Loose Canons31.07.23

Loose Canons: Abbie Rogers

Loose Canons is a series where we invite artists we love to share five things that have shaped their creative practice. Dancer and choreographer Abbie Rogers shares five things that inspire her.

Loose Canons is a series in which we invite artists we love to share five things that have informed their work. Meet the rest of our Loose Canons here.

Abbie Rogers (Ngāi Tahu, Te Arawa) is a dancer, choreographer, teacher and emerging producer. She recently travelled to Canada and the USA with Atamira Dance Company performing on stage and assisting in the presentation of TOMO VR, an adaptation from the stage work TOMO being performed this August.

Born in Ōtautahi and now living in Tāmaki Mākaurau, she has worked with various acclaimed artists, most recently Gabrielle Thomas, Taiaroa Royal and Eddie Elliott. Abbie has been working closely with Atamira since 2019 on various projects including Te Wheke, Tomo VR, Kiko, Tomo and had her first chance to choreograph for the company in 2022 for KAHA-Tripleboost. She has also had the privilege of performing in Mana Wahine (2022) by Ōkāreka Dance Company.

As a Māori artist and performer, she is passionate about connecting Mātauranga Māori, tikanga and mau rākau with her contemporary dance practice to create engaging stories through movement.

TOMO is returning to Tāmaki Makaurau from 3 – 5 August before heading to Whangārei and Hamilton. Find out more about TOMO here.

Whakapapa and tūpuna

Working for a company like Atamira, I’m constantly immersed in te ao Māori. Whakapapa is a huge part of that. Learning and discovering more about my whakapapa is one of my biggest inspirations when it comes to my artistic practice. I’m constantly thinking about ways I can honour my whānau by telling our stories and speaking about my Māori culture through the storytelling of dance.

I often feel that my tūpuna are guiding my movement and artistic decisions, reminding me what is needed in a moment and when it’s time to let something go. My tūpuna and my whānau encourage me to pursue the unknown. Sometimes it’s a big push from my tūpuna Auntie Cath guiding me to create something new, or a comforting call from my māmā when I’m feeling a bit lost.

Photographer – Jinki Cambronero

Music and sound

I think of music and sound as universal languages that dancers use to communicate. They evoke emotions and memories and can also be used to communicate feeling, timing and pace. Music challenges my habits and inspires me to discover new pathways in movement and ideas.

As someone who does a lot of teaching, I enjoy customising the music to suit each situation. Whether it's taonga pūoro or feel-good tunes like Yolanda Adams’ "I Believe", music can either enhance or hinder my mood and movement.

As an emerging choreographer, sound serves as a way to influence space and time. It ignites my imagination and enables my body to feel movement rather than forcing it. Sound is a constant companion, a friend I turn to when I'm feeling lost or unmotivated. It's the friend who shows up at your whare with some kiwi onion dip and chips on the weekend.

Good kai

There's a saying I love: "You never know until you crack the egg”, meaning "go for it."

I'll never know if something is going to work until I try it, experience it, or learn it. So, I'm often trying to get out of my comfort zone and try new things, even if it's uncomfortable. When I'm uninspired, I'll go visit a cafe I saw on social media or try a new recipe. For me, food just makes life better. In case you’re in need of some kai inspiration and you're in Tāmaki, check out Mekong Baby, Deco Eatery, and Luna Bakehouse.

Fun fact: I love going to markets and try to support local as much as possible. If anyone knows some good markets around, hit me up!

Photographer – Jinki Cambronero


Some call it high maintenance, but I prefer to call it organised. As an artist, much of my world is unknown. What will my next project be? What will next year look like? Keeping my life organised prevents me from drowning in stress and gives me space to explore and get messy.

I recently read a blog that said "creativity and logic are closely connected." For me, being organised is essential to unlocking my creativity. My logical brain rejoices in colour-coordinated spreadsheets and writing down the sequence of a new dance work. It’s the little things like wrapping up my charging cords or having way too many tupperware containers that helps settle my mind so I can focus on creating.

BLOG: Creativity and logic: avoid dangerous stereotypes by Alla Tkachuk Frsa


Discovering new mātauranga and honing my skills not only enriches my life but also connects me to my whakapapa. Whether it's learning te reo Māori, attending a workshop about clowning, practising mau rākau, or taking an evening class to keep up my dance practice, the process of learning ignites a spark within me.

Learning encourages me to embrace challenges and persist in the face of obstacles. No matter how uncomfortable new things may feel, it's better to have learned than to not know at all, right? Whaowhia te kete mātauranga - fill the basket of knowledge. This whakataukī reminds me that my kete is never full, and there is always something out there to fill it up more. Learning is a lifelong journey that reminds me there is always more to discover. It encourages me to remain open-minded, adaptable, and curious.


Abbie Rogers performs in Atamira Dance Company’s TOMO from 3 - 5 August at TAPAC Auckland, 10 August at Forum North Whangārei and 18 & 19 August at The Meteor Hamilton. More info at https://atamiradance.co.nz/

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The Pantograph Punch publishes urgent and vital cultural commentary by the most exciting new voices in Aotearoa.

The Pantograph Punch publishes urgent and vital cultural commentary by the most exciting new voices in Aotearoa.

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