31 Oct 2013
One of the highlights of the annual dance calendar, the Graduation Season of the New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) in November, presents an exhilarating mix of classical ballet and contemporary choreography. The performances in Wellington showcase the exceptional talent of the students from all three years of the School, with an international selection of both traditional and newly created works.
Among the highlights of this exciting season is Solitaire, an early work by Sir Kenneth MacMillan, the principal choreographer of London's Royal Ballet for many years. The founding director of NZSD, Sara Neil, danced in the original cast when Solitaire premiered with Sadler's Wells Theatre Ballet in London in 1956. Lynn Wallis, Artistic Director of the Royal Academy of Dance (UK), coached the School’s classical students in MacMillan's wistful ballet on a visit to New Zealand in August.
NZSD classical student, Olivia Berrell, said: "Graduation Season is a big deal for all of us as students. It gives us the chance to perform roles we might never get to dance again. Solitaire is going to be quite different from anything we've done before.”
A more recent addition to this year’s programme is provided by former Royal New Zealand Ballet dancer Jo Funaki, from Japan. Jo and his partner Yu Takayama, also a former soloist of the RNZB, came in September to teach his powerful choreography Rise to the students for Graduation Season.
From closer to home, audiences will be treated to newly-created works by iconic New Zealand choreographer Michael Parmenter, and Australian choreographer Anthony Hamilton, who won the 2013 Helpman Award for Best Choreography in a Ballet or Dance Work. Rafael Bonachela’s The Land of Yes and The Land of No comes to the School directly from Sydney Dance Company.
Also part of this season are revivals of Jeffrey Tan’s intense and sculptural duet Façade, US choreographer Val Caniparoli’s highly evocative male solo, Aria, and Belgian choreographer Elie Tass’ new work created on the School’s contemporary students.
NZSD contemporary student, Eliza Sanders, who performs in Rafael Bonachela’s and Antony Hamilton's choreography, said: "It's an incredible opportunity to work with professionals who are inspiring and influential members of the industry. They have such a wealth of knowledge that they are really generous to share with us."
The New Zealand School of Dance is well known as the tertiary institution of choice for dancers wishing to train towards a career in ballet or contemporary dance and has established a strong international profile. Many graduates of the School have gone on to make significant contributions to the dance world both nationally and internationally, dancing with companies such as the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Australian Dance Theatre, The Australian Ballet, Sydney Dance Company, Footnote Dance, Black Grace, The National Ballet of Canada and The New Zealand Dance Company.
New Zealand School of Dance students train full-time for up to three years to gain a qualification in dance performance. The Graduation Season is their annual performance platform before they begin careers as professional dancers.
20 - 30 November 2013
Tickets: $28 Adult / $23 Student or Senior / $16 Child under 12
Venue: National Dance & Drama Centre, 11 Hutchison Road, Newtown, Wellington
Performances at 7.30pm (except Sunday and Monday)
Matinees at 2pm Sunday 24 and Saturday 30 November
Photo 1: New Zealand School of Dance students Camillo Baracco, Luigi Vescio and Michael Gudgeon, photographed by Stephen A’Court.
Photo 2: New Zealand School of Dance students Jarrah McArthur and Tynan Wood, photographed by Stephen A’Court.
Title: New Zealand School of Dance Graduation season 2013
Venue: Te Whaea: National Dance & Drama Centre, 11 Hutchison Road, Newtown, Wellington
Date: 20 November 2013