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Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Winter Season Delivers Stunning Work By Three Dance Luminaries

Published: Wed 22 May 2024 07:59 AM
Photo credit: Ross Brown
The Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) will present a spectacular trio of ballets for its 2024 winter season. Solace: Dance to feed your soul, in association with Ryman Healthcare, will light up stages in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, and Ōtautahi Christchurch from 1 to 17 August, with work by three of the world's most innovative and celebrated artists, Wayne McGregor (Britain), Sarah Foster-Sproull (Aotearoa New Zealand) and Alice Topp (Australia).
RNZB Artistic Director Ty King-Wall says, “I’m looking forward with such anticipation to our Solace season, in which our dancers and audiences alike will experience the incredible capacity of dance as a language for diversity of expression, and the unbelievable physical capacity of the human body for movement.”
Wayne McGregor’s Infra, from the Latin word for 'below', delivers an illuminating portrait of city life. This abstract ballet delves beneath the surface to present a moving mediation on human interactions.
Infra premiered at the Royal Opera House in London in 2008. With an LED screen running the width of the stage revealing a mesmerising flow of British artist Julian Opie's walking figures, Infra features twelve dancers moving through solos, duets, and ensembles. Accompanying the work is Max Richter's elegiac score, which mixes melancholy string melodies with electronic sounds.
Sarah Foster-Sproull’s To Hold is her fifth original work for the RNZB. It explores the intricate wonders of the human form: shape shifting, endlessly inventive. Eden Mulholland's score adds a powerful sense of primal transformation, pushing and pulling the dancers through the space. The work is enhanced by costumes designed by Donna Jefferis, whose pieces draw inspiration from the high-fashion tailoring and pleated designs of Issey Miyake, elegantly framing the body while supporting the complex choreographic structures.
Completing the programme is High Tide, a poignant new creation by a favourite in New Zealand, RNZB alumna and former Resident Choreographer at The Australian Ballet, Alice Topp. Inspired by the music of Ólafur Arnalds, this ballet reflects on the cycles of life, touching upon themes of growth, fear, and reconciliation. High Tide examines the shadows and lights of existence, represented through the unique stage design by Jon Buswell, which transforms the space into a living sculpture, emphasising the fluid and ever-changing nature of life itself.
King-Wall says, “I’m delighted that the Royal New Zealand Ballet will have the opportunity to perform a work by Wayne McGregor for the first time. Wayne really has changed the face of ballet and the way we approach the art form over the past two decades. Infra possesses a quiet power and immense beauty, and it is wonderful to be seeing it on our shores for the first time.
“Alice and Sarah are both such loved members of our RNZB whānau, and our relationship has grown so strong across the incredibly fruitful collaborations we’ve had in recent years. It is a joy to have them back in the studio with us, and for them to be creating two world premiere works for us this season is a huge thrill.” Solace: Dance to feed your soul delivers a nourishing, cup-filling experience this winter, combining the creative genius of leading choreographers, composers, and designers. This season of reflection, beauty, and profound human connection, showcased through the artistry of dance, will be a highlight of the cultural calendar in 2024.
Tickets are available now at rnzb.org.nz.
For more information and to view the full 2024 RNZB program, visit www.rnzb.org.nz.

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