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New Zealand Dance News – November 2020

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

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

October saw The New Zealand Dance Company (NZDC) on its annual Tāmaki Tour, performing Matariki for Tamariki to students and schools across Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland). This joyful work reached over 2,000 tamariki, exciting imaginations and celebrating the beautiful culture and land of Aotearoa.

NZDC runs a number of community classes throughout the year, and currently has live classes as well as virtual. Virtual Movement Practice with Bella Wilson occurs every Tuesday at 1-2pm (NZST) via Zoom and is also available as a recording for up to 48 hours after class. This class is open to all levels, with a fusion of movement each week inspired by contemporary dance, yoga, Pilates, barre, ballet and more. Live classes now include NZDC Company Class (weekdays from 9-10:30am), Int/Adv Contemporary Class with Hannah Tasker-Poland (Wednesdays from 6:30-8pm, 14 October 16 December) and Feisty Feet (Wednesdays from 10-11am and 11am-12pm). For more information on all class offerings, visit nzdc.org.nz

Wellesley Studios, supported by Dance Aotearoa New Zealand, has announced its 2021 Summer Residency Artist, Tyler Carney. Since graduating Ev and Bow (2012) and the New Zealand School of Dance (2015), Carney has been a performer for House of Sand, Atamira Dance Company, WOW, Black Grace, Footnote and Teac Damsa (Ireland). Carney is quickly developing her own choreographic voice, and the Residency will be an opportunity to explore her own “particular interest and curiosity of warping time within a surreal world where it seems never ending. A beautiful, cyclic and ongoing experience.” Wellesley Studios is incredibly happy to be hosting Carney for three weeks from January 18 – February 5, 2021, while she develops the choreography for a new three-part dance film series. 

New Zealand School of Dance students Rebekah Terry and Caspar Ilschner. Photo by Stephen A'Court.
New Zealand School of Dance
students Rebekah Terry and Caspar Ilschner.
Photo by Stephen A’Court.

This November, the New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) is thrilled to present There & Then | Here & Now, two spirited dance programmes showcasing the full-time students’ outstanding talent and the School’s creative diversity. The national institution’s end-of-year performance seasons have become a fixture of the New Zealand arts calendar. This year, NZSD breaks with its long-established format of performing in the theatre at Te Whaea: National Dance and Drama Centre by staging the performances in the studio where the students train — providing the audience with an informal, first-hand experience of the School and its dancers. The season opens with Here & Now, an anthology of enthralling newly-created and current contemporary dance works. This is followed the next evening by the classical ballet programme, There & Then, a collection of much-loved, iconic ballet repertoire. Performances will alternate throughout the season. Here & Now includes the established contemporary work, Be Yourself, by Garry Stewart, artistic director of Australian Dance Theatre (ADT). NZSD is the first tertiary institution to be granted permission to perform this work. One of the highlights of this unique season is the creation of four new works by local choreographers, including School alumnae Victoria Colombus and Holly Newsome, along with award-winning choreographer Elijah Kennar and NZSD tutor Daniel Jaber (previously ADT). There & Then includes popular favourites such as the Pas de Douze from Swan LakeAct I and the Pas de Deux from Concerto coached by Stuart Cassidy. Highlights of the classical programme are the commissioning of a flamenco work by Catarina Mora of the John Cranko School, Stuttgart, and a thrilling performance of La Sylphide, Act II, coached by Sir Jon Trimmer and re-created by NZSD tutors Turid Revfeim, Nadine Tyson and Qi Huan. Like so many dance companies and training institutions across the globe, all NZSD scheduled performances were cancelled this year. A great number of companies and training institutions are yet to return to the studio and stage, and the arts industry as a whole has been shaken. NZSD staff and students therefore feel privileged to be presenting performances to live audiences at this time. 

NZSD Director Garry Trinder and the NZSD faculty have worked hard to mentor and support the development of ballet and contemporary dance students into the skilled young artists performing at Te Whaea this November. The There & Then | Here & Now season, to be presented 18 – 28 November at NZSD, Wellington, demonstrates the incredible range of creative talent of the young people of Aotearoa. For tickets and more information, visit nzschoolofdance.ac.nz/whats-on/book-tickets

Due to the uncertainty around travel restrictions during COVID-19, International Ballet Workshops (IBW) has opened a priority waitlist ahead of the summer 2021 workshop series. Dancers on the waitlist will have priority to book their place for the summer workshops once travel and classes become more certain. In line with international travel restrictions this year, IBW looks forward to bringing students Australia-based teachers of the highest caliber. Workshops will be held at Wellesley Studios, January 18-20, 2021. To find out more and join the waitlist, contact hello@ibwdance.com.

