Find out what’s happening in New Zealand dance news!
The New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) is thrilled to announce the selection of Hilary An-Roddie, a second-year classical ballet student, as one of the six Student Creators for Assemblée Internationale 2023 (AI23). This prestigious event will see each young creator work with a mentor and dancers from diverse schools, dance backgrounds and countries to present new choreographies. The creations will be performed live at the Betty Oliphant Theatre in Toronto during the week of the AI23 festival in May. NZSD students Rilee Scott, Olivia Platt and Khaan Scrivens will also be participating in AI23 whilst NZSD Director Garry Trinder and Contemporary Dance tutor Jeremy Beck will attend and participate in industry forums. In addition, Aidan Tully, a 2022 NZSD classical ballet graduate, has accepted a corps de ballet contract with The National Ballet of Canada for its 2023/24 season. Tully represented the School in the 50th anniversary edition of the Prix de Lausanne.
NZSD warmly welcomes David McAllister AC, Acting Artistic Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet, who has already given class to the School’s second- and third-year classical ballet students. NZSD is also excited to see the return of David Peden as a guest tutor for term 2. Peden is a former dancer with Britain’s The Royal Ballet and The National Ballet of Canada. His 15-year tenure as a staff member of the Royal Ballet Upper School makes him highly sought-after worldwide as both a teacher and coach.
This June, NZSD will present this year’s choreographic season, titled Axis, which promises to be a dynamic and eclectic showcase of contemporary dance. Axis celebrates the creative process and offers an insight into the future of this exciting art form. The season will open at Te Whaea: National Dance and Drama School on 22 June and run until 29 June. Tickets are available at nzschoolofdance.ac.nz/choreographic-season-2023, with prices ranging from $12-25.
Applications are open for the Creina Gee Memorial Award until 5 April. Creina Gee, a very much-loved and respected former New Zealand teacher of ballet and member of the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) Examining panel, died in England, on 22 September 2005. In 2006, Gee’s family established the Creina Gee Memorial Award to “enhance excellence and professionalism within dance teaching in New Zealand by providing financial assistance for dance teachers, or trainee dance teachers, to undertake courses of study which meet RAD guidelines.” The amount awarded to each successful applicant is at the discretion of the 14+ Dance Scholarship Foundation trustee board but will not generally exceed $1,000. The RAD is committed to celebrating and supporting diversity, equity and inclusion and encourages applications from all RAD teachers and students. Awards are available for RAD syllabus courses, RAD CPD courses, RAD global webinars, conferences and courses, RAD Faculty of Education courses, and courses from external providers that meet the standard CPD requirements for Time-Valued CPD. Applications are considered twice per year. Closing dates for this round’s applications will be 5 April. For information on how to apply, visit nz.royalacademyofdance.org/teacher-training-with-the-rad/creina-gee-memorial-award.
From 21 – 22 April, at the ASB Waterfront Theatre, the New Zealand Dance Company (NZDC) will premiere Stage of Being, a thrilling double bill celebration from Aotearoa’s Sāmoan and Chinese dance makers. Xin Ji and his long-time collaborator, Xiao Chao Wen will explore how society influences the agency we have over expressing our authentic selves in Made in Them. In LittleBits and AddOns, founding NZDC member Tupua Tigafua will open up the world of a picturebook for dance, exploring character types that are universally relatable and celebrate the wonder of the human condition. Stage of Being will share contrasting perspectives of identity and culture that reflect the beauty of our beingness and the diverse artistry represented in New Zealand contemporary dance. For tickets and more information, visit nzdc.org.nz/stage/works/stage-of-being.
NZDC has appointed a new Chief Executive/Artistic Director, Moss Te Ururangi Patterson. Patterson joins NZDC as the Company enters its second decade, following a period of disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the most influential figures in New Zealand contemporary dance over the last 25 years, Patterson was the first artistic director of Atamira Dance Company. Under his leadership, Atamira received its first Creative New Zealand funding in the same funding round that NZDC received its first funding. Of his appointment, Patterson said, “Art making in Aotearoa requires an absolute passion for the craft and a dedication to the people you are creating with. I’m honored to be leading such an incredible team of New Zealand’s most amazing dancers and choreographers into our next phase of creativity, celebration and courageous leadership in the arts. Ka mau te wehi!” Patterson commences his tenure with the Company in early May.
With mesmerising choreography by Andrea Schermoly (Stand to Reason, Within Without) and exquisite sets and costumes by Academy Award-winning designer James Acheson (The Last Emperor, Dangerous Liaisons), the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB)’s Romeo & Juliet, in association with Avis, brings all the splendour and seduction of Renaissance Verona, the ferocity of two families in battle, and the heart-breakingly beautiful but ultimately tragic romance of literature’s famous star-crossed lovers. Romeo & Juliet offers the RNZB’s dancers the chance to give, and audiences to experience, the performance of a lifetime. Schermoly says, “Romeo & Juliet is one of the ultimate romantic tragedies and a choreographic dream to embark on. It incorporates intense romance alongside ferocious family drama, luxurious glamour and heart wrenching tragedy. Creating this work with the RNZB is a career highlight for me. I’m thankful for this inspiring creative team, and it is an honour to be working with James Acheson.”
Lee Marshall, General Manager of Avis New Zealand, says, “This is a special partnership for us, and we are delighted to start our journey together with such a memorable ballet. We share the RNZB’s commitment to excellence in everything we do and support the company’s exceptional dancers, who always inspire audiences with their talent, discipline and skill.”
The RNZB’s Romeo & Juliet, in association with Avis, tours to Wellington, Auckland, Dunedin, Christchurch, Palmerston North and Napier from 4 May. Principal Conductor Hamish McKeich will conduct the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra (Wellington), the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, with a recording by Orchestra Wellington accompanying all other performances. Following the national tour, ballet lovers throughout Australasia will have the opportunity to purchase and view a specially made online broadcast version of Romeo & Juliet, filmed during the Wellington season and capturing all the excitement of the live performance. Viewing will be available from 16 June to 6 July. For more and information and to book tickets, head to rnzb.org.nz/shows/romeo-juliet.
By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.