Royal New Zealand Ballet takes Italy by storm
The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s six week tour to the UK and Italy ended in Rome on 3 December. Following rave reviews in
the UK, the RNZB was welcomed with open arms in Artistic Director Francesco Ventriglia’s homeland. All performances of Giselle had full houses and audience members and critics were united in praise of the RNZB’s first-ever performances in Italy.
National Italian Arts magazine laPlatea said of the mixed bill A Passing Cloud : “The dancers were able to perform multiple styles and embody different moods, emphasizing at times a sensible spirit
and other times a powerful inner strength, leaving the audience completely taken by their technique and their energy.”
Francesco Ventriglia, who has been at the artistic helm of the RNZB for one year, was very proud to introduce the RNZB
to his countrymen: “It was an honour for me to return to Italy and showcase the versatility and energy of the talented
dancers of the RNZB. We certainly flew the flag for the New Zealand arts scene. To end the tour at one of Rome’s most
prestigious theatres [Auditorium Conciliazione
] was a very moving experience.”
This is the first time that the RNZB has performed in Italy. To celebrate the occasion the New Zealand Ambassador to
Italy, Patrick John Rata, and New Zealand Trade Commissioner, Ann Clifford, hosted 50 local dignitaries, business
contacts and members of the diplomatic corps at the historic Auditorium Conciliazione, close to the Vatican City.
“We were delighted to see the Royal New Zealand Ballet visit Rome for the very first time. It was a thrilling
performance and all us Kiwis in the audiences were full of pride. It was also a wonderful opportunity to show a new side
of New Zealand to our colleagues and trading partners,” said Ambassador Rata.
The RNZB performed two diverse programmes for Italian and UK audiences: Giselle, created by Ethan Stiefel and Johan Kobborg in 2012 and now considered one of the company’s signature works; and A Passing Cloud, a mixed bill of four works, two by international choreographers Javier De Frutos (The Anatomy of A Passing Cloud) and Andonis Foniadakis (Selon désir)*; and two by New Zealanders Andrew Simmons (Dear Horizon) and Neil Ieremia (Passchendaele), which were created to mark the centenary of World War One as part of the RNZB’s acclaimed Salute programme.
After 29 performances in eight European cities, the RNZB’s dancers are now having a well-deserved summer break. Leading
dancer Lucy Green is, however, currently in Edinburgh where she is appearing in the title role of Scottish National
Ballet’s Edinburgh season of Cinderella, as a special guest. This much-admired production was originally created for the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 2007 and was designed [sets and
costumes] by Aucklander Tracy Grant Lord.
The RNZB will be back in its Wellington rehearsal studios from 12 January 2016 rehearsing Speed of Light, a mixed bill of three larger-than-life contemporary classics appearing at the New Zealand Festival and Auckland Arts
Festivals and touring to Christchurch and Dunedin 26 February – 16 March.
*Selon désir will receive its New Zealand premiere as part of the RNZB’s Speed of Light.
Image: Selon desir during the Italy and UK tour – RNZB dancers Abigail Boyle and Loughlan Prior credit Bill Cooper