The New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) has played a significant role in shaping this country’s dance culture for half a century and its ambitious 50th Anniversary Graduation programme fittingly reflects its achievements and strong links to the Royal New Zealand Ballet.
High student calibre
The season is an opportunity to witness the high calibre of students and the results of working with inspirational world class tutors. Audiences at Wellington’s St James Theatre will be treated to an eclectic mix of visionary contemporary dance and classical ballet featuring outstanding choreography from NZSD alumni and teachers alongside international choreographic icons.
Director Garry Trinder said that when the School was founded in 1967, the driving force behind its creation was to provide well-trained dancers for the New Zealand Ballet which was to become the Royal New Zealand Ballet we know today.
“These anniversary performances bring full circle the hopes and wishes of our founders. The two institutions – although legally, organisationally and financially independent – will share the stage together continuing tradition into the future,” he said.
The Programme’s classical works include George Balanchine’s Allegro Brillante, Aria by American Val Caniparoli and Sir Kenneth MacMillan’s Pas de Deux from Concerto, which will be performed by NZSD students alongside the virtuosic pas de deux from Don Quixote and William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated performed by the Royal New Zealand Ballet.
The School has played a central role in commissioning works by New Zealand choreographers, a significant example being the joyous celebration of movement that is The Bach by Arts Laureate Michael Parmenter, first performed at NZSD’s Graduation Season 2006. Set to Bach’s Cantata No. 66, the dancers beautifully embody the elation expressed in the music.
Talent becomes evident
The talent of the School’s alumni is evident throughout the programme with commissioned works by graduates including Sarah Foster-Sproull, Victoria Columbus and current RNZB dancer Loughlan Prior.
This eclectic programme represents only a moment in the story of the New Zealand School of Dance. It is the School’s way of sharing their special birthday, while congratulating their faculty, alumni and talented young dancers on 50 years of excellence.
New Zealand School of Dance Students Hosanna Ball & Saul Newport (Picture by Stephen A’Court)