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The Royal New Zealand Ballet remembers WW1

The Royal New Zealand Ballet remembers WW1 with four dance works


The RNZB is honoured to present Salute, four dance works to mark the centenary of World War 1. Following the world premiere in Wellington next month, the company will tour to six venues around New Zealand.

“This dynamic mixed bill includes: a twentieth century masterpiece by legendary Czech choreographer Jiří Kylián; two world premieres created for the company by NZ choreographers Andrew Simmons and Neil Ieremia (Black Grace); and the NZ premiere of a work by Johan Kobborg,” says RNZB Artistic Director Francesco Ventriglia.

“This powerful programme themed around war, loss and hope is our tribute to those men and women who sacrificed so much, many of whom were the same ages as our young dancers.”

The New Zealand Army Band will perform live, including a new commission by acclaimed NZ composer Gareth Farr, for three of the four dance works. The NZAB’s musicians will be touring with the RNZB dancers throughout the month long tour.

“We are thrilled to be working with the New Zealand Army Band and to be bringing live music to every venue. Watching the four works taking shape is very exciting, and profoundly moving. I really believe this programme will resonate with all New Zealanders.” says Amanda Skoog, RNZB’s Managing Director.

12 male dancers will perform award-winning Czech choreographer Jiří Kylián’s Soldier’s Mass. Considered one of the landmark dance works of the 20th century, this beautiful work was originally created for Nederlands Dans Theater in 1980. It was a sensation when it was first performed by the RNZB in 1998.

Christchurch born, Dresden-based Andrew Simmons (Through to You, A Song in the Dark, Of Days), a former RNZB dancer, creates his fifth commission for the company. This brand new work, Dear Horizon, features a specially commissioned score by Gareth Farr which has been written for the New Zealand Army Band and cellist Rolf Gjelsten (New Zealand String Quartet).

Neil Ieremia, founder of Black Grace, will create a new work for the RNZB named after the battle in which more New Zealanders were killed and wounded than any other, Passchendaele. It is inspired by music composed by former NZAB member Dwayne Bloomfield who was born and raised in Timaru.

Renowned dancer, choreographer and director, Johan Kobborg’s Salute is a light- hearted work about cadets who have not yet experienced the reality of war. The music for this piece has been specially arranged for the New Zealand Army Band. Kobborg’s Les Lutins charmed NZ audiences in 2014 and his and Ethan Stiefel’s Giselle (2012) will long be remembered.

Salute opens in Wellington on 22 May ahead of touring to Christchurch, Dunedin, Hamilton, Takapuna, Auckland, and will close in Napier on 25 June.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet gratefully acknowledges generous support from the many partners who have contributed to Salute: the Lottery Grants Board, New Zealand Defence Force, Qantas and the Goethe-Institut, together with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, National Sponsor Vodafone and Pub Charity.

ENDS

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