Luke Hanna. Photograph by Stephen A' Court and the New Zealand School of Dance.
Cultivating a successful dance career requires hard work, talent, motivation and an ability to take risks— and the fun part, according to Luke Hanna (26) is the international travel. “[It’s] one of the perks of a job that isn’t always well paid [but] often you wake up not knowing where you are or what time of day it is— travel can be stressful, and you’re tired, jetlagged…”
Over the past seven years Luke has worked for professional companies here and abroad—his career enviable, along with the impressive list of countries he’s had the privilege of visiting. Over the past two years though, he’s been back in New Zealand resting and recovering from a shoulder injury, but that doesn’t mean he won’t take opportunities when they arise—this year it was a tour to the Middle East.
But being back on home turf is advantageous too. Given his success, he was recently given the opportunity to exercise his ‘teaching muscle’ and inspire some up-and-coming dancers, as the appointed tutor for biennial workshop Tu Move— a week-long programme which specifically aims to give Maori and Pacific Island male dancers a chance to find out more about contemporary dance.
For both Hanna and his assistant Andrew Miller (22) it’s a rare opportunity to inspire some talented dancers who will hopefully come away thinking more seriously about a professional dance career and further training. “We’re two quite masculine males,” says Miller, “I’ve had my share of male dance teachers in the past, but it could have been a lot earlier in my life, and it could have changed a few different things, so I hope that we’re making some sort of impact…”
Tu Move was developed by the New Zealand School of Dance as a means to cater to the needs of existing professional dance companies such as; Black Grace, Atamira and Okareka. Established in 2010, the first Tu Move programme was facilitated by Tanemahuta Gray—a graduate of the NZSD with a strong background in tikanga and kapa haka. The programme has been supported by former All Black Norm Hewitt who has been a patron since its inception.
Luke Hana talks with Sonia Sly.