A new style of dance
Anu Khapung’s style of dancing fuses her many influences - traditional dance from her native Nepal, the hip hop she discovered when she first moved to New Zealand, and the ballet she’s now studying at Unitec in Auckland.
Anu can’t remember a time when she didn’t love to dance. “When I was little, I was always dancing,” she says.
“I studied Nepalese dance at school, but when I was 14 my Dad moved us to New Zealand because he wanted a new life for us. I discovered hip hop and my friend and I used to dance to the hip hop videos on YouTube.”
Anu had never had dance lessons, so she knew studying for a Bachelor in Performing and Screen Arts (Contemporary Dance) would be challenging. The degree involves learning to choreograph and perform at a professional level.
It has been hard, but I love it. Ballet has been especially difficult but my tutor has been really supportive. If there’s something I need to work on, he’ll sometimes give me private lessons after class.
Now in the final year of her three-year degree, Anu says she has particularly enjoyed working collaboratively with actors, set designers, lighting designers and other screen arts students to create new dance works.
She has also enjoyed being taught by visiting tutors from other dance companies.
“Auckland is a great place to study dance because there are so many facilities and connections here,” says Anu.
“One of the highlights for me was doing a show with a friend that combines contemporary dance with Nepalese movement and music. Everyone loved it, so we’re hoping to perform it at the Auckland and Wellington fringe festivals next year.
“In the future, I’d like to go back to Nepal and teach the New Zealand style of dance there.”
About the contributors
Linley Boniface is a contract writer for Education New Zealand. She is based in Wellington, her favourite city in New Zealand. A former journalist, Linley spent a year in Montreal, Canada, as a secondary school student.