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New Zealand Dance News – May 2016

NZSD third-year contemporary students. Photo by Stephen A’Court.

Find out what’s happening in the New Zealand dance scene this month!

The Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) premieres its new production this month: The Wizard of Oz. Artistic Director Francesco Ventriglia has made one of the worl’d most loved stories into a magical new ballet, which opens in Wellington on 4 May and visits nine centres around NZ.

Inspiration for the ballet comes not from the well-known movie but instead from the original 1900 novel by L. Frank Baum.

“This story is very close to my heart,” Ventriglia says. “I loved it as a child and feel that it holds many truths that are too easily forgotten or overlooked in adulthood. I’m delighted to choreograph this ballet for my New Zealand dancers and to have its world premiere in New Zealand – my new home.”

Lucy Green as Dorothy in RNZB's 'The Wizard of Oz'. Photo by Ross Brown.

Lucy Green as Dorothy in RNZB’s ‘The Wizard of Oz’. Photo by Ross Brown.

Originally created in Florence in 2013 as a one-act ballet, but never performed, the work has now been developed as a full-length production for the RNZB. It features the “jazz age” music of French composer Francis Poulenc and includes classical pointe work, barefoot contemporary ballet “and even some ruby slipper tap dancing”.

For more information, click here.

New Zealand Dance Week has just wrapped up, with a series of festivities for dance lovers nationwide. Dance Aotearoa New Zealand (DANZ) launched the celebrations with the ballroom dancing competition Capezio Kiwi Classic at the Langham Hotel in Auckland on 23 April.

Other events included a screening of dance films highlighting the history of dance in New Zealand, free workshops, an open Latin dance rehearsal, contact improvisation jams, beginner swing dance lessons, flashmobs and classes in a variety of dance styles.

DANZ says, “NZ Dance Week has been made possible by all of you wonderful people who have received this opportunity with open arms and those of you (future tense) who will participate in the great things provided. And we thank you for that!”

The New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) is in the final stages of preparation for its annual Choreographic Season, which takes place at the end of this month. The production will showcase a collection of new dance works, created by the 10 third-year students of the school’s contemporary dance stream. It is a collaboration between the dance students of the NZSD and the production/stage craft students of Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School.

In between creating all aspects of the show, students have been running a crowd-funding campaign on givealittle.co.nz/fundraiser/choreo2016 for the construction of the multi-layered costumes created by costumier Donna Jefferis.

This year’s choreographic season takes place at Te Whaea Theatre, Wellington from May 20-28. For more information, click here.

 By Rain Francis of Dance Informa.

Photo (top): NZSD third-year contemporary students. Photo by Stephen A’Court.

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