Find out what’s happening this month in New Zealand dance news!
The Covid-19 outbreak has had an indelible and disruptive impact on the world as we know it. Since the initiation of the lockdown period, this challenge has led to a shift in how the New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) delivers its day-to-day programme. It is fortunate that recent developments in communication technology has enabled the School’s dedicated staff to continue to deliver high-quality technique classes, lectures and associated subjects to its full-time students and scholars during this period. NZSD returned to its cherished home, Te Whaea, on 25 May. Although international students continue to study online and have not yet returned, New Zealand students and the majority of the Australian students are now training and studying at the school once more.
NZSD has held full school assemblies using Zoom, with students located in New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Japan and Singapore. “Connection is vitally important at this time, and despite our physical distance,we must all keep looking to the future,” said Garry Trinder, director of NZSD. “This is a time to be present and to be there for others. If ever there was a time to stay calm and look outward, rather than inward, it is now. We must keep reflecting on the compassion and humanity that our art form has ingrained in all of us.”
Iosefa Enari (Sefa), founder of Pacific Dance New Zealand (PDNZ), has been awarded a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to Pacific Dance in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. Sefa was a founding member of Pacific Theatre in 1987. He trained as a professional dancer at LIMBS Dance Programme, UNITEC School of Performing Arts and holds a masters degree in Dance Studies from the University of Auckland. He is a dancer, choreographer, artistic director and educator. Through PDNZ, Sefa has been integral in organising a number of national events, including the Pacific Dance Artist in Residence, the Pacific Dance Choreographic Lab, various symposiums, educational and community programmes and the annual Pacific Dance Festival. As a choreographer, he created dance works for the World War One centenary commemoration at Auckland Museum in 2014 and the opening performance for the 2014 televised National Rugby Awards Ceremony. He has created works for art galleries, professional live theatre, television programmes and films. He has performed in the United States, Canada, Japan, Europe and throughout the Pacific.
Lynn Gilbert-Smith has received the Queen’s Service Medal for services to dance education. She has been teaching dance for 50 years and established her own studio, the Lynn Gilbert Dance Studio (now LGS Dance), when she was 16 years old. LGS Dance currently has 280 students, which Gilbert-Smith oversees with the assistance of her teachers. She has been a committee member of the New Plymouth Competitions Society for the past 30 years and is convenor of the ballet and jazz component of this festival. She is an examiner and adjudicator for national competitions and examinations. She established the Gilbert-Smith Trust in 1987, with the goal of raising funds to assist dance students to progress their skills and achieve their goals. Gilbert-Smith has also been involved as a choreographer for the New Plymouth Operatic Society.
The Board of the New Zealand Dance Advancement Trust has announced the appointment of former Nederlands Dans Theater Chief Executive Janine Dijkmeijer as The New Zealand Dance Company’s (NZDC) executive director; and renowned dance artists and directors Victoria Colombus and James O’Hara as co-artistic directors. Board Chair Sharon van Gulik welcomed the new team, saying the company was well placed for its next phase of development, building on the incredible artistic and organisational legacy of co-founder and former Chief Executive/Artistic Director Shona McCullagh. The new leadership will commence part-time from June, with both roles moving to full time in 2021.
International Ballet Workshops (IBW) has confirmed that its upcoming winter series has been postponed to January 2021, due to travel restrictions surrounding the COVID-19 crisis. However, IBW is pleased to release its summer 2021 tour schedule. IBW Director Rain Francis said, “We are so looking forward to bringing you these workshops, especially after such a difficult period for everyone.” Workshops will take place in Auckland from January 18-20, at Wellesley Studios. Registrations will open soon. Visit www.ibwdance.com for more information.
Dance Aotearoa New Zealand (DANZ) launched its new Social Media Takeover Season, with 12 weeks of creative inspiration and sharing from New Zealand dance artists practising across a range of genres. At a time when many freelance dance artists have lost valuable opportunities for work and creative outlet as a result of the pandemic, DANZ is pleased to be able to provide this limited window for the development of commissioned content. Over the 12-week period, DANZ will host an artist each week for a takeover featuring creative content to be shared across DANZ’s social media platforms – Instagram and Facebook. From classical, contemporary and Pacific dance to urban, crossover and waacking, the DANZ Social Media Takeovers programme will offer something for everyone, through a variety of mediums including live and pre-recorded classes/workshops, dance films, TikTok challenges, Talanoa/Kōrero sessions and more. For more information, follow DANZ on Instagram and Facebook.
By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.