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New Zealand Dance News – May 2020

Photo courtesy of New Zealand Dance Company.
Photo courtesy of New Zealand Dance Company.

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

The New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) is leaping into Term 2. Whilst the School’s beloved building may be closed, the NZSD staff have spent the past few weeks preparing a host of online resources, ensuring that dance remains a powerful force in the lives of their exceptionally talented students – even virtually. The NZSD has also been live streaming past Graduation Season works. To view these performances, visit the NZSD YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/user/nzschoolofdance.

NZSD 1st Year classical ballet student Aidan Tully. Photo by Stephen A'Court.
NZSD 1st Year classical ballet student Aidan Tully. Photo by Stephen A’Court.

With all of Aotearoa quarantined at home, the New Zealand Dance Company (NZDC) wants to provide the opportunity for the community to keep moving. NZDC is opening these classes at no charge, but just like its fellow artists and arts organisations, NZDC’s livelihood is centred on live experiences. At this time with the impact of COVID-19 closures on the company, NZDC is incredibly grateful for a koha/donation with class participation. NZDC will be offering ballet with Nicci Mcewan, strength and conditioning with Erin Bowerman, Feisty Feet with Kerry-Ann Stanton and Carlene Newall de Jesus, contemporary with Katie Rudd and Carl Tolentino, and yoga for dancers with Caroline Bindon. Added bonus these next two weeks? All registrants get a link to the class for 24 hours of viewing after the class has ended (excluding Feisty Feet). All information, including Zoom registration, can be found at nzdc.org.nz/education/nzdc-virtual-classes.

Kristie Mortimer, recipient of the 2020 Caroline Plummer Fellowship administered by Otago University, will research and write a resource on how to teach dance in prisons and in the wider community. Mortimer’s proposed fellowship project is called Dance with offenders, at-risk youth and children of offenders. It aims to facilitate weekly dance classes in a prison, an activity with an organisation that works with the children of prisoners, and weekly classes for at-risk youth or offenders being re-integrated into the community. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed those plans although Mortimer hopes to return to the original plan later in the year. Instead, Mortimer is researching what arts practitioners have been doing in prisons and community groups, finding out what does and doesn’t work, and what types of dance are being offered. “I hope the resource will be a valuable tool for people working in prisons and in the wider community, and will help them provide opportunities for dance and creative expression,” she says. For more information on the Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance, visit www.otago.ac.nz/otagofellows/plummer.html.

By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa. 

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