Lemi Ponifasio / MAU

Lemi Ponifasio, born in Samoa, is one of New Zealand's most renowned directors and choreographers. After studying philosophy and political science, in 1995 he founded the Ensemble MAU in Auckland. The name can be traced back to the Samoan independence movement and can be translated as "vision" or "revolution." As a High Chief of Samoa, Ponifasio is one of the island nation's leading intellectual, spiritual personalities. Ritual and ceremony are central aspects of Ponifasio's works, transforming traditions and mythologies from his Pacific background into a radically modern theater that nonetheless retains a political intention.
MAU is a company, a center for critical reflection, and a creative workshop for international and local communities, artists, scholars, activists, and intellectuals all in one. Conventional notions of theater, dance, ritual, social commitment, and political activism are suspended in MAU's work. Lighting designer Helen Todd has worked with Ponifasion for many years as a close collaborator and is a member of MAU along with the dancers and performers Kasina Campbell, Kelemete Fu'a, Ioanne Papalii, Helmi Prasetyo, Teataki Tamango, Arikitau Tentau, Maeeke Teteka and Ofati Tangaroa.

The group's much discussed theater works Paradise (2003), Requiem (2006), TEMPEST: Without A Body (2007) und Le Savali (2011) have been performed around the world. MAU has been a guest at important international venues and festivals: Théâtre de la Ville in Paris, Biennale Venedig, Wiener Festwochen, Holland Festival, Lincoln Center New York, South Bank Centre London, Edinburgh Festival, Spielzeit Europa Berliner Festspiele u.v.a. In 2010, Birds With Skymirrors was premiered at Theater der Welt in Essen and was awarded the prize for best performance in 2012.

For more information