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Pacific Dance Festival takes LGBTQ into outer space

Auckland, NEW ZEALAND — The futuristic show entitled Bionica opens on Thursday as part of this month's Pacific Dance Festival.

It explores the stories of a group of brown LGBTQ indigenous youth set in a utopian world in the future and features a popular dance style known as voguing.

It is the first show for director Jacob Tamata, who said he was motivated to tell his community's stories even if those stories go against traditional and social expectations.

"I want more work to be in the public sphere that has normalized queer identities and is genuinely inclusive of the community," Tamata said.

"I am also passionate about invigorating Pacific youth and my show Bionica has a bold look at future possibilities about queer youth in particular, that is the audience I am targeting the most," he said.

"I want us to start making progress for our community by telling stories that enable us to live well and prosper."

Bionica is presented by the Coven Collective and supported by the contemporary queer Pacific arts incubator, FAFSWAG.

As well as dance shows, the festival at the Māngere Arts Centre in South Auckland includes workshops, film screenings, and costume exhibitions.