City technician warms to his ballet tour role

John Hodges is loving his 'glorified holiday'

GWYNETH HYNDMAN
Last updated 05:00 07/05/2013
John Hodges
NICOLE GOURLAY/Fairfax NZ

FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE OF DANCE: Invercargill theatre technician John Hodges is on tour with the Moscow Russian Ballet's production of the Nutcracker.

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An Invercargill theatre technician has been ensuring the curtain lifts on a captivating stage each night as the Moscow Ballet dancers have brought The Nutcracker to life for audiences around New Zealand and Australia this month.

The Nutcracker was performed last night at the Civic Theatre before heading north.

John Hodges, who has been working at the Civic Theatre for nine years, was asked to join the Russian company on its Australasian tour but initially refused because it was "out of his comfort zone", he said.

However, after a few weeks of "a glorified holiday" moving from one "flash" hotel to the next, fixing fake fireplaces by day and cooking kangaroo stirfry for the crew by night, he agreed that he now had an album of memories he would be bringing back to Invercargill when the tour finished.

As the company prepared for the Invercargill show last night, before heading to Oamaru, Mr Hodges took a break to talk about his tour with the company so far and showed a few of the hundred plus photos he had taken.

From a tram car parked in a pub in Tasmania, to the Anzac Day parade in Melbourne and of course, endless photos of different stages to compare with the Civic Theatre, Mr Hodges was pleased with his collection of travel pics.

He hadn't learned any Russian, he said. But he had enjoyed "clowning around" with the dancers.

While he had seen a variety of "bland venues with no character" in the last month, none compared to the Civic Theatre, he said.

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