New Zealand Dance News – April/May 2024

RNZB's Mayu Tanigaito in 'Swan Lake'. Photo by Ross Brown.
RNZB's Mayu Tanigaito in 'Swan Lake'. Photo by Ross Brown.

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

The New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) is proud to announce the many notable companies their students have been seconded to in recent months – Royal New Zealand Ballet, Footnote New Zealand Dance, Movement of the Human, Atamira Dance Company, SCIMM. Dance Company and the New Zealand Fringe Festival.

NZSD 3rd Yr Classical Ballet Students Gabriella Hawke and Angus O'Connell. Photo by Stephen A'Court.
NZSD 3rd Yr Classical Ballet Students Gabriella Hawke and Angus O’Connell. Photo by Stephen A’Court.

NZSD has many exciting events coming up. You can head to the School’s website for detailed information and bookings: www.nzschoolofdance.ac.nz. On 3 April, NZSD will present Pointes of View, quarterly conversations on thought-provoking issues confronting the dance world today, at Te Whaea National Dance and Drama Centre. The Insight Studio Performances will be held 11 – 12 April, when NZSD students will present an hour of short works. These performances offer an opportunity to see repertoire the students have been working on during the term. Enhance, held 18 – 20 April, is a three-day recreational holiday programme for dancers of all backgrounds and levels of ability. The workshop facilitates contemporary dance, hip hop, improvisation and creative composition. NZSD’s Contemporary Intensive Programme will be offered on 11 May. This is for dancers aged 15-18 years, with a sound knowledge of contemporary dance and interest in dance as a career. And finally, the School will offer Pathways to full-time training (12 May Christchurch, 26 May Auckland, 10 July livestream), for dancers who are interested in full-time study at NZSD. For more, check out nzschoolofdance.ac.nz.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) will tour the timeless classic, Swan Lake, in May. Heralded as the ultimate ballet, this exquisite work has captivated audiences across generations with its unparalleled beauty, emotion, and onstage spectacle. Last seen onstage in 2013, when the RNZB’s performances attracted full houses across the motu, the return of Swan Lake to New Zealand theatres has been eagerly awaited by ballet lovers of all ages. 

Swan Lake is the pinnacle of balletic artistry, a testament to the dedication and skill of any dancers who bring its characters to life. Celebrating the talent and technical brilliance of a new generation of RNZB performers, this production, lovingly re-staged by former RNZB Ballet Mistress Turid Revfeim, pays homage to the artistic legacy of former Artistic Director, choreographer and RNZB kaumatua, Russell Kerr. 

“We are thrilled to be visiting Swan Lake once again in 2024,” says RNZB Artistic Director Ty King-Wall. “This production holds so many precious memories for generations of New Zealanders. With Russell’s passing in 2022, our season is imbued with even more emotion, as we recognise his incredible talent and honour one of the true luminaries of ballet in Aotearoa. Swan Lake’s themes of hope, deception, betrayal, and forgivenesscontinue to resonate so powerfully. I know how excited the dancers are to be performing Swan Lake this year, and hope audiences are ready to be swept away to this supernatural, transcendent world with us.”  

The RNZB will collaborate with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in Te Whanganui-a-Tara, the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra in Ōtautahi, and the Auckland Philharmonia in Tāmaki Makaurau to bring this exquisite production, and its iconic score, to magical and mesmerising life. For more information and to view the full 2024 RNZB program, visit www.rnzb.org.nz

Footnote New Zealand Dance has announced the appointment of Anita Hunziker to the new role of Artistic Director of the company. Hunziker trained at the NZSD majoring in contemporary dance and graduated in 2004. Upon graduating, she worked with Footnote for six years, where she toured nationally and internationally working with New Zealand’s leading choreographers and dancers.

 “It is an honour to step into the role of Artistic Director of Footnote New Zealand Dance, a company very close to my heart,” Hunziker said. “During my time with Footnote, I have been a Company Dancer, Artistic Liaison and then Artistic Manager. I have been privileged to work with some remarkable leaders who have been mentors, role models and friends. These connections and relationships are so valuable to me. I care deeply about this company and the people we work with, and our new Artistic Vision fills me with excitement and energy.”

Footnote will offer a One Day with Footnote workshop on 22 April. This full-day workshop is geared to youth and young dancers aged 15-20. Attendees will explore current contemporary dance practices and performance techniques, such as floorwork, improvisation and choreography. They will also have the chance to learn current company repertoire from seasoned professionals. A Teacher Workshop will also be offered, which will include two hours spent with Footnote’s Artistic Director exploring current contemporary dance technique and creative practice. For more information, head to www.footnote.org.nz/news/one-day-with-footnote-workshop.

By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.

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