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Welcoming 2021 with the Royal New Zealand Ballet

Welcoming 2021 with the Royal New Zealand Ballet

The country’s national ballet company makes a triumphant return to the stage in 2021 with an exciting mixture of new works and the classics.

Welcoming 2021 with the Royal New Zealand Ballet

Photography by Ross Brown, 2020

As the curtain closes on a year that has changed our world forever, the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) proudly announces its 2021 season. A glorious new season filled with hope, magic, madness and mischief under the sparkling lights of theatres across Aotearoa.

RNZB Artistic Director Patricia Barker says, “The purpose of art is to change or enhance a person’s life through perspective and emotion– to move us, help us feel compassion and to feed our souls. The world around us has changed, but our stories live on, and our need for connection, joy, sorrow, bliss – and hope – remain unchanged. Our 2021 season brings it all.”

From 12 May to 9 June, the RNZB’s immensely popular production of Giselle, one of ballet’s timeless classics, returns. Stolen moments, secret passion, and innocence betrayed – former RNZB Artistic Director Ethan Stiefel’s acclaimed production of Giselle first toured New Zealand in 2012 to sell-out audiences, returning in 2016 to great acclaim.

Performed in China, the US, UK and Italy, and turned into a feature film by director Toa Fraser, the RNZB’s Giselle has captivated audiences and wowed critics.

July closes with a powerful, innovative double bill: a new commission from Choreographer-in-Residence Loughlan Prior of The Firebird, together with Russian classic, Paquita. The Firebird, first staged in Paris in 1910, changed the direction of ballet.

The spine-tingling grandeur of Stravinsky’s iconic score, combining sinuous melodies spiked with orientalism and shimmering orchestration, created an exotic fairytale universe full of wild enchantment that was worlds away from the classics of Russian ballet.

Prior and designer Tracy Grant Lord have reimagined The Firebird for a different time: one in which the natural world is threatened, and humanity is staring into the abyss of extinction. Humanity can rise from the ashes and forge a new world.

Paquita is a dazzling romp in which the dancers’ classical technique takes centre stage. It features sparkling tutus, fleet footwork, soaring leaps, turns like spinning tops, and a finale that leaves the audience just as breathless and exhilarated as the dancers.

From 28 October to 11 December, the Ryman Healthcare Season of A Midsummer Night’s Dream will transport audiences to a fantastical world of dazzling dance, music and enchantment. Lovers, fairies and mischievous sprites conspire in Shakespeare’s classic tale.

Created for the RNZB by one of the most sought-after choreographers on the international stage, Liam Scarlett, A Midsummer Night’s Dream was an overnight sensation at its premiere, with capacity audiences on its first New Zealand tour.

From 26 February to 11 March,‘Tutus on Tour’, presented in association with Ryman Healthcare, is a chance for the RNZB to reconnect with ballet lovers all over Aotearoa. The dancers will perform an enchanting summer programme in 16 venues across the country, in some of New Zealand’s most beloved theatres.

In 2021, the RNZB’s popular mixed bill of work delivers two familiar favourites – the ‘White Swan’ pas de deux from Tchaikovsky’sSwan Lake and Jules Perrot’s Pas de Quatre– alongside two brand new ballets – Andrea Schermoly’s Within Without and Sarah Foster-Sproull’s Ultra Folly, both of which were ready to be performed in 2020’s ‘Venus Rising’ and which the RNZB couldn’t bear to leave behind.

There’s a brave, new, glorious world to enjoy with the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s 2021 season. That world is waiting for you.


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