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APO Meets Contemporary Dance for Rugby World Cup

APO Meets Contemporary Dance for Rugby World Cup

Rugby and contemporary dance aren’t the most obvious of bedfellows. But 2011 isn’t a usual rugby season and this isn’t just any contemporary dance performance.

The Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra enters into the spirit of the Rugby World Cup tomorrow when it welcomes internationally renowned dance choreographer Royston Maldoom to New Zealand.

The official welcome commences with a pōwhiri at Orakei Marae, Auckland, from 9.30am, and will also be attended by dignitaries including Carwyn Jones, First Minister of Wales.

Maldoom is in New Zealand to act as choreographer and artistic director of Sacre: The Auckland Dance Project.

Sacre is staged in association with the REAL New Zealand Festival for Rugby World Cup 2011, and brings together 190 young people from north, south, east and west Auckland, drawn from decile one to 10 schools.

For the last few months, the young dancers have been attending workshops with the APO’s own education team and leading New Zealand dance professionals Ann Dewey, Taiaroa Royal and Moss Patterson.

From Monday 12 September, Maldoom takes full control, with the first rehearsals involving Hay Park and New Lynn schools, and, later the same day, Tangaroa College, Kristin School and dance students from the University of Auckland.

On 14 October, the project ends with a contemporary dance performance of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring at the Aotea Centre with Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and its Music Director, Eckehard Stier.

Project coordinator Sally Markham says that Sacre can open doors into wider worlds. “It’s about creating opportunities that young people would never have: dancing on a professional stage, performing with a live orchestra, working with a world famous artistic director; these are not the sorts of things most people get to do.”

But, Markham adds, the social aims are as important as artistic ones. “The chance to work with other students is a big thing; the people in this project come from worlds that may not ordinarily intersect. These projects where professional arts sectors are put next to community and education sectors are important because they create opportunities for change.”

Barbara Glaser, Chief Executive of Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, says that the APO is proud to present Sacre: The Auckland Dance Project. “This is something we’ve been planning for a few years, so to have finally reached this point is special for us. Royston is an international star who has worked with many of the world’s leading orchestras and it’s lovely to have him in New Zealand. He has indicated his interest in New Zealand culture, so we’re delighted that Ngāti Whātua o Orakei has agreed to host the pōwhiri. I’d also like to thank the REAL New Zealand Festival for having faith in what we’re trying to achieve. This is a big project that involves hundreds of people, and it’s fitting that we launch Sacre on the same day that the Rugby World Cup opens.”


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