Tinana will look at where the world of dance and trade intersect. We want to develop a work that uses the language of both industries to explore the pressures of being the perfect body, man, mover, and maker. Tinana will explore how toxic masculinity strips men of their vulnerability, and only replaces it with a shell of staunchness.
Tinana will promote self-worth, not self-harm, through a combination of live performance and traditional Māori arts like raranga (weaving). The work will start conversations around how the community can come together to catch those who are on the edge.
The pressure to be ‘the man’ and provide for his family temporarily led Jared away from dance to take on a ‘real job’ as an apprentice builder, following in the footsteps of nine of his family. Jared went from learning alongside a supportive uncle to one that continued to casually slap him on back of the head and tell him to ‘get it through his f%#kn skull’.
Suicide rates of those in the building industry are over-representative of any other workplace, males are over- represented, Māori are over-represented, and New Zealand is over-represented. Our suicide rates have been increasing year after year and it’s imperative that we take action. We need frameworks of support for those who experience mental illness, depression, those who are left in their wake, and those who continue to support in the fight against the darkness.
Jared at the same time, wants to shine the light on our own industry. With a greater push for Māori and Pacifica men to enter contemporary dance, they are being plucked out of whanau-driven spaces, and dropped into archaic structures, stripped down, degraded, and silenced.
We hope by creating a work that is driven by young men who are grappling with mental health questions we can cultivate leaders for our community who can speak to their pain and that of others. We don’t want to lose these talented artists to jobs like working in a factory, being labourers, taking up a trades or worse – losing them completely. Everybody Cool Lives Here want to give them the microphone and spotlight to enable them to drive the conversation in a positive way.
Jared Hemopo is a professional dancer and choreographer based in Katikati, Bay of Plenty. He recently toured nationally with Atamira’s Pango and Taki Rua’s Tiki Taane Mahuta and has also previously worked with Footnote New Zealand Dance, Black Grace & Okareka. Born and raised up in Manurewa, South Auckland, Jared is of Māori and Pākehā descent. His iwi, Ngati Tuwharetoa connects to the King Country region of New Zealand. Jared’s choreographic voice brings his contemporary/hiphop background to the table. Combined with his Māoritanga and he becomes one of the most innovative in the dance community.
In February we managed to make it to Katikati, Bay of Plenty to meet Jared’s whanau and connect with the place he feels best at.