Introducing The Royal New Zealand Ballet

The Marlowe has a long history of bringing our audiences the best dance – whether contemporary of classical – from around the world. This year we’re delighted to be able to introduce you to New Zealand’s oldest performing arts organisation, The Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB to their friends) who will be making their Canterbury debut this November. They describe themselves as “international in outlook, but proud of being Kiwi”.

This is borne out by their company – although most of the dancers are from New Zealand, there are also company members from America, Japan, and several parts of Europe (but no Brits at the moment – although they promise us this is just coincidence and not a policy!).

The RNZB will be bringing us two very different performances, which show the breadth of which this unique company is capable. They’ll start their run here with a mixed programme of contemporary dance (titled A Passing Cloud), featuring new works, most of which have never been performed outside of New Zealand before. Their week with us ends with a well-known classical work in the form of Giselle, in a new version produced by two superstars of the ballet world – Ethan Stiefel and Johan Kobborg (formerly principal dancers of the American Ballet Theatre and the Royal Ballet respectively).

The RNZB is unusual in the dance world in having this mixed repertoire of classical and contemporary dance, both being performed by the same company.

Amanda Skoog, the company’s Managing Director tells us, “The dancers are very good at moving across from the classical to the contemporary. New Zealanders are quite physical people, and it’s a very physical company so if we only did the classics I think they would get stale.”

Touring is at the heart of what RNZB do – although they’re based in Wellington, much of their time is spent on the road, performing across New Zealand and the world. Recent international tours have taken them to China and Los Angeles, where they performed the production of Giselle which will appear at our theatre. The LA Times described their performance as having “impressive skill and vibrancy”.

Their last tour of the UK was in 2011, when The Times thought, “These beautifully disciplined Kiwis can really rock,” and The Guardian said, “The company look wide awake, sexy and charged.”

We’ll be bringing you more details of A Passing Cloud in a future blog.

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