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Top Choreographers Come Home To Create New Work

28 October 2008

Top young choreographers come home to create new work

Contemporary choreographer Ross McCormack working with students of the New Zealand School of Dance. Ross has created a brand new work for the New Zealand School of Dance Graduation Season, as has fellow NZSD graduate Sarah Foster.


Wellington audiences will soon have the opportunity to see world premieres by two of our most promising choreographic talents.

Contemporary choreographers Sarah Foster and Ross McCormack have created brand new work to premiere within the New Zealand School of Dance Graduation Season this November. Both Sarah and Ross are graduates of the School, and are enjoying highly successful dance careers overseas. They have returned home to create the new works on the students of NZSD.

Sarah Foster graduated from NZSD in 1997 and has worked with many leading New Zealand choreographers, including Michael Parmenter, Raewyn Hill, Malia Johnston, Guy Ryan, Deirdre Tarrant and Kristian Larsen. She was also a founding member of Strident, a Wellington-based choreographic collective. Upon relocating to London, Sarah worked with European company Magpie Music Dance and choreographers Frauke Requardt and Sylvain Meret. Sarah has recently returned to New Zealand to actively involve herself in the dance community here. She choreographed a new work for Footnote Dance earlier this year, and performed in Michael Parmenter’s TENT, which has just finished touring to Auckland and Wellington.

2008 will mark the second time Sarah has created work for the New Zealand School of Dance – her 2007 piece One Trick Pony was a hit with critics and audience alike. Her new work is called We Can Fight, and deals with movement that pushes physical extremities. Sarah says: "It is important that new contemporary work is created and that we all work together to nurture our distinctly New Zealand choreographic style. This is a wonderful opportunity to create work on the graduating students from the school I have trained at, and a fantastic platform to showcase original New Zealand choreographic work. It’s also a treat to create work on students of such a high calibre!”

Ross McCormack graduated from the New Zealand School of Dance in 2001 with an award for Excellence in Choreography and rave reviews for his graduating performance. During his final year he worked on the solo piece Anthem, choreographed by Douglas Wright. Ross performed in Douglas Wright’s Dance Company’s Inland at the 2002 New Zealand Festival of Arts and went on to work with the Royal New Zealand Ballet for the 2002 season of Carmen. He danced with the acclaimed contemporary company Australian Dance Theatre for several years, during which time he kicked off his choreographic work. Ross won the 2004 Helpmann Award for Best Male Dancer in a Ballet or Dance Work. He subsequently joined Flanders-based company Les Ballets C de la B.

Ross has worked with four NZSD students to create Symbiotic, a work that explores concepts of hybrids, metamorphosis and evolution.

McCormack and Foster’s respective works sit within a varied programme of classical ballet and contemporary dance. From the soft classical grace of Bournonville’s Flower Festival in Genzano to the highly theatrical and explosive choreography of Natalie Weir’s Jabula, the NZSD Graduation Season is designed to take the audience on a tour around the world and through the history of dance.

"The great thing about New Zealanders is that they are consistently willing to try new things; to embrace new and different experiences," says Sarah. "Graduation Season is an international standard of dance - but is still accessible to people who have never been to the ballet before. The mix of classical and contemporary means there is something for everyone.

The students at NZSD are amongst the top dance students in the world and Graduation Season is a chance to see them in action before they step out into the professional arena.”


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