DINNER BEFORE DANCE
The Riddiford cafe is offering a special pre-show menu for those coming to NZSD Graduation Season.
Thai beef salad, chicken quesadilla, and a grilled vegetable and haloumi tart are some of the tempting items on the pre-show express dinner menu being offerred by The Riddiford cafe to coincide with NZSD Graduation Season.
Formerly known as the Recovery Room, The Riddiford is only three minutes walk from Te Whaea and an ideal place to stop for dinner and a glass of wine before coming to a performance at the New Zealand School of Dance.
Download the menu (pdf)
Camille Erskine (Kafka), who studied as a classical major at the NZSD from 2000 - 2002, has been dancing in ballet companies in Europe
"I can't believe it has been 10 years since I was at NZSD! How time flies. Maybe I should fill you in on what I have been up to this past decade.
After graduating, I travelled to Europe to pursue my goal of joining a European classical ballet company. I successfully auditioned in 2003 for the Národní Divadlo Balet Praha (Czech National Ballet). I had an amazing time living in Prague, and met my husband Radim Kafka (Czech) who was also a dancer in the Company. My connections from NZSD served me well, in my first season Christopher Hampson came to choreograph a new Giselle on the Company and I was picked as first cast for each role. Then I was chosen to perform in Balanchine's Who Cares? which Vicky Simon had staged. We performed so many great ballets it's hard to say which ones were my favourites, but I have a soft spot for Cranko's Onegin. It has to be one of the greatest ballets of all time. We also toured to Finland, Greece, Austria, Slovakia and Poland.
After seven years with the Company, we thought it was time for a change so we moved to Brno (the second biggest city in the Czech Republic) and we joined the National Theatre Ballet of Brno where we are now in our third season. We are very happy here and the repertoire and ballet company is fantastic. I have been given many great opportunities and mostly I dance demi-soloist or soloist roles. We have toured to Denmark, Slovakia and Italy and in March will tour to Germany. I have also been studying Arts/Law externally at an Australian university part-time for the past few years.
It is great to see that the School retains such a high reputation and it is interesting for me to follow the career paths of many of its graduates."
Photo: Graduate Camille Erskine (Kafka) standing outside Brno's Mahen Theatre, where the first ever production of Prokofiev's 'Romeo and Juliet' was presented
A number of New Zealand School of Dance students have seconded to contemporary dance companies in Australasia this year.
Eight have had placements with Sydney Dance Company (joining the four recent NZSD graduates dancing full-time with the company), five with Expressions, two with the New Zealand Dance Company. Others have spent time with Java, Southern Lights, Australian Dance Theatre, Tasdance and Dancenorth. Matte Roffe (pictured) completed a secondment with Australian Dance Theatre and was subsequently offered a contract to dance with the company after he graduates.
Third year student Luis Piva is currently on tour with the Royal New Zealand Ballet dancing in Christopher Hampson's production of Cinderella. Oscar Hoelscher and Mitchell Powell will be joining West Australian Ballet on secondment for their new production of Pinocchio, which stars NZSD graduate André Santos in the title role. We have welcomed visiting students from Italy, Canada, Hong Kong and Singapore to the school this term including Law Lok Huen, Tirion, who won the top award at the Asian Grand Prix ballet competition in Hong Kong in August. The New Zealand School of Dance 1st year class is currently preparing to perform in the World of Wearable Arts show, which also incorporates several NZSD graduates as dancers and choreographers.
Nine graduates of the school featured in the Australian Ballet’s Let’s Dance showcase of leading Australian companies. Other graduates choreographed and performed in the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Leaps & Sounds show. 2008 student Harrison James Wynn performed for the last time with Royal Winnipeg Ballet at Jacob’s Pillow before travelling to Switzerland in August to take up a contract with Béjart Ballet Lausanne. 2010 graduate Jemila Durham has secured a contract with the Moulin Rouge in Paris. She will be dancing alongside fellow NZSD graduates Dana Matthews and David Tandy, now Cabaret Soloists with Moulin Rouge. Chua Bi Ru and Jason Carter will be promoted to level 1 positions with Singapore Dance Theatre in September. NZSD graduates Shona McCullagh, Ursula Robb, Sarah Foster-Sproull and Craig Bary played pivotal roles in the New Zealand Dance Company’s launch season, with Shona and Sarah choreographing works on the programme. 2003 graduate Yu Hui performed in Francois Klaus’ Don Quixote for Queensland Ballet this year, listing the experience as one of his repertoire highlights.
