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RNZB To Tour 50 Centres For 50th Anniversary

RNZB To Tour 50 Centres For 50th Anniversary

The Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2003 with a 50-centre tour of small-town communities.

“Reaching the age of 50 puts us among some of the more mature dance companies in the world but that doesn’t mean we’re about to put our feet up with a cuppa. We’ve planned a birthday celebration to beat them all,” said RNZB Artistic Director Gary Harris announcing the company’s 2003 programme.

From the heartland focus of New Zealand Post Tutus on Tour, to the sheer romance of The Meridian Energy Season of Romeo and Juliet and the playful inventiveness of The Lotto Season of Peter Pan, the RNZB’s 2003 repertoire showcases its strong classical base alongside its talent for contemporary innovation, he said.

“New Zealand Post Tutus on Tour brings ballet back to the communities that have supported us since our earliest days. It’s a massive tour that involves splitting the company into two groups, one to tour the North Island and one to tour the South Island. As with our last nationwide tour in 2001, we’re presenting a programme which will keep both the classical purists and fans of contemporary ballet happy.

“With a big reputation, and talent to match, Christopher Hampson returns to New Zealand to choreograph The Meridian Energy Season of Romeo and Juliet. Prepare to be swept off your feet by this unforgettable new production.

“The Lotto Season of Peter Pan brings together the icons of New Zealand dance in the classic story about a boy who refuses to grow up. Russell Kerr continues his long association with the company with this fabulous production. To top it all off, the cast will be led by Sir Jon Trimmer in the role of Captain Hook.”

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New Zealand Post Tutus on Tour 20 February – 5 April 2003 The programme premieres Milagros, a powerful new work set to Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring from acclaimed contemporary choreographer Javier de Frutos. Once described as ‘a maverick of the dance world’, Javier’s work is noted for its exciting theatricality and unique movement style.

After restaging last year’s enormously successful season of Swan Lake, Artistic Director Gary Harris revives another gem from the golden age of classical ballet, Petipa’s ravishing and provocative Paquita to music by Minkus.

Mark Baldwin returns with 2001’s big hit, the fleet-footed contemporary ballet FrENZy, featuring Split Enz songs; and the deliciously sensuous Melting Moments, a lyrical interpretation of Dvorák’s American Quartet.

New Zealand Post Tutus on Tour travels to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Palmerston North, Hastings and 44 other towns and cities. A full tour itinerary will be released in coming weeks.

The Meridian Energy Season of Romeo and Juliet 6 June – 20 July 2003 With their families locked in a bitter feud, Romeo and Juliet’s fate is sealed from their first encounter. The two fall madly in love and with the impetuousness of youth marry in secret. As the power play between the rival Montague and Capulet houses reaches fever pitch, any hope the star-crossed lovers have of happiness is forever shattered.

Choreographer Christopher Hampson is the UK’s hottest classical ballet talent, his work hailed as a triumph of imagination and energy.

From ballroom to balcony, this new production has the look of La Dolce Vita era Italy. The sophisticated and sumptuous designs by Tracy Grant and evocative lighting design by John Rayment are set off by bold brushstrokes of the richest and bloodiest red.

Set to Prokofiev's celebrated score, this captivating production resonates with passion and dramatic intensity.

The Meridian Energy Season of Romeo and Juliet tours Wellington, Napier, Auckland, Palmerston North, Dunedin and Hamilton and will be a highlight of the fifth biennial Christchurch Arts Festival in 2003.

The Lotto Season of Peter Pan 31 October – 11 December 2003 The Lotto Season of Peter Pan is a fantasy-filled adventure for the young at heart – and for those who refuse to grow up! Join Peter, Tinkerbell and Captain Hook on a journey into an exciting imaginary world, from the Darling family’s nursery to Neverland – home to the Mermaid’s Lagoon, the Lost Boy’s lair and Hook’s evil pirate ship.

This swashbuckling dance adventure was a huge hit with audiences when it premiered in 1999. Based on James Barrie’s original play, Russell Kerr’s choreography brings all the famous characters to life through a playful combination of engaging theatre and classical dance. With Kristian Fredrikson’s Edwardian picturebook-inspired designs, dreamy lighting by Joe Hayes and an exquisite score by Philip Norman, Peter Pan will captivate and enchant.

The Lotto Season of Peter Pan tours Wellington, Dunedin, Christchurch, Napier, Palmerston North, Auckland, New Plymouth and Hamilton.

The announcement of next year’s line-up was combined with the launch of the RNZB’s 2003 Subscription Series. The series gives the public an opportunity to book early, save money and enjoy all the special benefits that come with being a subscriber. There are six subscription centres across the country – Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Napier and Palmerston North. Call 0800 4 DANCE (0800 432 623) for more information about becoming a subscriber.

Background notes

A brief history of the Royal New Zealand Ballet The Royal New Zealand Ballet was formed in 1953 by Danish Royal Ballet Principal Dancer Poul Gnatt. The company's early days of touring embodied the New Zealand pioneering spirit. Performing night in night out, company members unloaded and repacked the set, rigged the lights and ironed the costumes, with local community members providing accommodation. The spirit of those days survives, and the support of the New Zealand public remains.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet today has developed a reputation for strong characterisation in the staging of full-length dramatic works, which became a hallmark in the 1980s. To this base have been added the masterworks and major ballets of the 20th century, such as Balanchine's works and the Stravinsky ballets.

The 32 full-time dancers of the Royal New Zealand Ballet possess a unique physical strength and versatility, and a well-developed sense of individuality. New international and New Zealand choreography expresses these qualities and features prominently in the company's repertoire.

All our dancers are trained professionally in classical ballet but easily step between classical and contemporary dance styles. They have been trained in many places all over the world from New Zealand, Australia and the UK, to South Korea, the Philippines and Japan.

In January 1998, the Royal New Zealand Ballet moved to its first ever permanent purpose built premises at Wellington's WestpacTrust St James Theatre.

How does the RNZB’s age compare with that of other major ballet companies? The world’s oldest ballet company is Paris Opera Ballet, which traces its origins back to 1661 when King Louis XIV created the Académie Royale de Danse (Royal Academy of Dance) to improve the quality of dance instruction for court entertainment. The Bolshoi Ballet, 1776 Britain’s Royal Ballet, 1931 Royal Winnipeg Ballet, 1939 American Ballet Theatre, 1940 English National Ballet (formerly London Festival Ballet ), 1950 The Royal New Zealand Ballet, 1953 Australian Ballet, 1962 Hong Kong Ballet, 1979

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