Dance first. Think later.

Maria is a trained contemporary dancer, graduating with a bachelor of performing arts from unitec in 2006 and completed her yoga teacher training course in byron bay in 2010. Maria has been performing in various dance work ranging from burlesque, cabaret and fringe dance over the past year after returning to new zealand, and is currently involved in a range of exciting projects with the nz dance community for 2012. Maria has been an avid yogini for many years and enjoys a strong vinyasa flow practice for strength training as well as a yin style approach for flexibility. Maria is also values pranayama and meditation techniques in her practice as key to awareness and a healthy state of mind and feels that having a strong and dedicated yoga practice is closely aligned to keeping dance fit, and essential to preventing injuries.

Maria has been part of the auckland contingent of we'ar for the past year, mostly seen at cross st HQ in store and more recently involved in the summer 2012 we'ar film collaboration with clairobsur. She also will be taking part in the upcoming fashion festival representing the we'ar winter range.

Maria will be performing for short and sweet dance fesival in auckland, for splore festival (along with we'ar), and touring a contemporary burlesque show 'In Flagrante' in May 2012. Maria recently spent three weeks in Wellington to take part in a choreolab workshop with footnote dance company to further her choreographic and technical skills and also worked with weta studios to create dynamic poses for an upcoming project....

some pics of Maria in the ever so comfy we'ar hasu pants, and the choreolab crew in action - love the light and bright footnote studio space! xx

Being a freelance dancer is an exciting but somewhat up and down career path - you never know where or when the next work will be, and you have to be prepared for anything.  I think my yoga practice is what keeps me grounded, and I love that no matter where you are, you can always find yoga tools such as breath-work, or a simple down dog to bring you back to yourself.

After a brief hiatus of being a travelling yogini gypsy (if you can call 4 years brief!) I came back home and was lucky enough to meet the lovely Jyoti and Anya and be involved in the consciously stylish label that is we'ar. Having travelled to Bali a few times, I love the ethos and intention that Jyoti and the team have employed to take we'ar in such a unique and positive direction for New Zealand fashion and lifestyle.

I have just come back from an amazing three weeks in Wellington, taking part in Choreolab - a workshop organized by the wonderful Dierdre Tarrant of Footnote Dance Company. I made many friends and contacts in the dance community, and worked with a range of incredible guest tutors.  And along with the sore muscles and bruises, I was proud to be repping we'ar - my hasu pants and 35mm tank sure got a rigorous work out!  Days started at the Cuba St studios with a 2 hour technique class, followed by workshops and 'labs' for freelancers creating their own work for upcoming festivals and performances. We also had spotlight talks from professionals in the industry on a range of topics from producing to dance physio, and discussions with festival directors.

I also got to put my meditation and yoga skills to good use by life modeling for Richard Taylor from weta workshop - those guys are amazing at how they can transform a lump of clay into a stunning representation of the human figure!

Being immersed in this creative process has really showed me how important it is to be involved and supportive of a rather under-acknowledged arts community, so that the brilliant skills and ideas of talented practitioners can be exposed to a wider audience.  I'm really looking forward to working on future projects with the friends I have made, and keeping up to date with whats happening in the contemporary dance scene. It was so great to take the intensive time to gain choreographic skills and to start firing up the muscle memory again... and gives me even more motivation to keep training and conditioning though dance and yoga.

I feel the same way about working for a clothing label that allows a freedom of personal expression, as well as being in the same vein as yoga, movement, creativity and collaborating with like minded people - it has been amazing. Yay for 2012 and we'ar!

x x x

want to get involved with arts and dance events around nz? check out the danz website or catch some of the amazing artists coming to nz for the international arts festival in Wellington from Feb 24th - March 18th... Maria's pick? Political Mother by Hofesh Schecter touring from the UK.