NZ Dance News – May 2014

By Rain Francis of Dance Informa.

New Zealand School of Dance students performed in a studio showing last month, giving audiences an up-close look at the school and the repertoire being learnt.

First year classical student Jeremie Gan performed Colas’ variation from La Fille Mal Gardée, choreographed by Alexander Gorsky. NZSD Graduate Martin James coached Gan for this challenging solo, which Gan executed to significant acclaim at last year’s Asian Grand Prix in Hong Kong.

First year classical women danced Roses from Cinderella, a corps de ballet piece for 10 females, by special arrangement with the choreographer Christopher Hampson. In addition, third year contemporary stream students performed excerpts of new works.

Currently, NZSD classical students are being taught by former Artistic President of the Prix de Lausanne, Wim Broeckx.

From May 16, NZSD presents its annual Choreographic Season, introducing a series of new works choreographed by third year contemporary dance students. The Residents is a theatrical, curious and technically impressive contemporary dance show, inspired by the students’ own eclectic backgrounds.

Royal New Zealand Ballet in Coppelia

The Royal New Zealand Ballet presents “Coppelia,” with Lucy Green as Swanhilda and Sir Jon Trimmer as Dr. Coppelius. Photo by Evan Li.

The participating students have worked hard to get the show on the stage, recently completing a unique fundraising stunt of dancing through a door 1,000 times on Cuba Street in Wellington in April. The challenge, which took over two hours to complete in pouring rain, raised the money needed to install a re-purposed film set into the theatre.

Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Coppélia received glowing reviews after its opening in Wellington on April 17.

“Choreographically the work sparkles,” wrote Ann Hunt of The Dominion Post. “This delightful production of Coppélia will leave you with a smile on your face and a melody in your heart.”

“Executed superbly at every level,” said Jack Yan for Lucire. “A lovingly designed and staged production that will suit family audiences.”

“Find out when it is coming to you and go see it!…an evening of colour, fun and classical dancing” said Deirdre Tarrant for Theatreview.

The production continues it’s tour this month, with remaining performances in Invercargill (4 May), Dunedin (8-9 May), Napier (16-17 May), Rotorua (21 May), Takapuna (24 -25 May) and Auckland (28-31 May).

Unitec graduates have been performing all over the place. Ula Buliruarua, Liana Yew and Maria Munkowits recently performed an open rehearsal of Okareka Dance Company’s Mana Wahine at the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival 2014. Demigod/half-Human (choreographed by Shani Dickens in collaboration with dancers Rosa Provost and Jahra “Rager” Wasasala) featured an all Unitec star cast. Jessie Mcall’s The Way We Fall featured dancers Julie van Renen, Sarah Elsworth and Anitra Hayday, all Unitec Graduates.

REMAP in Christchurch

REMAP Co-Director Erica Viedma in REMAP class entitled “Movement Practice.” Photo courtesy of Unitec.

Premiering at Q Theatre last month, graduate Natalie Maria Clark’s APT Y IDOS featured Unitec graduates Sarah Elsworth, Matthew Moore, Rosa Provost and Lydia Zanetti. The sound design was created by another Unitec Dance graduate, Lucy Beeler.

Also, 2003 graduates Julia Harvie, Erica Viedma and Paul Young, with Support from DANZ, Christchurch City Council, the Canterbury Community Trust and CNZ, have created a new dance development organisation in Christchurch. REMAP (Research, Education, Movement, Art, Practice) is committed to strengthening the Christchurch dance community. REMAP runs several weekly classes, as well as regular masterclasses, workshops and events. Learn more at

This year, Unitec students will second to Auckland Theatre Company, Footnote Dance, The New Zealand Dance Company, Australian Dance Theatre, Anthony Hamilton and Company Australia, The Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra project, DanceNorth (Australia), W.O.W. World of Wearable Arts and Okareka Dance Company.

Atamira Dance Company premiered their powerful new work MOKO last month at SkyCity Theatre. Again, Unitec Dance was heavily represented, by Artistic Director and Choreographer Moss Patterson, 
Assistant Choreographer Kelly Nash and dancers Mark Bonnington, Nancy Wijohn, Bianca Hyslop and Gabrielle Thomas.

Photo (top):  The New Zealand School of Dance presents its annual Choreographic Season in May. Photo courtesy of NZSD.

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