Prisoners “blown away” by Rodney Bell performance
27 June 2018
Dancer Rodney Bell is touring the North Island with his autobiographical work Meremere in collaboration with Malia Johnston and Movement of the Human. Rodney’s tour has included performances and follow-up discussions at the Northland Region Corrections Facility and the Hawkes Bay Regional Prison.
Below is some of the feedback about his performances in the two prisons.
- “I went to a performance yesterday by Rodney Bell and the performance was called Meremere. The performance was based around his life in San Francisco. While he was living in San Francisco he ended up becoming homeless. I enjoyed the dancing side of the performance because I dance as well and I found it really interesting because he was in a wheelchair and he was still doing what he likes. He had a dice game that he played with us. He threw the dice and we picked a number out of the list that he gave us. The first list was dance moves that he could do. The second list was about his stories from his experience being homeless. Overall, I found that through his performance there was a message about ‘When life gets hard, don’t give up’. There will always be barriers but you can overcome them.”
- “Didn’t know what to expect and I was blown away.”
- “It was pretty cool. I was surprised by his stories and that he had been homeless and was in a wheelchair. He has been through some pretty buzzy stuff.”
- “His story didn’t only inspire the world but it also inspired us.”
- “Meremere is a journey using dance, film, music and storytelling that takes us through Rodney Bell’s life story to now. Rodney is a talented performer who dances and mentors from his wheelchair after a life-changing accident in his youth. All three performances were attended by prisoners and staff. The final performance left its mark on the men of Kaaka and Pukeko units. Many asked questions in the Q and A session, and gave a rousing and memorable haka and waiata to our guests.”