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New Zealand Dance News – November 2019

NZSD students Sook Meng Lim, Louis Ahlers and Eden Kew. Photo by Stephen A'Court.
NZSD students Sook Meng Lim, Louis Ahlers and Eden Kew. Photo by Stephen A'Court.

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

Wellington City Council and Footnote New Zealand Dance announced this year’s recipient of the Wellington Asia Residency Exchange artist in residence programme, Japanese choreographer Kota Yamazaki. Yamazaki is visiting Wellington for six weeks from 26 October. He will be hosted by Footnote New Zealand Dance and will explore and develop new work to present as works in progress. Originally from Japan, Yamazaki is an award-winning choreographer who has worked across many disciplines and countries. 

The New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) 2019 Graduation Season promises outstanding performances of both classical and contemporary dance. Expect a showcase of powerful, timeless classics and striking new works from NZSD, 20-30 November at Te Whaea: National Dance and Drama Centre. The programme combines the efforts of an array of influential guests with the hard work of students and tutors from the School. Performances will feature a number of premieres and dance works by acclaimed choreographers from New Zealand and abroad. This year’s performances have been curated to showcase an eclectic repertoire of classical ballet and contemporary choreography.  Featured works include George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco, expressing “the syncopation and rhythmic vitality of Johann Sebastian Bach’s music”, alongside Ross McCormack’s original new work, Re:Structure. To be presented for the first time in New Zealand is the moving classical work, Round of Angels, by Gerald Arpino and the expressive contemporary piece, Carnivale.4, by NZSD graduate Raewyn Hill. 

Choreographer David Fernandez recently visited the School to tutor two male classical ballet students for a solo piece, Five Variations on a Theme.  He was joined by fellow American Betsy Erickson, ballet master at San Francisco Ballet, who tutored classical students for Helgi Tomasson’s Handel – A Celebration. Fernandez created Five Variations on a Theme for New York City Ballet Principal Dancer Joaquin De Luz. The NZSD is the first school to stage this choreographically complex work. It originally premiered as part of the celebrated Kings of the Dance world tour and was performed to acclaim in New York City, Los Angeles, London, Paris, Rome, Qatar, Moscow, Kiev and Odessa. An excerpt from award-winning London-based performer and choreographer Sam Coren’s Not Odd Human will be part of the graduation programme, recently created for Tempo Dance Festival in Auckland. The piece was a collaborative project alongside graduating contemporary dance students. The NZSD Graduation Season will be held at Te Whaea: National Dance and Drama Centre from 20 – 30 November. Tickets from $18 – $35 are available at www.nzschoolofdance.ac.nz.

Dance Aotearoa New Zealand (DANZ) selected Sophie Williams as the recipient of the 2019 Te Kanikani Whakamatau/Maori Dance Residency. The residency is being delivered for the first time in Rotorua by DANZ in partnership with Lakes Performing Arts Centre (LPAC) and with funding support from the Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust. Williams was based at the LPAC studios from 21 October – 1 November, and had the opportunity to work with dancers and access to a dance mentor throughout the two-week period of the residency. At the end of the residency, Williams presented what she has generated in the form of a public showing and discussion at Te Puia. 

Showcase 2019 will be held 14 – 17 November, and is celebrating 30 years of Unitec Dance. This year’s programme features a repertoire of Unitec’s favourite works from the last 10 years, almost exclusively choreographed by Unitec Dance alumni. Performances will include Eileen Witika in Jared Hemopo’s Panekeneke, Paul Young and Katie Burton’s Penumbra, Malia Johnston’s Trigger, Michael Parmenter’s Fields of Jeopardy and more. Performances will be held 14 – 16 November at 7:30pm, and 17 November at 5pm, at Raye Freedman Arts Centre in Auckland. Tickets are available at www.iticket.co.nz.  

The Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) has unveiled its 2020 season, featuring 10 ballets by eight choreographers, all women. Venus Rising, to be presented 29 May – 5 July, features works by Twyla Tharp, Alice Topp, Andrea Schermoly and Sarah Foster-Sproull. The production of Dangerous Liaisons, choreographed by Annabelle Lopez-Ochoa, will run 20 August – 19 September. The Sleeping Beauty will be presented 29 October – 12 December, and is a new production by Australian choreographer Danielle Rowe. And the 2020 Tutus on Tour features works by Foster-Sproull, Rowe, Penny Saunders and Kiara Flavin. For tickets and more information, visit rnzb.org.nz.

International Ballet Workshops (IBW) is excited to announce yet another amazing opportunity to be awarded at IBW Summer 2020 “In the Footsteps of Vaganova” Series. Two lucky students will be awarded scholarships to attend the Easter Dance workshops with master teachers, at Palucca University of Dance in Dresden, Germany. Students will take classes in classical ballet, contemporary and variations, and will have the opportunity to learn from renowned and experienced dance educators, as well as dancers and soloists who have trained and performed across the world.Two students will also be offered scholarships to the Prague Ballet Intensive in Czech Republic. The IBW Summer 2020 Auckland workshops will be held 13 – 15 January 2020, at Wellesley Studios. For more information and to register, visit www.ibwdance.com.

By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.

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