NZ Dance News – May

By Rain Francis.

Douglas Wright returned recently from The Netherlands. His company performed the acclaimed work Rapt at Lucent Danstheatre in Holland’s dancing capital, Den Hague. The all-star cast included Kilda Northcott, Sarah-Jayne Howard, Craig Bary, Kelly Nash, Alex Leonhartsberger, Nancy Wijohn, Dan Cooper, Will Barling and Sarah Foster. Foster said of the two-show tour: “The response was amazing; we had fantastic feedback and standing ovations. It was great to be a part of this tour and for Douglas’ work to be seen by an international audience.” Rapt was originally co-produced by Creative New Zealand and The Auckland Festival in 2011.

An audition for World of Wearable Arts is being held on May 26 at the Wellington Opera House for male and female dancers between the ages of 18 and 35 years old with significant professional experience. The contract for WOW runs from September 1 to October 6, 2013 in Wellington. You can register your interest by emailing your details to

Java Dance Company, New Zealand

Dancers Lauren Carr & Isabelle Nelson of Java Dance Company. Photo by Tom Hoyle.

The Alana Haines Australasian Awards took place over Easter at the St. James Theatre in Wellington. The event commemorates a promising 11-year-old Wellington dancer who was tragically killed on Christmas Eve 1989. It has grown to be the most prestigious in Australasia and is highly respected throughout the world.

Scholarships allocated to finalists for this year’s event included elite international companies and schools in Hong Kong, France, London and the USA. The Junior Winner was 13-year-old Harrison Lee from McDonald College in Sydney. The Supreme Winner of Group A was Bethany Cockburn, a 15-year-old student of Prudence Bowen in Queensland. The Supreme Winner of Group B was 18-year-old New Zealand School of Dance student Tynan Wood from New South Wales.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet has recently returned home from a successful tour of China where they performed their new production of Giselle. New Zealand audiences will be able to share some of the RNZB’s China experiences, onstage and behind the scenes, later this year. The production team from TV3’s The Secret Lives of Dancers were travelling with the company.

New Zealand School of Dance

Students of New Zealand School of Dance. Photo by Stephen A’Court

The New Zealand School of Dance Choreographic Season titled And Then it Moved introduces 10 new choreographers who are bringing contemporary dance premieres to the stage. Created by contemporary dance students in their third year of full-time study at the NZSD, And Then it Moved is the result of four intensive months of preparation. In addition to workshopping new dance pieces, the group of young choreographers have collaborated with professional musicians and technical students from Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School to make the show. And Then it Moved takes place in Wellington from May 20-25. For bookings, visit

Java Dance Company recently performed a two-week season of Down Beneath Below for the Capital E National Arts Festival. Nearly 4,000 4 to 14-year-olds responded vigorously to the show, which stars two penguins, a sea lion and an albatross. Down Beneath Below was performed by a cast of half Australian (Lauren Carr and Sam Wang) and half Kiwi (Isabelle Nelson and Michael Gudgeon) dancers.

Photo (top): Douglas Wright’s Rapt. Photo by John Savage.


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