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NZ Dance News – February

Dancers Lauren Byrne and Emma Martin in 'Know Yourself'. Photo by Stephen A'Court.

What’s happening in the New Zealand dance scene?

Royal New Zealand Ballet's new ballet mistress, Nadia Thompson. Photo courtesy of RNZB.

Royal New Zealand Ballet’s new ballet mistress, Nadia Thompson. Photo courtesy of RNZB.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet has announced the appointments of ballet mistress Nadia Thompson and ballet master Alberto Montesso, who will both join the company throughout 2016.

Thompson was trained in Australia and the Royal Ballet School, and won bronze medal at the Adeline Genée Awards. Before moving to Boston Ballet, she worked with Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet, Northern Ballet Theatre and London City Ballet, dancing many principal roles. Thompson has worked as a guest teacher with Trey McIntyre Project, White Oak, Colorado Ballet, Boston Ballet, Queensland Ballet, Kansas City Ballet, Atlanta Ballet, Harvard University, Wellesley College, West Australian Ballet and Queensland University of Technology Australia. She also works as a répétiteur for Michael Pink’s ballets, setting Dracula and The Hunchback of Notre Dame for Atlanta Ballet, Colorado Ballet and Kansas City Ballet, and stages Timothy O’Donnell’s works as well.

RNZB's new ballet master, Alberto Montesso. Photo courtesy of RNZB.

RNZB’s new ballet master, Alberto Montesso. Photo courtesy of RNZB.

Montesso graduated from Accademia Nazionale di Danza in Rome and went on to perform with companies worldwide before becoming a teacher. He has worked at Teatro dell’Opera di Roma; English National Ballet; K-Ballet Company, Japan; Teatro Massimo di Palermo, Italy; and Tulsa Ballet Theatre, USA.

Montesso has worked as a guest teacher with School of Tulsa Ballet, USA; Ballett im Revier, Gelsenkirchen, Germany; Accademia Nazionale di Danza, Rome; Teatro Massimo, Palermo; and Accademia Nazionale di Danza, Rome. Notable productions have been The Sleeping Beauty for Balleto del Sud; Carmen for Danzitalia; Coppélia for Teatro Massimo Palermo; and The Nutcracker for Teatro di San Carlo, Naples.

Fringe Festival 2016. Infinite Dance Crew's 'To Infinity and Beyond'. Photo courtesy of Infinite Dance Crew.

Fringe Festival 2016. Infinite Dance Crew’s ‘To Infinity and Beyond’. Photo courtesy of Infinite Dance Crew.

2016’s Fringe Festival brings almost 150 shows to audiences in Wellington. On the dance programme this year are: Sringaram-Dance of Love (Swaroopa Unni), Who Are We Now? (Maria Dabrowska for Footnote Dance), Castles (House of Sand), East Meets West (Chinese New Year Festival), To Infinity and Beyond (Infinite Dance Crew), Know Yourself (How About Now), D (Jessica Brownell – USA), Crows Feet Hit the Pavement (Crow’s Feet Collective), and Knitting While Sleeping (House of Sand). For the full programme, visit fringe.co.nz.

Auckland Arts Festival takes place from March 2-20, with dance featuring prominently. The world premiere of Changes, performed by Black Grace, is the result of the Asia Pacific Dance Project, an initiative bringing choreographers together to create and present work. m¡longa, choreographed by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (Babel) and tango superstar Nelida Rodriguez de Aure, crosses borders from the streets of Belgium to the calle of Buenos Aires. Atamira Dance Company premieres Ruaumoko, a collaboration with Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra, bringing 100 new, young performers together with professional mentors. Speed of Light is a triple bill from the Royal New Zealand Ballet. It comprises Andonis Foniakakis’s seductive Selon Desir, William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated and Alexander Ekman’s Cacti.

'Milonga' for the Auckland Arts Festival. Photo courtesy of Theatre Jorat.

‘Milonga’ for the Auckland Arts Festival. Photo courtesy of Theatre Jorat.

For the full programme, go to www.aaf.co.nz.

CupaDupa, for the second year running, will transform Wellington’s more iconic street over the weekend of 19 and 20 March. CubaDupa is Wellington’s vibrant street festival of music, dance, circus, theatre and installation. A highlight will include The Swan Dance Hall with a fun, interactive line-up of dance performances and workshops.

“Artists from Wellington, New Zealand, and the world will present extraordinary music to make you move, theatre and circus to entertain, and visually exciting art that will make for a fantastic free cultural event,” says CubaDupa Artistic Director Drew James.

Visit CubaDupa.co.nz.

By Rain Francis of Dance Informa.

Photo (top): Dancers Lauren Byrne and Emma Martin in ‘Know Yourself’. Photo by Stephen A’Court.

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