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New Zealand Dance News – May 2021

The Royal New Zealand Ballet's 'Giselle'.
The Royal New Zealand Ballet's 'Giselle'.

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

Pacific Dance New Zealand is excited to announce an impressive eclectic line-up for the 2021 Pacific Dance Festival to be held from 1 – 19 June, across Tamaki Makarau in different venues. The festival will open at the ASB Waterfront Theatre in central Auckland on 1 June, with Shel We by award-winning choreographer Tupua Tigafua. Māui by Hadleigh Pouesi and Fresh Movement will also showcase at the ASB Waterfront ahead of three school matinee performances from 4 – 5 June. Māui is a piece that uses dance, music and physical theatre to tell the stories of the Pacific and bring them back to life. This year, the festival line-up will also include a fashion extravaganza and even Pacific jazz. Pacific Dance New Zealand Director Iosefa Enari says, “The 2021 Pacific Dance Festival features a larger group of artists, some who have been bought back from last year. Not only is our festival bigger, but we are excited to announce our new partnerships with the likes of the Auckland War Memorial Museum,  Measina Festival, Te Tairawhiti Arts Festival, Aronui Indigenous Arts Festival and Kia Mau Festival in Wellington. Extending our traditional June festival season outside of Auckland to the regional centres and festivals is our commitment to broaden our reach, develop our audiences and give our artists more opportunities for performances.”

Festivals are evolving in a bid to be able to cater and appeal to diverse audiences and where the Pacific Dance Festival in the past has extended its offering to include locally produced dance films and workshops, this year it will present a Pacific Jazz Matinee (6 June) at the Auckland Performing Arts Centre (TAPAC) by The Collective; and Te Pō (15 June), a dance and fashion showcase by AUĒ and Vivian Hosking-Aue at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. Tickets to the Pacific Dance Festival are now on sale and are available at www.pacificdance.co.nz

The Royal New Zealand Ballet's 'Giselle'.
The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s ‘Giselle’.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s (RNZB) critically acclaimed Giselle, which toured the world after its sold-out premiere season, returns in May and June. RNZB’s Giselle is a timeless production of one of ballet’s great stories. Former RNZB Artistic Director Ethan Stiefel and celebrated principal dancer, choreographer and director Johan Kobborg’s acclaimed production of Giselle first toured New Zealand in 2012, to packed audiences, returning in 2016 to equal acclaim. Stiefel says, “I am so proud that this iconic, yet truly unique production of ours will again have the opportunity to engage and entertain audiences across New Zealand.” RNZB Artistic Director Patricia Barker says, “We have reached into our vault of precious gems and great, beloved ballets, and can’t wait to be on stage again with Giselle. New Zealand audiences and dancers have shared an almost 70-year love affair with this ballet, which continues to enthrall us all with its elegance and timeless story.”

In 2021, New Zealand audiences will have the opportunity to see this masterpiece once again, at six centres across the motu – Wellington, Palmerston North, Napier, Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin. Conducted by Principal Conductor Hamish McKeich, Adolphe Adam’s lyrical score will be performed live by Orchestra Wellington, the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, with a recorded version by Orchestra Wellington in all other centres. Giselle will tour from 12 May to 9 June. For tickets and more information, visit rnzb.org.nz/shows/giselle-3.

New Zealand School of Dance students Huw Pritchard and Charly Hopkins. Photo by Stephen A'Court.
New Zealand School of Dance students Huw Pritchard and Charly Hopkins. Photo by Stephen A’Court.

The New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) is heading to Australia for full-time auditions. NZSD is one of the Southern Hemisphere’s leading dance training institutions. The School has an international reputation and is known for producing versatile and employable dancers. The full-time programme prepares dancers for careers in dance performance. Students major in either classical ballet or contemporary dance but maintain a strong base in both disciplines. After not being able to travel out of New Zealand last year due to COVID restrictions, the School is very excited to announce its 2021 full-time audition tour dates for entry into the School 2022: 2 October (Wellington – Te Whaea), 7 October (Melbourne – Academy of Performing Arts), 8 October (Brisbane – Promenade Dance Studio), 9 October (Sydney – National Institute of Dramatic Art) and 3 September (digital audition for those under travel restrictions). Apply in July at www.nzschoolofdance.ac.nz. Applications close on 3 September. 

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

The New Zealand Dance Company (NZDC) and Auckland War Memorial Museum are thrilled to present an early rendering of a new work by Ross McCormack, ArteFact: How to Behave in a Museum. With this latest work, McCormack (New Zealand Arts Laureate) steps into new territory with an exploration of modes of communication and how voice e​xpression and dialogue fit into architectural and sacred spaces. Showings are Tuesday 18 May at 5:30pm and 7pm, at Auckland War Memorial Museum.

NZDC is also holding its annual Youth Winter School in Auckland and Whangarei, from 19 – 23 July. This weeklong intensive includes a mixture of dance training, improvisation and creative tasks to allow young movers to unlock their creative potential and explore dance in a brand-new way. The intensive is for ages 13+. For more information, visit nzdc.org.nz/education/seasonal-schools.

By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa. 

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