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New Zealand Dance News – July 2016

New Zealand School of Dance students Jessica Johns and Toa Paranihi, photographed by Stephen A’Court

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

The New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) is gearing up to hold auditions for its full-time course in five New Zealand and Australian cities during September/October. The full-time programme prepares dancers for careers in dance performance. Students major in either classical ballet or contemporary dance while receiving a strong grounding in both disciplines. With NZSD graduates making a name for themselves (and the School) in most of the major Australian and New Zealand dance companies, and around 75 percent of graduates receiving professional contracts, this is one opportunity you won’t want to miss. This year, NZSD will be holding auditions in Adelaide for the first time, as well as Wellington, Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney. Apply online during July at www.nzschoolofdance.ac.nz.

To provide support for future talent, NZSD is again offering its Tū Move course for young Māori and Pacific Island men. Running for a week in the July school holidays, Tū Move is a free workshop, giving 14-18-year-olds a crash course in a variety of styles that include street dance and contemporary dance. With several students on the NZSD’s full-time course getting their foundation at Tū Move, it’s a proven way to get into dance as a career. Tū Move runs 18 – 22 July 2016 at the New Zealand School of Dance in Wellington: www.nzschoolofdance.ac.nz/events/tu-move.

NZSD will offer a special masterclass and choreographic seminar on Wednesday, July 6, at Wellesley Studios in Auckland. The seminar will be led by Victor Fung of Hong Kong/London, and he will focus on movement exploration that involves examining movement patterns and histories of the performing body. Enrolments are now open for advanced level and professional dancers: nzdc.org.nz/victor-fung

Okareka Dance Company in 'Mana Wahine'. Photo courtesy of Okareka

Okareka Dance Company in ‘Mana Wahine’. Photo courtesy of Okareka Dance Company.

Okareka Dance Company has remounted its acclaimed production Mana Wahine, two years after its debut. Playing at Circa Theatre, Wellington, last month, the show was part of the Kia Mau Festival of theatre and dance, taking place during during Matariki (Maori New Year). The all-female cast of Mana Wahine received a standing ovation, with reviewer Ann Hunt (Stuff.co.nz) calling the production “unforgettable… this is a work that deserves to be seen again and again and everywhere.”

Nederlands Dans Theater has recently performed in New Zealand for the first time ever. From 29 June – 2 July, the highly acclaimed company brought four works to the Civic Theatre, Auckland: Safe as Houses (Sol Leon & Paul Lightfoot), Woke Up Blind (Marco Goecke), The Statement (Crystal Pite) and Stop-Motion (Sol Leon and Paul Lightfoot).

The company is known as one of the most innovative in the world, with dancers aged 24-41 and from all corners of the globe. Besides the company’s Auckland performances, it also held workshops for dance students and professionals during its time in New Zealand.

Several dance advocates have this year been appointed to the New Zealand Order of Merit. Maureen Ax, for services to dance and youth. Ax is a registered teacher of the Royal Academy of Dance and became a Life Member of the Academy in 2002. Julie Hawke, for services to Highland dance. Hawke has been involved with the teaching and administration of Highland Dance for the past 35 years. Neil Ieremia, for services to dance. Ieremia founded his own dance company, Black Grace, in 1995 with 10 male dancers of Pacific, Māori and New Zealand heritage, and as Artistic Director and Chief Executive has since turned Black Grace into a highly recognisable and iconic cultural brand. Billie Jordan, for services to seniors and dance. Jordan is a self-employed communications consultant who founded The Hip Op-eration Crew, a hip hop dance group consisting of 22 members aged 68 to 96 years old. Watch Jordan’s Hip Op-eration Crew in the For the Love of Dance in Aotearoa video. Claire Patten, for services to dance. Patten has been one of the principal dance teachers in the Taranaki province for 55 years.

A new initiative by DANZ, the Korari Workshop Exploring Maori Contemporary Dance is now under way. It offers professional development to secondary teachers wishing to deliver dance in the classroom to support students’ NCEA work. The first workshop will be held in the upcoming school holidays, and will be in two parts. They will be led by Tanemahuta Gray, a dance professional, and Linzi Heighway, an experienced dance educator who will link the practical workshop to NCEA work. For more information or to register for the workshop, contact Faye Jansen Ph: 04-801 9885 / Email: danz@danz.org.nz.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet is holding its annual company auditions in Wellington on Saturday 10 September 2016. Auditions are by invitation only. Expressions of interest can be sent to the Artistic, HR and Corporate Services Manager, Kat Sprowell (email: kat@rnzb.org.nz).  Materials required are current resume, headshot, two to three dance photos and a link to recent video footage. Expressions of interest close 15 August.

Dance Studies at the University of Auckland is hosting the Undisciplining Dance Symposium at the Kenneth Myers Centre from 30th June – 2nd July 2016. It brings artists and researchers in the fields of dance, choreography, performance, visual arts, spatial design and architecture together to imagine divergent futures and ways of effecting change and movement. This unprecedented gathering of international artists in the field of dance, performance and creative arts research rethinks disciplinarity, and the role of the body and live art in today’s diverse cultural and political climate.
30th June – 2nd July 2016. Dance Studies Programme, Creative Arts and Industries Programme, the University of Auckland. To find out  more and to register, visit undiscipliningdance.co.nz.

NZDC Winter school

The New Zealand Dance Company is once again opening its doors to welcome anyone who is passionate about contemporary dance. The focus for winter is “the fusion of contemporary and hip hop” with Chris Ofanoa and Lucy Lynch; PLUS, Composition and improvisation with Shona McCullagh and Body Conditioning / Yoga for dancers with Caroline Bindon. The YEP! Workshops are open to students aged 11 years and up.

Date: Monday 11 July – Friday 15 July 2016
Time: 09.00 – 4 pm daily
Performance: 4 pm Friday 15 July 2016
Location: Wellesley Studios, 113 Wellesley St West, Auckland
Tutors: NZDC Company Dancers
Cost: $350 incl. GST
(A limited number of scholarships are available, based on merit and need.  Please contact Kerry-Ann in the first instance.)
Expect five days of high energy, high fun, movement play and dance. Perform for family and friends at the end of the week. Enrolments open now.  Enrol online at www.nzdc.org.nzor for enquiries, contact yep@nzdc.org.nz.

By Rain Francis of Dance Informa.

Photo (top): New Zealand School of Dance students Jessica Johns and To a Paranihi. Photo by Stephen A’Court.

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