Home Coming For Talented Choreographer
Home Coming For Talented Choreographer
In his first professional role, Christchurch-born dancer Andrew Simmons performed as a Lost Boy in Peter Pan with the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Now, as an internationally acclaimed choreographer, he has flown from Dresden to create a new piece of work especially for the RNZB as they celebrate their 60th anniversary year.
For Andrew, dance is ‘living art’ that needs a creator. A pivotal moment in his life came when “I realised as a young child that there is a person that those moves come from.” Today, he is that person and he has travelled 12,000 miles to create Of Days, one of the three new works that make up Made to Move three world premieres in one night.
Andrew was a finalist in the 2011 UK Critic’s Circle Critic’s National Dance Awards best classical choreography section for his piece A Song in the Dark, commissioned by the RNZB in 2009. The piece became a hit with audiences across New Zealand, the UK and in France on the company’s 2011 tour.
Joining the RNZB for a second stint as a guest choreographer is an artistic home-coming of sorts for Andrew. “I am excited to be back with the RNZB choreographing a piece with them in mind. The RNZB dancers give something of themselves in such a way that it is in the air when they are moving and creating. You can almost touch it.”
Andrew invites audiences to view Of Days and draw their own conclusions “You can’t tell 800 people what they should feel. I want them to tell me. A free and blank slate can interest them more. After the success of A Song in the Dark, so many people came up to me and said “I saw this” or “I felt that”, they were moved in some way. It is their interpretations that are interesting and inspiring to me as a choreographer, that is what makes dance truly alive, that intimate interaction between the choreographer, the dancer and the audience.”
The RNZB is grateful to the Goethe Institut, Wellington for its generous assistance towards Andrew’s travel from Germany.
Made to Move tours to 7 centres, Wellington, Napier, Auckland, Takapuna, Palmerston North, Dunedin and Ashburton, opening at the St James Theatre in Wellington on 27 February and closing at the Ashburton Trust Event Centre on 24 March.
Season of Made to Move tour dates:
Wellington: 27 February
– 2 March, St James Theatre
Napier: 5 March, Napier Municipal Theatre
Auckland: 8 – 10 March, ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre (as part of the Auckland Arts Festival)
Takapuna 13 – 14 March, Bruce Mason Centre
Palmerston North: 17 March, Regent on Broadway
Dunedin: 20 March, Regent Theatre
Ashburton: 23 – 24 March, Ashburton Trust Event Centre
Approximate running time: 2 hours, including
Casting note: As with all RNZB productions, there are several casts. Audience members are advised to check the RNZB’s website for cast lists.
For more information visit: http://www.nzballet.org.nz/shows-and-events/made-to-move/about/
Three world premieres in one night, Made to Move showcases three brand new works that celebrate the joy of dance, opening in Wellington at the end of next month.
Ethan Stiefel’s first original work for the RNZB, Bier Halle, brings the exuberance of a Bavarian inspired beer hall to the stage. Choreographer Javier De Frutos creates his third work for the RNZB, The Anatomy of a Passing Cloud, inspired by the Pacific, an exciting follow up to his award-winning Milagros (2003) and Banderillero (2006). Former company member Andrew Simmons, creator of 2010’s beautiful A Song in the Dark complete the trio of world premieres with Of Days.
Royal New Zealand Ballet
Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2013 the RNZB is an intrinsic part of New Zealand’s national heritage, and has the largest following of all New Zealand performing arts companies. The RNZB enjoys a reputation for strong and unique interpretations of full-length dramatic works. To this base have been added the masterworks and major ballets of the 20th century, such as Balanchine's works and the Stravinsky ballets, and the company has an enviable track record in commissioning new works from New Zealand and international choreographers. The RNZB regularly represents New Zealand on the international stage, with recent tours to the UK, Australia and a tour to China is taking place in April of this year. Filming of the third series of hit reality television show ‘Secret Lives of Dancers’ commenced in early 2013 and will be on screen later in the year. The New Zealand Film Commission are funding a major motion film directed by Toa Fraser (No 2 and Dean Spanley) based on RNZB’s 2012 season of Giselle for general release in late 2013 .