New Zealand School of Dance showcases students’ talent in 2020 performance season

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

From 18 – 28 November, the New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) will present alternating performances of ballet and contemporary dance. There & Then | Here & Now are 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 Lake, Act 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.

2020 is a year that will be etched into our collective memories for generations to come. 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 say they 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 season. The There & Then | Here & Now season demonstrates the incredible range of creative talent of the young people of Aotearoa.

The New Zealand School of Dance will present There & Then | Here & Now from 18 – 28 November. To book tickets, head to nzschoolofdance.ac.nz/whats-on/book-tickets.

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