Royal New Zealand Ballet to present digital season of ‘Ballet Bites’

By MiNDFOOD

I Deeply Know, filmed in Heather Straka's Isolation Hotel. RNZB artist Saul Newport. Photo by Ross Brown.
I Deeply Know, filmed in Heather Straka's Isolation Hotel. RNZB artist Saul Newport. Photo by Ross Brown.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet will launch its first-ever digital season this month.

Through a new RNZB Screen programme, the company is presenting 12 new works online, all of which have been created especially for the camera.

These ‘Ballet Bites’ have been crafted by and for dancers of the Royal New Zealand Ballet in collaboration with artistic colleagues from the worlds of visual arts, music and historic places.

Noelani Pantastico in Seattle Dance Collective’s ALICE (photo ©Bruno Roque)

Audiences can purchase one of three collections, each around an hour in length, or the full suite, to stream at their leisure between 12 and 29 May. 

 “The new RNZB Screen brand follows a two-year period in which our digital work has broken new ground in the arts in Aotearoa,” RNZB Artistic Director Patricia Barker says.

“While creating and converting work for the screen largely started as a response to the pandemic, it’s become something we have found to be hugely successful and for us creatively, boundary-pushing.”

The inaugural RNZB Screen Ballet Bites Festival 2022 includes:

Shorts 

Five short works by five choreographers from within the Company, including RNZB Choreographers in Residence Loughlan Prior and Shaun James Kelly. This collection includes works filmed at inspiring and unexpected locations around Pōneke and beyond. 

Shorts is a tantalising cocktail menu of perfectly crafted miniature delights, with drama, humour, romance and intrigue brought to life by the dancers you love, yet as you’ve never seen them before. 

They include:

  • I Deeply Know created by Levi Teachout and performed in Heather Straka’s Isolation Hotel at Canterbury Museum / SCAPE Public Art
  • Annaliese Macdonald’s Limirence, performed within Janna van Hasselt’s Chromaflage at Dowse Art Museum
  • Alba choreographed by Shaun James Kelly performed in the gardens of Government House, inspired by his Scottish heritage and complete with bagpipes
  • Loughlan Prior’s Ultra Violet, performed while immersed in Tiffany Singh’s Total Internal Reflection at Te Papa Toi Art
  • Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson’s new work King of the Castle – set to “Lumino City (The Official Soundtrack)” by Ed GAPS – featuring dancers Maggie Bryan, Jake Gisby and Dane Head.
I Deeply Know, filmed in Heather Straka’s Isolation Hotel. RNZB artists Saul Newport and Caulum Gray. Photo by Ross Brown.

Quartet 

Four ballets by four choreographers that the RNZB is proud to call family – loved live onstage but never seen onscreen. Re-created for the camera so you can see every step and every breath, with the strength and grace of the dancers sculpted by light and shade, music, silence and space.

RNZB alumna and Resident Choreographer at The Australian Ballet Alice Topp returns to the Royal New Zealand Ballet fold to create a new ballet, Absence of Light, especially for this feature-length programme of fabulous dance which also includes Within Without, by Andrea Schermoly, Artemis Rising by Sarah Foster-Sproull, and Berceuse by Penny Saunders. 
 
Kaleidoscope 

Artistic Director Patricia Barker has brought together international works by Loughlan Prior, Andrea Schermoly and Penny Saunders. All three choreographers revel in the possibilities of film as a medium for dance, playing with colour, perspective, animation and light, and offering audiences fresh insights into their artistry and inspiration. This collection includes Scribble by Loughlan Prior performed by Ballet X (2020), Alice by Penny Saunders performed by Seattle Dance Collective (2020), and Rite of Spring by Andrea Schermoly performed by Louisville Ballet (2021).

Tickets to Ballet Bites are on sale now at www.rnzb.org.nz. Prices range from $17 to purchase a single collection, or $35 to enjoy all three.

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