Photo: New Zealand School of Dance student Matte Roffe. Photographed by Stephen A'Court.
STUDENTS RECEIVE US SCHOLARSHIPS
Three ballet dancers studying at the New Zealand School of Dance have received prestigious scholarships to some of America’s foremost dance institutions.
Ruth Austin, Cauê Frias and Christopher Gerty, all eighteen years-old, have spent the northern hemisphere summer dancing at the School at Jacob’s Pillow (Massachusetts), Houston Ballet Academy and San Francisco Ballet School respectively.
Recipients of similar scholarships in the past include former New Zealand School of Dance student James Wynn. Like Christopher Gerty, James also concluded his studies at San Francisco Ballet School before gaining a contract with Canada’s Royal Winnipeg Ballet, where he became a soloist.
The New Zealand School of Dance has long-standing relationships with all three US institutions. The scholarships, which comprise generous provision for both tuition and accommodation, are an endorsement of their training and the talent these young dancers ably demonstrate.
Photo: New Zealand School of Dance students Ruth Austin, Cauê Frias and Christopher Gerty. Photographed by Stephen A'Court.
Ruth Austin, after attending The School at Jacob's Pillow Ballet Program
"I just thought I would let you know that I very much enjoyed my time at Jacob's Pillow and have come away very inspired after having learnt so much. The gala performance went very well, Michael Corder's piece finally came together after some very long rehearsals and we had lots of good feedback from everyone. The second performance also went well. It was on the outdoor stage, which was beautiful and I was fortunate enough to open the show in a duet from La Bayadere as well as performing a solo from Le Corsaire with two other girls. It was also exciting to be chosen for the Pillow photo shoot to advertise next year's ballet program!
I got some good feedback from Anna-Marie at the end of the program. She recommended some ballet companies in the US and Canada that I could audition for in the future and she also said that she'd be happy to recommend me to a few of their directors.
I just wanted to say thanks again for setting up this wonderful opportunity; I had such an awesome time and learnt so much. I hope all is well in Wellington and I will see you next term.
The New Zealand School of Dance was invited to send students to perform in New Caledonia and Tahiti this term. Jesse Scales and Jason Carter travelled to Tahiti in early December where they performed the pas de deux from Swan Lake and a contemporary work by Garry Trinder as guest artists in the 3e Rencontre Internationale de Danse.
NZSD graduates Jana Castillo and Robbie Curtis have been touring the UK in Shaun Parker’s Happy as Larry, which included a sell-out season at Sadler’s Wells. Next year Robbie will be guest dancer with The Australian Ballet as one of three contemporary dancers in a new work by Gideon Obarzarnek.
2002 graduate Craig Davidson, is in Paris this month with the Royal Ballet of Flanders performing in a 3 week season of Artifact and Impressing the Czar by William Forsythe. He says "all performances have been sold out since April and we have had people standing out the front of the theatre with signs in hope of getting tickets". Next Craig heads to Venice with the company for 5 shows of Sleeping Beauty.
2011 NZSD students Dylan Mitchell and Emma White are also on the road performing in Sleeping Beauty, with the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB). Meanwhile Antonia Hewitt, RNZB company member and NZSD graduate, has ranked 20th on Dance Europe’s list of the Top One Hundred Dancers of the 2011/12 Season.
Sarah Knox, who graduated from the New Zealand School of Dance in 2000, has gone on to complete a Post-Graduate Diploma in Dance Studies at the University of Auckland. She has been awarded a Summer Scholarship from the University and will use this to travel to Japan to undertake choreographic research for a month over Dec-Jan.
Four second year students are currently in Toronto on an exchange with Canada's National Ballet School, one of the New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) Partner Schools. They will return in January 2012 to resume full-time training at the NZSD.
2008 graduate Kase Craig is dancing with the Ballet de l'Opera National de Bordeaux. He is currently performing in The Nutcracker (Casse-Noisette in French), which opened in the Grand Théâtre de Bordeaux on 13 December before embarking on a tour to China.
