Katherine MacAlister talks to the creator of a stunning new Maori inspired dance performance

If you are still weeping into your beer about England’s defeat in the Rugby World Cup, all is not lost.

As part of Family Dance Week, there is a one-off opportunity to see the Haka dance live, performed by Maori dancers from New Zealand, as part of a stunning new show coming to Pegasus.

Choreographed by Corey Baker, the Kiwi dancer and ballerina, who created this show from scratch, is very excited about bringing his vision to Oxford.

“It’s about celebrating our multi-culturalism and tradition through dance, and I was in a position to create that. Living in London I missed my home country, so this is a direct result of my homesickness and wanting to get back in touch with my New Zealandness, of wanting to demonstrate a piece of New Zealand to the rest of the world,” he tells me.

“And while originally I did think about performing it at rugby stadiums, the energy is better captured elsewhere.”

Years in the making, Corey was determined to have his new work finished in time for the 2015 Rugby World Cup. “I wanted to harness some of that energy, but I won’t pretend it was easy.

“Trying to share a culture and language that no one understands through a story no one knows, had its own challenges, but we got there and I’m really pleased with the result.”

So what can we expect? “Well Kapa Haka is a Maori art form, an umbrella which showcases the New Zealanders inherent cheekiness with folk stories and dance. It’s a great combination of music, theatre, dance and culture, but a very powerful one and we really bring these stories to life. So expect something magical and enchanting, that ordinarily you would only ever see in New Zealand.”

As for coming to Oxford, Corey said: “We are really excited because Oxford has such a great relationship with dance, and the organisers Dancin’ Oxford are an incredible organisation that should never be taken for granted. They prove that dance is for everybody.”

Family Dance Week runs from October 10-18.

Highlights include a Wheelchair Dance Sport Workshop at Oxsrad on Saturday. Second Hand Dance also makes a return to Pegasus on Sunday, a quirky dance show for young children. Oxford’s Joëlle Pappas is leading a creative dance workshop, to live music, for young children and their families, inspiring them to create their own family dances at West Oxford Community Centre on Sunday, October, 18 followed by a free family disco.

See dancinoxford.co.uk for details