New Zealand Dance News – January 2014

The New Zealand Dance Company is about to embark on its first international tour, performing Rotunda at the Holland Dance Festival. Hot off the tails of this tour the company will go into rehearsals for Language of Living, which is touring to Invercargill, Christchurch, Nelson, New Plymouth and Tauranga in May 2014. The dancers will also be conducting workshops in an additional five centres as part of the company’s Youth Engagement Programme (YEP!). This time around, Language of Living will feature a new work by Tupua Tigafua. NZTrio (violinist Justine Cormack, cellist Ashley Brown and pianist Sarah Watkins) will be performing onstage with the company in Invercargill and Christchurch. Full tour details will be announced early 2014. To keep in the loop, sign up for the NZDC e-newsletter at www.nzdc.org.nz.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet welcomes five new dancers to the company for 2014 and bids farewell to two dancers. Bryn Watkins (from American Ballet Theatre), Lori Gilchrist (from Northern Ballet), Jiang Peng Fei (from New Zealand School of Dance) and Alexander Idaszak (from Queensland Ballet) will join the company. Matthew Slattery and Helio Lima have left in December to pursue careers with the Boston Ballet.

The ballet company will begin 2014 with a three-week tour of the U.S. Performing in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Minneapolis and New York, the company is presenting its acclaimed production of Giselle (2012) and a mixed bill of contemporary works. The tour opens with Giselle in Los Angeles on January 31, where the company’s Principal Guest Artist Gillian Murphy will be making her American debut in the lead role.

“I am excited to be returning to the U.S. as Artistic Director of the RNZB,” says Artistic Director Ethan Stiefel. “The ballets we are taking, including our acclaimed production of Giselle and a trio of contemporary works, will show the RNZB and New Zealand at its very best.”

FootnoteNZ has announced that Richard Aindow will be its new General Manager. Aindow is a well-known Wellington figure as he comes to FootnoteNZ from four years as General Manager and Editor of Wellington’s FishHead magazine. He is a passionate leader of the arts and is actively engaged as a movie reviewer and cultural critic. Richard Aindow will begin as General Manager of FootnoteNZ in January 2014.

The first FootnoteNZ season, Straight Laced, will be staged at BATS Theatre as part of the New Zealand Fringe Festival and will follow intensive workshop Choreolab in January 2014. Performed by the new ChoreoCo initiative, the guest choreographer for this project will be Craig Bary, one of New Zealand’s most renowned exports. ChoreoCo is a short-term contracted company of emerging dancers who will be selected during Choreolab.

Photo (top): RNZB present Giselle.  Dancers Qi Huan and Gillian Murphy in Act 2. Photo by Evan Li.

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