Razor-Sharp Dance


Speed of Light dancers Georgia Powley and Leonora Voigtlander - Credit: Maarten Holl
Speed of Light dancers Georgia Powley and Leonora Voigtlander - Credit: Maarten Holl
Witness the complex rhythms and dynamic power of the Royal New Zealand Ballet as the company performs three works that will be seen together for the first time in its upcoming tour.


Energy, wit and rhythm are just some of the hallmarks of the young Swedish choreographer Alexander Ekman’s amazing dance works.

“Witty and sophisticated …” is how The New York Times described his work Tuplet. The Daily Telegraph wrote the “sheer speed” of Episode 31 “was thrilling”. Dance companies all over the world are performing his works.

In 2016, the Royal New Zealand Ballet premiered Ekman’s Cacti as part of its near sell-out Speed of Light tour that featured in the Auckland Arts Festival and the New Zealand Festival. Cacti quickly became an audience favourite with New Zealand Herald dance critic hailing its “cheeky effervescence, irrepressible energy and beguiling wit”.

Now, the national ballet company of 36 dancers will perform three of his dance works in one night.

The artistic director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Francesco Ventriglia, says, “We’re bringing back Cacti with two additional works, Tuplet and Episode 31. It’s the first time these three works have ever been performed together. It’s a great chance to get to know Alexander Ekman better. He never disappoints and is quite simply a genius.”

Tuplet, created for Cedar Lake Contemporary Ballet and premiered at The Joyce Theater, New York, in 2012, is for just six dancers and is the most intimate of the three works, riffing off the split-second precision of contemporary ballet dancers at the top of their game.

Episode 31, which was made for the senior graduation class at The Juilliard School and premiered in New York in 2011, is larger in scale – a torrent of youthful vigour harnessing the energy of New York City.

Cacti was created in 2010 and consists of 16 dancers with four musicians live onstage. This piece brings it all together, combining,hilarious insights into the dancers’ innermost thoughts with a mesmerising musicality. Once again, the Royal New Zealand Ballet will be joined by the New Zealand String Quartet onstage for all performances.

“This is contemporary ballet at its very best with the most dynamic lighting and stylish staging,” says Ventriglia. “But above all, Alexander Ekman knows how to entertain. It really will be a great night out.”

Three by Ekman, performed by the Royal New Zealand Ballet, will be on tour from May 17 to June 15 in Wellington, Auckland, Napier, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Visit rnzb.org.nz for more details and information on how to book.


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