New Zealand School of Dance classical tutor Edmund Stripe has returned to Canada in December for the opening of his production of The Nutcracker for Alberta Ballet. Edmund and his wife Janet Tait, who also teaches at the NZSD, also found time to tutor and judge at the Cecchetti Summer School in South Africa this month.
Java Dance Company was commissioned by BATS Theatre to create a new work for its prestigious annual STAB season in November. Rise, choreographed by the company's director and New Zealand School of Dance graduate Sacha Copland, was performed by NZSD graduates Natalie Hona, Alana Sargent and Will Barling with international guest artists Anne Brashier and Brian Grannan.
Photo: NZSD students Tarrah Burns and Dane Holland, who danced the 'Pas de Deux Romantique' in New Caledonia recently. Photographed by Stephen A'Court.
Sharni Spencer, who graduated from the New Zealand School of Dance in 2007 and now dances with The Australian Ballet.
"Just sending a quick message to say hello and to share some good news with you. We have just finished our yearly appraisal meetings. I came out of mine particularly happy, and a little dazed with a Coryphée contract to sign for next year! I'm looking forward to starting the new year feeling positive and motivated. It will be a big year, being the 50th Anniversary, with a lot of touring all over Australia and an exciting trip to New York. We have already started working on Stephen Baynes' new Swan Lake. I can't wait! I have loved dancing some of Stephen's work and will be able to add a third Swan Lake to my repertoire.
After we finish off the season in Sydney this year, I'm heading to Adelaide briefly with Calvin Hannaford to perform The Nutcracker with The Adelaide Classical Youth Ballet. It will be a great opportunity to rehearse and perform a challenging role. Was chatting with Ingrid last week and we were saying how great our school experiences were. Being able to learn some amazing repertoire and work with great tutors and guest teachers.
I applied for a scholarship that is offered to all staff and dancers at The Australian Ballet to enhance professional development. So will be heading to Europe for three weeks over my christmas break to visit many different companies, taking class and seeing as many shows as I can cram into the three weeks.
Sharni Spencer and Pedro Cassiano, as NZSD students in 2007, photographed by Stephen A'Court.
12 students from the New Zealand School of Dance are performing with Black Grace in their season of ‘Verse 2’ which opened in Wellington on 12 September.
Black Grace rehearsal directors Zoe Watkins and Sean McDonald (both NZSD graduates) have spent time based at the School teaching Neil Ieremia’s dramatic choreography to the students. They are two of four members of the Black Grace company, and dancing in 'Verse 2', who are graduates of the NZSD.
Another show combining New Zealand School of Dance graduates and current students is Footnote Dance's 'Made in New Zealand'. Third year contemporary student Carl Tolentino will be performing alongside the five NZSD graduates in the company. And one of the works for Footnote's show is choreographed by NZSD tutor Victoria Colombus, herself a graduate of the School.
In September, classical students Emma White, Mitchell Powell and Dylan Waddell will be on secondment with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, performing in 'Sleeping Beauty'. We are looking forward to strengthening the close and supportive working relationship that the School and the RNZB enjoy with new Artistic Director Ethan Stiefel.
Three third year students will perform in 'Dancing in the Street' with Java Dance Company as part of the Rugby World Cup celebrations. Java is composed entirely of NZSD graduates including company director Sacha Copland.
Contemporary student Andrew Miller will be rehearsing with Southern Lights Dance Company in Christchurch during September and will perform with the company in both the Body Festival in Christchurch and Tempo dance festival in Auckland. Also in Tempo will be ten of our third year contemporary students, featuring in a number of different shows during the festival. This will be the final festival directed by Mary Jane O'Reilly, founder of the legendary New Zealand dance company 'Limbs' and a graduate of the NZSD.
Brother and sister Merenia and Tanemahuta Grey, both graduates of the School, are curating Kowhiti Dance 2011. These performances, 15 – 17 September in Wellington, feature work by Maori and Pacific Island choreographers and Nikosinathi’s Cultural Dance Group from South Africa.
Merenia Grey is also one of the forces behind 'Raising the Barre', providing dance classes for the professional dance community in Wellington.
NZSD STUDENTS & GRADUATES
Anna Ishii, who graduated from the NZSD in 2010, danced the principal role of Cinderella with West Australian Ballet in May 2011.
