Top choreographer shares some flair with RNZB
It's the first time three of his works have been performed together and choreographer Alexander Ekman is in town putting the polish on the Royal New Zealand Ballet's newest work.
Three by Ekman opened this week and RNZB's artistic director Francesco Ventriglia said the Swedish choreographer never disappoints and "is quite simply a genius."
"This is contemporary ballet at its very best, with the most dynamic lighting and stylish staging. But above all, Alex knows how to entertain."
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Ekman travels the world to companies that are staging his ballets and he said he always creates works that he would want to see.
"The theatre is a really important space for us to become present again and to forget our problems and the everyday stuff that goes on. I like to involve the audience, ask them questions so they have a role. My goal is always to create presence for the audience."
Choreographer and dancer Ana Maria Lucaciu has been working with the dancers prior to Ekman's arrival in New Zealand and Ekman said his job is to make sure the communication within the dance clear.
"It's always a fight with making art against comfortableness, because people love to be comfortable, but that's not what we want to see. It's scary to venture into unknown territory so I always just remind dancers why we do this. I tell them I am not being tough to be annoying, I just know what it can be. We love to be remarkable and see remarkable things – we just need reminding.
Ekman has choreographed more than 40 contemporary ballet works and is known for his use of rhythm and energy. He said he wants to create joy.
"I'm truly addicted to the audience reactions. When you are sitting there and you hear 2000 people laughing together and when the audience becomes one. Those true moments of magic and joy."
After his time with the RNZB, Ekman will return to Sweden to create a new work for the dancers of the Paris Opera Ballet. He said he would also like to create his own company in the future.
"I really want to study what the best circumstances are for creation. 'What does the room look like? How should we be together?' I want to know the dancers really well, because if I know what they are good at, I can create really fast."
Three by Ekman runs until May 20 at the Wellington's St James Theatre, before it heads to Auckland, Napier, Christchurch and Dunedin. For more information, see rnzb.org.nz