Lucy Marinkovich.
Lucy Marinkovich.

Lucy Marinkovich has been named as the recipient of the Caroline Plummer Fellowship in Community Dance 2021. Marinkovich is an artist, choreographer, educator, practitioner and performer who has worked with young people and those with disabilities, as well as with professional dancers. Through her proposed project, InMotion: Dancing with Parkinson’s, Marinkovich will deliver dance classes to people living with Parkinson’s disease. “I am endlessly fascinated by dance and the body, and through the Fellowship, my experience and knowledge of dance has the possibility to support the Parkinson’s community and help individuals to feel confident and positive about their body,” she said. As a performer, Marinkovich has worked with Footnote Dance Company, New Zealand Dance Company, Movement of the Human and Taki Rua Productions. She has held a number of choreographic residencies and performances, and in 2018 was awarded the Harriet Friedlander New York Residency from the Arts Foundation of New Zealand. The 2009 New Zealand School of Dance graduate has worked with the Royal New Zealand Ballet as its dance educator since 2018, implementing the company’s education and community events. “While we can’t solve Parkinson’s through dance, I can share my love for dance with people who can benefit from experiencing the joy of movement,” Marinkovich noted. “I have a sincere passion for community arts and am proud to be able to actively contribute to the cultural and social development of local New Zealand communities through this Fellowship.” 

As the curtain closes on a year that has changed the world forever, the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) has proudly announced its 2021 season with a stunning line-up that celebrates the past and boldly looks to the future. From February, the RNZB brings to theatres across Aotearoa hope, magic, emotion — and a little bit of mischief — created by some of the country’s, and the world’s, best-loved dance masterminds. RNZB Artistic Director Patricia Barker says, “The purpose of art is to enhance a person’s life, delivering perspective and emotion. To move us, help us feel compassion and to feed our souls. The world around us has changed, but our stories live on, and our need for connection, joy, sorrow, bliss and hope remain unchanged. Our 2021 season brings it all.” 

The Royal New Zealand Ballet.
The Royal New Zealand Ballet.

From 12 May to 9 June 2021, the RNZB’s immensely popular production of Giselle, one of ballet’s timeless classics, returns. Former RNZB Artistic Director Ethan Stiefel and distinguished principal dancer, director and choreographer Johan Kobborg’s acclaimed production of Giselle first toured New Zealand in 2012 to sell-out audiences, returning in 2016 to great acclaim. July closes with a powerful new double bill: a new commissionfrom Choreographer-in-Residence Loughlan Prior of The Firebird, together with Russian classic Paquita

From 28 October to 11 December 2021, the Ryman Healthcare Season of A Midsummer Night’s Dream will transport audiences to a fantastical world of dazzling dance, music and enchantment. Created for the RNZB by one of the most sought-after choreographers on the international stage, Liam Scarlett, A Midsummer Night’s Dream was an overnight sensation at its premiere, with capacity audiences on its first New Zealand tour. 

From 26 February to 11 March 2021, the ever-popular Tutus on Tour, presented in association with Ryman Healthcare, is a chance for the RNZB to reconnect with ballet lovers all over Aotearoa. Picking up where the company left off when lockdown happened a year earlier, the dancers travel late at night and early in the morning to perform as far across the country as possible. There are 16 stops in 2021; the largest number since Tutus on Tour was relaunched by the RNZB in 2017, and the production will once again bring some of New Zealand’s most beloved and historic theatres to life.

The mixed bill will deliver two familiar favourites in 2021 — the ‘White Swan’ pas de deux from Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake and Jules Perrot’s Pas de Quatre – alongside two brand new ballets – Andrea Schermoly’s Within Without and Sarah Foster-Sproull’s Ultra Folly, both of which were ready to be performed in 2020’s cancelled Venus Rising season and which the RNZB couldn’t bear to leave behind. For more information and to subscribe, visit rnzb.org.nz/subscribe.

By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.

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