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Artistic Director steps down from Royal NZ Ballet

Artistic Director steps down from the Royal New Zealand Ballet

Media Release
For Immediate Release
Tuesday 24 November, 2009

Royal New Zealand Ballet artistic director Gary Harris has announced he will leave the company at the end of 2010.

“I’ve loved my time with the RNZB but it is time for a change,” says Harris, who joined the RNZB in 2001.

Originally from the UK, Harris joined the RNZB after working the world over as a dancer, teacher, repetiteur and designer.

Harris says he will be leaving behind a dedicated team and is immensely proud of the company and what they have achieved. “As a company, the Royal New Zealand Ballet consistently punches above its weight. I feel lucky to have worked with such an amazing team of dancers and staff during my time here”.

He says there have been numerous highlights during his time with the company, including the opening night of Romeo & Juliet at Sadler’s Wells in London in 2004, creating a completely new Don Quixote and bringing back dancers such as Amy Hollingsworth, Cameron McMillan, Marc Cassidy, Gaylene Cummerfield, Matthew Lawrence and Lisa-Maree Cullum to guest star in productions.

“I have a huge amount of pride in this company, it’s been a thrill to do a job I have absolutely loved,” Harris says.

Royal New Zealand Ballet general manager Amanda Skoog says the company has reached a new level of quality under Harris’ direction.

“Gary’s vision and passion have helped the company achieve increased national and international acclaim,” she says. “A true man of the theatre, Gary has a fantastic eye and a real understanding what the public wants. During his time with the RNZB he’s built and commissioned shows that are not only great evenings of high quality dance but that are also incredibly accessible for our audiences.”

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Skoog says Harris’ legacy would include several full-length works that the RNZB could “truly call their own”, including the awarding-winning Romeo & Juliet, Cinderella, and the Nutcracker.

“Last year’s Don Quixote, which he both designed and choreographed, was just like Gary himself - bright, funny, full of colour and very entertaining.”

RNZB Board Chair Anne Blackburn says Harris has injected a sense of fun into the company. “Gary is not only a real character but also a true professional. We’d like to thank him for all the work he has done to ensure the Royal New Zealand Ballet maintains its exceptional reputation.”

Harris says he has no firm plans for the future but will most likely return to live in the UK.

An international recruitment search for Harris’ replacement will commence next year.


© Scoop Media

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