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New Zealand Dance News – February 2020

International Ballet Workshops. Photo by Chris Dowd.
International Ballet Workshops. Photo by Chris Dowd.

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

Daniel Jaber.
Daniel Jaber.

The New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) welcomes full time contemporary dance tutor Daniel Jaber. Jaber joined the Australian Dance Theatre (ADT) as a trainee, under the direction of Garry Stewart in 2003, at the age of 17. As a member of ADT, Jaber has toured the world extensively, performing in new works with Stewart from 2004-2008, then from 2010-2014, as a full-time company member. In 2013, ADT commissioned Jaber to create his first full-length work, Nought, which premiered at the Samstag Museum of Art in Adelaide. Nought was subsequently nominated for a Helpmann Award for Best Choreography in a Dance or Physical Theatre work. Focusing his time as a choreographer between 2015-2-17, Jaber has created work for ADT, Expressions Dance Company, Houston Ballet 2, Qantas, Dance Moms, Dubai Festival, Architanz Tokyo and was the creative director of LW Dance Hub (now Adelaide Dance Hub and previously Leigh Warren and Dancers) in 2015. He has also choreographed works and restaged Stewart’s repertoire on countless tertiary institutions, universities and colleges throughout Australia and the US. Jaber spent 2018 and 2019 dividing his time between teaching at tertiary institutions in Australia and performing with ADT. Jaber joins the faculty of the NZSD as a Contemporary Tutor from January 2020. 

Following a highly successful Graduation Season, the NZSD is proud to announce that 24 positions and contracts were offered to the 2019 graduating class. These include the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Atamira Dance Company, Queensland Ballet, Footnote New Zealand Dance, The Washington Ballet, Oklahoma City Ballet, Thüringer Staatsballett, Leipzig Ballet, Stephanie Lake Company, Toi Poneke Choreographic Art Residency, Australian Dance Collective, Catapult Choreographic Hub and the NZ Festival of the Arts. 

International Ballet Workshops (IBW) is known for bringing elite teachers from around the world to its twice-yearly workshops, and this most recent series saw dancers across New Zealand and Australia learning from two Russian ballet stars and international guest principal artists, Katherina Markowskaja and Maxim Chashchegorov. Dancers across junior, intermediate and advanced levels took part in three-day workshops, taking classes in classical ballet, pointe, repertoire, body conditioning and contemporary. As well as providing students with a once-in-a-lifetime learning experience, IBW and the international guest teachers assist in helping students develop international connections. In this case, Markowskaja and Chashchegorv provided two scholarships to the Easter Dance workshops at Palucca University of Dance in Dresden, Germany, and two scholarships to the Prague Ballet Intensive in Czech Republic. The dancers awarded these scholarships will be announced soon. Registrations for the IBW Winter 2020 open on February 10, so stay tuned for updates and exciting news including new international guest teachers. For more, visit www.internationalballetworkshops.com

Parris GoebelMarilyn Cassidy and Jan Bolwell all received New Year Honours for 2020. Award-winning choreographer Goebel has become a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) for services to dance. A distinguished dancer, Goebel led her Royal Family dance crew to victory at the World Hip Hop Dance Championships three times. She has also worked with famous international artists, including Justin Bieber, Rihanna and Jennifer Lopez. Cassidy, a long-time dancer, choreographer, dance teacher and mentor, has also become a MNZM for services to dance. Cassidy has taught dance in Alexandra, Clyde, Dunedin, Mosgiel and Invercargill for the past 65 years and has performed in productions for 72 years. Bolwell is a playwright, actor, choreographer, dancer and director of Wellington’s Crows Feet Dance Collective, a community dance company for mature women. Bolwell has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to dance and theatre. 

The New Zealand Dance Company (NZDC) and The Conch with Auckland Live will present This Fragile Planet this month and next. Inspired by the delicacy of our ecosystems, our effect on mother earth, and the beauty of art and nature intertwining, this work explores the strength of international democracy and the power of regeneration across the natural world. This Fragile Planet will be premiering at Fringe Town as part of Auckland Fringe from 25 – 26 February, and Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival on 1 March. For booking information, visit nzdc.org.nz/works/this-fragile-planet.

By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa. 

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