He is also a freelance choreographer with a focus on contemporary and Pacific contemporary dance.

This was not the path the New Zealander born Samoan initially saw himself taking, while at Rutherford College. He had considered pursuing a career in medicine or law, before dance slowly took over his life. 

Rutherford was the first high school in the country to introduce dance as a subject. Xavier had been performing, choreographing and leading with the Samoan Group at school, and competing at the annual Polyfest contest. He developed a passion for movement and decided to enrol in dance as a school subject taught by Perri Exeter, and did so well that in 2013 he topped the country in the subject winning the New Zealand Dance Scholarship Award.

Leading up to his achievement in NCEA Scholarship Dance, Xavier was chosen to take part in the New Zealand Youth Dance Company, under the umbrella of the New Zealand Dance Company, to work on a new show. Various achievements in dance had Xavier put his previous careers aside in favour of pursuing a Bachelor of Dance Studies degree at the University of Auckland, where he also had the opportunity to train in Modern Dance in South Korea and perform and take part in cultural programmes in China and Macau.

Last year, during his postgraduate diploma of Dance Studies, Xavier was accepted as a visiting scholar to the prestigious Taipei National University of Arts Department of Dance in Taiwan, before arriving back in Auckland to commence his masters of dance. He will return to Taiwan next month to undertake his Masters research and to continue choreographing works.

“I’m glad I followed my passion and pursued dance at the University of Auckland. Their programme allows you to see dance as more than just a performative process. It’s internationally recognised for its research and practice, and I hope to learn more about cultural exchange and policy making through dance in the next year” he says.

To find out more about Xavier’s work in the Pacific Dance Festival visit: www.pacificdance.co.nz

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