Tour a showcase of ballet styles
The somewhat staid image of ballet will be exploded on Tuesday night when the Royal New Zealand Ballet brings its showcase to Hamilton.
In what will be the troupe's last season under Ethan Stiefel's artistic direction, Allegro: Five Short Ballets is hailed as "a powerhouse of extraordinary and diverse ballets" from some of the world's leading choreographers.
The programme is described by Stiefel as a showcase of the breadth of possible ballet styles.
"This programme features a world premiere from New Zealander Daniel Belton; two pieces from New York choreographer Larry Keigwin, who quickly became a Kiwi audience favourite after the success of his work Final Dress in 2012; a neo-classical work by one of the most celebrated choreographers of all time - George Balanchine; and a brilliant and fun piece from Johan Kobborg."
Dunedin-based choreographer and designer Belton, best known for his multi-award-winning dance films, has created a new work for the show. Renowned for his cross-pollination of art forms, dance will be integrated with kinetic sculpture, animation and electronic music in an other-worldly piece called Satellites.
The Huffington Post dubbed him "choreographer extraordinaire", and he took New Zealand audiences's breath away in 2012 with his style and vision.
Keigwin contributes two pieces to the show. Mattress Suite creates six scenes about love affairs, either on or near a mattress. It marks the first time Keigwin has allowed a company other than his own the privilege of performing his signature work. Megalopolis has been described by the New York Times as a divinely well-structured encounter between formalism and club culture.
Gillian Murphy will make her last appearance as the ballet's principal guest artist, showing off her virtuoso technique in Allegro Brillante by acclaimed choreographer Balanchine.
Kobborg, who co-choreographed the ballet's acclaimed 2012 production of Giselle with Stiefel, returns with his signature work. Les Lutins is a work for three dancers and a violinist and pianist playing live on stage.
The New Zealand development prize winner at the 2013 Michael Hill International Violin Competition, New Zealander Benjamin Baker, returns home for the tour, and Wellington-based ballet rehearsal pianist Michael Pansters makes his official RNZB debut.
"The Royal New Zealand Ballet's mixed bills have become an audience favourite and this one guarantees to impress," the ballet's managing director Amanda Skoog said.
"It's a fresh lineup with something for everyone - like a ballet sampler - and a great option for those new to ballet and keen to see its various styles, from the finest classical to the most extraordinary contemporary works".
What: The Royal New Zealand Ballet presents Allegro: Five Short Ballets
Where: Founders Theatre
When: 7.30pm, Tuesday, August 5