Reviews of Graduation Season 2014

Wednesday, 19 Nov 2014 to Saturday, 29 Nov 2014

Excerpts from reviews of the New Zealand School of Dance Graduation Season in 2014.

New Zealand is the most distant of the former British Colonies: one more step and you’re over the dateline into tomorrow. NZSD has turned the situation to its advantage and chosen a distinctive training path that is turning out graduates with the technical skills, the courage and the passion that 21st-century dance demands...

...For those who hanker after the civility and friendliness of a past age, they’ll find it in Wellington and in spades at the heart-warming welcome ceremony, the Maori Powhiri, danced and sung by the staff and students. Add cutting-edge dance training  that harnesses inherent energy in pursuit of excellence and you have the essence of the New Zealand School of Dance.

Maggie Foyer, Dancing Times

Reflecting the training of their students, the excellent New Zealand School of Dance presented mix of classical and contemporary for their 2014 Graduation show. The two performances I watched (out of a run of 11 days) were energetic, extremely professional and contained some standout performances…

Gerard Davis, Dance Europe

...The evening opened with George Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco set to Bach’s “Concerto in D Minor for Two Violins”. This work asks as much of its corps of eight female dancers as it does of the two female leads, and the corps danced it admirably. Their performance showed an extraordinary accuracy of line, rhythm and style for a group of (mainly) first year students.

The leads were second year students, Law Lok Huen, who was partnered by third year’s Jack Bannerman, and Megan Wright. Wright’s fluidity, technical prowess and artistry played perfectly into the hands of the choreography and she was radiant in the third movement. Law Lok Huen worked well beside her and Bannerman partnered her gracefully through the long and difficult second movement pas de deux...

Malia Johnston’s Trigger II involved a mix of first and second year students in a contemporary work that pieces together the dancers’ own phrases in a variety of explosive and delightful crossings. They moved with confidence and joy. Their jumps and tricks exploded. Their falls dropped seamlessly revealing an ensemble of technically proficient contemporary movers...

Emma Sandall, Dance Australia

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A Crop of Great Talents

...Contemporary ballet pas de deux, 'Double Stop' follows, performed by stand-out students Samantha Vottari and Tynan Wood. It was great to see these classical majors getting the chance to loosen up their torsos in this fierce and stunning choreography by American Val Caniparoli.

Next we're treated to a relatively rare appearance of a Douglas Wright piece. 'rapt' was originally commissioned as part of the 2011 Auckland Festival and later performed in Holland. The full-length work of dance theatre has been stripped back to its pure dance sections by original cast member Craig Bary, graduate Megan Adams, and Wright himself. Here is where gesture and nuance are used effectively. The programme tells us that “the dance language…is loosely based on the Lord's Prayer as signed by the deaf”. Loosely indeed. It's far from literal, but a story is definitely told. It incorporates all the devotion, and all the madness, of a religious experience. It's fast and furious but the movement is so well executed that we seem to have all the time in the world to register and appreciate it as if it were gentle and delicate. It's one of the best performances I've seen from the contemporary students of NZSD. Get thee to ‘church' to witness it...

Jillian Davey, Theatreview

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