Photo: Sergey Pevnev
Contemporary students Jonathan Selvadurai, Daniel McCarroll, Levi Cameron and Kimiora Grey danced in Nga Hau e Wha while on secondment to Okareka Dance Company in June 2011. The work was choreographed by highly regarded choreographers and NZSD graduates Taiaroa Royal, Taane Mete and Ross McCormack.
Three NZSD students made the finals of the Alana Haines Australasian Awards held in Auckland Easter 2011 - Emma White, Cauê Frias and Junior Associate Jana Baldovino.
1996 graduate Pieter Symonds has won the prestigious 2010 Critics Circle Award in the UK where she has been dancing with Rambert Dance Company for seven years.
Contemporary students Michael Gudgeon and Josie Archer have been awarded scholarships by the Christchurch Dance Education Bursary Trust in 2011.
Third year contemporary students choreographed their own works for the NZSD Choreographic Season in May 2011. The show Sketch showed the strength of the current crop of students and received great reviews.
Ginny Gan has returned to New Zealand to join the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Since graduating from the NZSD in 2007 Ginny has danced with Singapore Dance Theatre and La La La Human Steps.
2nd year classical student Jesse Scales has garnered a full scholarship to attend the Nederlands Dans Theatre summer intensive in The Hague.
Classical students Jessica Naunton and Chris Gerty, spent four weeks in Toronto in February 2011 as guests of Canada's National Ballet School. Writing about their experience "We were able to see company rehearsals and classes which helps prepare us for working in a company based situation whilst also showing us the level and standard we need to achieve in order to have a successful career".
2004 graduate Anita Hunziker performed and choreographed for Opera/Fabula’s production of Kurt Weill and Bert Brecht’s dance-opera The Seven Deadly Sins in Wellington this year.
Six NZSD classical students danced with the Royal New Zealand Ballet in Petrouchka for their season of Stravnisky Selection, May/June 2011.
Florian Teatiu, who graduated from the NZSD in 2009, is working with acclaimed director Nina Nawalowalo on her new work Masi.
Asuka Tsuchida laureate of the Dance Europe Outstanding Artistry Award at the Youth America Grand Prix won a scholarship to come to the New Zealand School of Dance in June 2011.
Contemporary graduates Michelle Henderson, Zoe Watkins, Sarah Baron and Sean McDonald performed in Black Grace Dance Company's tour of Verses, April/May 2011.
Four NZSD graduates toured mid 2011 to London and Antwerp as members of Footnote Dance Company and several others with the Royal New Zealand Ballet as they performed in the UK and France.
Third year contemporary student Yan Hao Du will be performing in a dance work at Edinburgh Zoo during the 2011 Edinburgh Festival in August.
Contemporary dance graduate Jana Castillo, auditioning for dance companies in New York.
"Just thought I would give you an update on my adventures in New York. I have been here over a month now and have seen shows ranging from ABT and NCB to Streb - the most physical company I have ever seen, the girls look like swimmers!
I have been doing as many auditions as I can get into. All I can say to NZSD dancers is make sure you have the basics in your body and know how to perform even the very simple movements... Complexions did 3 exercises on pointe. At Paul Taylor it started with walking and one exercise before he made the first cut. As the rounds went on it became more complicated, I made it from 400 girls to 35. Parsons was plies and rises, endless contractions, double attitude tours ending in forced arches and did I mention contractions? Parsons was 250 women and I made it down to the last round. I have even done Legally Blonde auditions where I made it from 400 girls down to 10!
The common issue that I encounter is that due to the current economic situation companies just don't have enough funds to support international dancers. In some cases you are not even able to audition if you don't hold a green card. I have had fantastic feedback from choreographers but it all ends in “it is such a shame you don't have a green card otherwise I would hire you”. I have been informed about the possibility to apply for an artist visa, so am working on that but as you know these things can take time.
On a lighter side NY is fantastic at holding week long workshops, which provides an opportunity to get to know different choreographers. Stephen Petronio choreography is amazing to dance and his dancers are stunning. I have found myself ushering for the Joyce which is a great way to see shows for free. I have also been doing classes with Mark Morris and next week am starting an intensive with Trisha Brown.
I am really loving being in New York it is an amazing city and I am learning so much. Thinking of you all.
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