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New Zealand Dance News – March 2021

New Zealand School of Dance Director Garry Trinder teaching on stage at the Asian Grand Prix in Manila 2019. Photo by Eric Hong.

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

The New Zealand Dance Company. Photo by Caroline Bindon.
The New Zealand Dance Company. Photo by Caroline Bindon.

The New Zealand Dance Company (NZDC) has just launched its Innate series. These exciting new residencies see the company collaborate with New Zealand choreographers to forge new synergies between artists, spaces and communities. Each work is driven by process and collaboration and will be taking place in Auckland throughout 2021. The first Innate works draw upon the highly creative talents of Claire O’Neil, Joshua Faleatua, and Josie Archer and Kosta Bogoievski. O’Neil is using research and play to investigate the depths of the physical, as well as exploring outside and beyond the expected. Faleatua combines two of his greatest passions, dance and filmmaking, to explore and develop ways in which dance and film might coexist. Archer and Bogoievski engage in a live contemporary dance occupation of Monster Valley shop front on the infamous K Road, where their process of ‘making’ and ‘creating’ is the product itself. For more information on the Innate series, visit

It is a busy time ahead for New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) Director Garry Trinder. From 21 February, Trinder began online coaching sessions with The Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition 2021, hosted by the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD). The competition is one of the most prestigious in the world, attracting the finest young dancers trained in the RAD syllabus. From there, Trinder visited Christchurch, New Zealand, from 5 – 7 March to adjudicate the South Island Ballet Awards (hosted by Christchurch Ballet Society), and from 13 – 14 March, Trinder joins the international jury for the Valentina Kozlova International Ballet Competition.

Throughout 2021, the NZSD will be running its Contemporary Intensive Programme in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch. This esteemed programme offers world-class contemporary dance training for dancers aged 16-18 years and focuses on a strong technical foundation, key disciplines, improvisation, partnering and composition. It is offered to students with a sound knowledge of contemporary dance and interest in pursuing dance as a career and is a fantastic opportunity for students to broaden their understanding of the industry and get a taste of the demands of full-time training.For more information on locations and dates, head to

The Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) has announced new dates for its rescheduled Tutus on Tour, originally due to take place during the week of 1 March. Performances in Blenheim (9 March), Hamilton (9 and 10 March), Ashburton (11 March), Whangarei (13 March), Oamaru (13 March), Kerikeri (16 March) and Gore (16 March) will take place as planned. The RNZB is unable to perform in Manukau while Auckland is still at Alert Level 2, and so the performance scheduled for Thursday 11 March at 6.30pm is postponed until further notice. And, unfortunately, the company has not been able to reschedule the performance due to take place at the Royal Wanganui Opera House on Tuesday 2 March. All customers will be entitled to a full refund and will be contacted by Ticketek to arrange this. The new dates for all other shows are as follows: New Plymouth, TSB Showplace (25 March); Hastings, ToiToi Hawke’s Bay Arts and Events Centre (23 March); Gisborne, War Memorial Theatre (23 March); Nelson, Theatre Royal (19 – 20 March); Tauranga, Baycourt Community and Arts Centre (19 and 21 March). 

RNZB Executive Director Lester McGrath says, “The RNZB would like to acknowledge our colleagues at the affected venues for their swift assistance in enabling us to secure new dates at short notice, as well as their help in communicating with our customers. The continued good health of our audiences, artists and all our staff will as always be our priority, and we are working closely with all the venues in which we perform to ensure that they maintain a high level of customer care.”

RNZB Artistic Director Patricia Barker says, “We are delighted to be back on the road and would like to thank our supporters around Aotearoa for their many messages of encouragement over the last week. We would also like to thank our friends at Ryman Healthcare for their continued investment in Tutus on Tour, our colleagues at theatres, ticketing agencies and our travel and accommodation providers who have all gone the extra mile to help us bring Tutus on Tour to audiences from Kerikeri to Gore.”

There are also new dates confirmed for the Tutus on Tour Schools performances. Visit for information.Performances of The Soldier’s Tale scheduled for Wanaka, Oamaru, Dunedin and Ashburton will be rescheduled for later in the year. Refer to the NZSO’s website and social media for updates. 

Auckland Arts Festival.

The Auckland Arts Festival/Te Ahurei Toi o Tāmaki (AAF) team is working through the implications of Auckland’s return to lockdown for its 2021 programme, following the announcement that Tāmaki Makaurau would enter Alert Level 3 on 28 February. The Festival was not able to be launched as anticipated on 4 March, and performances planned for the first few days of AAF will not be able to go ahead. However, the team is energised and working swiftly, with confidence that many of the 2021 AAF works will be brought to audiences in the near future. A full update of the Festival’s plan for this and subsequent weeks, including information regarding specific shows, will be communicated in the coming days. AAF is fully committed to keeping its artists, crew, staff and audiences safe. The ticket refund policy in the event of show cancellation due to COVID is available here.

The 2021 Festival is the first of four with Shona McCullagh (MNZM) in the role of artistic director. Arts Foundation Laureate McCullagh founded and led the NZDC as chief executive/artistic director since its establishment in 2012, and joined AAF in March 2020. “We are incredibly sad that our opening week cannot proceed as it was planned, but we are working closely with our artists and venue partners to reschedule some events as soon as possible,” she says. “We send aroha to our colleagues at Auckland Pride Festival, Auckland Fringe, Basement Theatre, Q Theatre, Auckland Unlimited, Auckland Theatre Company – and all the independent artists, producers and crew who are also affected by Auckland’s return to Level 3. The messages of support we have received from all over the world have touched us deeply and we have absolute faith in the professionalism of the arts sector, and the commitment of our audience, funders and sponsors in Aotearoa to get through this.”

AAF Chief Executive David Inns adds, “We are thankful to our artists, patrons and audiences for their ongoing support and patience at this crucial time. The AAF team is committed to honouring all the hard work and energy that has already been invested into making our 2021 Festival happen.”

By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa. 

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