INDEPENDENT NEWS

Dancing at the Speed of Light

Published: Wed 3 Feb 2016 11:57 AM
Dancing at the Speed of Light – RNZB’s high-energy start to 2016
An iconic dance work that is credited with changing ballet for ever, and another two internationally acclaimed contemporary works, make up the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s (RNZB) explosive start to 2016.
Speed of Light a mixed bill of three works by some of the world’s most important choreographers, will feature in both the New Zealand Festival* (26 – 28 Feb) and the Auckland Arts Festival (2 – 6 March) before heading south toChristchurch (10 – 12 March) and Dunedin (16 March).
This is the first programme that Francesco Ventriglia has put together for the national ballet company of 34 dancers since becoming Artistic Director at the end of 2014. ‘For audiences to be able to see these large-scale international dance works in one night – is a gift! It’s a great example of the type of work that I want to showcase in the future, while still embracing the past of amazing classical repertoire. I’m delighted to have the opportunity to bring these pieces to New Zealand and to give our dancers the amazing experience of learning and performing them.’
Described by The Guardian newspaper as ‘the work that changed ballet for ever,’ choreographer William Forsythe’s revolutionary In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated was initially commissioned by Rudolf Nureyev for the Paris Opéra Ballet in 1987, for a virtuoso cast of young stars. It is the America-raised, Germany-based choreographer’s most famous work, and has been performed by every major ballet company in the world. This will be the first time that the RNZB has danced it and only the second time that it has ever been performed in New Zealand (the last time was in 1994 by Ballet Frankfurt).
It is a very special work for Francesco Ventriglia who as a young graduate from ballet school was selected by William Forysthe to dance one of the leading male roles in this iconic work at La Scala in Milan. The work is a technical tour de force for the dancers with extended and accelerated ballet positions. Almost 30 years after its creation, In the Middle is as modern as the day it was made.
Fresh from dancing Andonis Foniadakis’ Selon désir during the RNZB’s tour to UK and Italy at the end of last year, the company will premiere this seductive work for New Zealand audiences during Speed of Light. The RNZB’s London performances of Selon désir [according to desire] were described by the Evening Standard newspaper as:‘Sixteen dancers ride a gale of movement, long loose hair tossed with whiplash motions… this almost biblical throng of bodies like a gang of feral angels.’ From Athens but based in Paris, Andonis Foniadakis is one of Europe’s most important choreographers whose works are performed by renowned ballet companies all over the world.
32 year old Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman’s Cacti, the most recent of the three works making up Speed of Light, has taken the dance world by storm since its premiere in The Hague in 2010. It is now performed by 18 leading companies around the world and will have its New Zealand premiere when the RNZB perform it on the opening night of the New Zealand Festival. The company will be joined on stage by the New Zealand String Quartet who will tour with the company. The interaction of music, movement and lighting combined with daredevil virtuosity and split second timing give the piece an irresistible energy. The Australian newspaper described it as: ‘delightful, witty, effervescent, playful, surreal and joyously physical’. For Francesco Ventriglia Cacti was the very first work that he dreamed of staging with the RNZB and the first phone call he made after his new appointment as Artistic Director.
*It is the first time in 12 years the RNZB will be part of the New Zealand Festival.
ENDS

Next in Lifestyle

Endeavour arrives at Tūranganui-a-Kiwa as part of Tuia 250
By: RNZ
NZ Improv Fest Turns It Up To Eleven
By: NZ Improv Festival
$12 million investment in stimulating content for tamariki
By: NZ On Air
Author Jack Lasenby remembered as master storyteller
By: RNZ
Tuia 250 Voyage flotilla launches with tribute
By: New Zealand Government
Whangaparāoa iwi commemorate arrival of waka tīpuna
By: New Zealand Government
Tuia 250 - Te Pōwhiri - Te Whanganui o Hei / Mercury Bay
By: Tuia 250
HMB Endeavour replica arrives in NZ to join Tuia 250 Voyage
By: Tuia 250
Tuia Mātauranga Roadshow kicks off
By: Ministry of Education
UK govt's expression of regret to Gisborne iwi
By: RNZ
Release of critical book on Cook Commemorations
By: Kia Mau
Endeavour was a military invasion
By: Auckland Peace Action
Extinction Rebellion Aotearoa launch decolonisation action
By: Extinction Rebellion
More laugh therapy ordered for New Zealanders
By: NZ On Air
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILEWe're in BETA! Send Feedback © Scoop Media