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New Zealand Dance News – December 2018

The New Zealand Dance Company. Photo by John McDermott.
The New Zealand Dance Company. Photo by John McDermott.

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

The New Zealand Dance Company (NZDC) is thrilled to present Time, a riveting triple bill from highly acclaimed New Zealand, Korean and Australian choreographers Ross McCormack (Muscle Mouth), Kim Jae Duk and Stephanie Lake (Stephanie Lake Company). Artistic Director Shona McCullagh has drawn together works that each speak to a different concept of time – using ideas of contrasting speeds, dystopian futures and the link of our present to the past. In December, NZDC will be touring this work to December Dance at Concertgebouw Brugge, Central – La Louvière in Belgium and Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg. For more information, visit nzdc.org.nz/time.

Join NZDC and experience a week of exceptional dance training. The 2019 Youth Summer School will challenge technical and creative potential through daily classes in contemporary, ballet, choreography and NZDC repertoire. This is an amazing opportunity to be mentored by professional NZDC dancers. From Monday 14 – Friday 18 January 2019, NZDC is offering two classes that will run daily at Peta Spooner Academy of Dance for eight to 11 years and at Nelson Academy of Dance for 12 years-plus. Early-bird registration is now open. Visit nzdc.org.nz/seasonal-schools for more information.

Footnote New Zealand Dance's 'Hemispheres'.

Footnote New Zealand Dance’s ‘Hemispheres’.

Hemispheres is a collaboration between two of the longest-running contemporary dance companies in New Zealand and China. Footnote New Zealand Dance and Guangdong Modern Dance Company will tour New Zealand with their triple bill in February 2019. Hemispheresis headlined by Mass Solitude, a new work that delves into our human ability to communicate beyond verbal language or technology. Mass Solitude is performed by both companies and created by celebrated New Zealand choreographer Sarah Foster-Sproull. An additional work from each company will also feature in Hemispheres, showcasing characteristic styles from one New Zealand choreographer and one Chinese choreographer. For tickets and more information, visit footnote.org.nz/whats-on.

Following a successful Graduation Season, the New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) is proud to announce positions and contracts offered to its graduating class. Securing contracts amongst the classical major students are Cadence Barrack, Teagan Tank, Vincent Fraola and Calum Gray, all joining the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB).Students relocating to overseas companies are Alice Tsang (Hong Kong Ballet), Therese Chen (DJKT Ballet) and Jaidyn Cumming (Ballet Nacional Sodre of Uruguay). 2018 contemporary dance major graduates Chris Clegg, Sebastian Geilings and Ngaere Jenkins all secured contracts with The New Zealand Dance Company. Other contracts were given to Laifa Ta’ala (Black Grace) and Braedyn Humphries (Touch Compass Dance Company and Movement of the Human). Second year contemporary dance student Riley Fitzgerald is taking up a position with Sydney Dance Company.

NZSD 3rd Year classical ballet student Teagan Tank. Photo by Stephen A'Court.

NZSD 3rd Year classical ballet student Teagan Tank. Photo by Stephen A’Court.

In 2018, the New Zealand dance sector lost two dance professionals who deeply impacted dance in Aotearoa, New Zealand – contemporary dance choreographer Douglas Wright MZNM and ex-General Manager of RNZB Sue Paterson. To honour these two influential people, NZSD has created two awards (one classical ballet and one contemporary) to be presented to two students displaying outstanding commitment to their qualification whilst studying at the School. These two awards will be announced at the end of each year at the School’s Graduation Ceremony.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB)’s 2018 Ryman Healthcare Season of The Nutcracker, which continues touring in December, includes audio described performances for blind and low-vision audience members. There are free touch tours, where audiences go backstage, touch costumes and props, and learn more about the production. During the performance, audio describer Nicola Owen talks into a microphone in a sound-proof room, and her description is transmitted to wireless receivers and headsets worn by the audience members. For more information, head to rnzb.org.nz/access/audio-described-performances.

Reflecting an international trend, the boundary-breaking and inclusive craft of alternative dance in New Zealand will be celebrated through the inaugural Experimental Dance Week Aotearoa 2019, running 4 – 9 February 2019, at Basement Theatre. Award-winning choreographer and creator Alexa Wilson will curate the festival. The programme will be packed with performances from 25 live artists, plus workshops, panel-led open discussions and a book launch. For bookings and further information, visit www.iticket.co.nz.

By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.

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