Birds with Skymirrors
Lemi Ponifasio and NZ-based Company MAU
Birds With Skymirrors (US Premiere)
By Lemi Ponifasio
and NZ-based Company MAU
Concept, set design, choreography, and direction by Lemi Ponifasio
Lighting design by Helen Todd
BAM Howard Gilman Opera House (30 Lafayette Ave)
Nov 19—22 at 7:30pm
Tickets start at $20
“...a passionate cry for—and from—a beautiful wilderness.” –The Guardian (UK)
Brooklyn, NY/October 17, 2014—Samoan director and choreographer Lemi Ponifasio and his New Zealand-based company MAU make their BAM debut with the US premiere of Birds With Skymirrors—a haunting reflection on our relationship with the world in a time of climate change.
“A work of unusual power” (Sydney Morning Herald), Birds With Skymirrors is a radical composition in poetry, chant, and dance which emerged from Ponifasio’s experiences while working on the remote Micronesian island of Tarawa. There he encountered birds carrying strips of video tape in their beaks, dangling like liquid mirrors in the sky—an image of both beauty and the spirit of death. A visually stunning piece, featuring precise, gestural choreography against a stark backdrop, Birds With Skymirrors is a karanga (“summoning,” an element of cultural protocol of the New Zealand MAori people), a genealogical prayer, a ceremony, a poetic space, a life reflection.
Most of the performers of MAU—particularly in this work—are from low-lying atolls of the Moana Ocean which are already experiencing the disastrous consequences of climate change. Birds With Skymirrors is Ponifasio’s response to this reality, his idea of the last dance on earth.