Top ballet dancers inspire new generation

Dance Wanaka pupils (from front) Mia Culpitt, Elizabeth Pell and Isla Taylor (all 5) with Royal New Zealand Ballet senior dancers Brendan Bradshaw and Antonia Hewitt yesterday. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
Dance Wanaka pupils (from front) Mia Culpitt, Elizabeth Pell and Isla Taylor (all 5) with Royal New Zealand Ballet senior dancers Brendan Bradshaw and Antonia Hewitt yesterday. Photo by Lucy Ibbotson.
Some of Wanaka's youngest dance pupils put their best foot forward on Thursday when they performed for members of the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

While in Wanaka for the final show in the nationwide Tutus on Tour production, RNZB ballet master Martin Vedel and senior dancers Antonia Hewitt and Brendan Bradshaw took time to officially open Dance Wanaka's new studio on Cliff Wilson St.

Dozens of dancers pirouetted across the custom-built sprung floor as the RNZB trio watched. Mr Vedel said the dancers had enjoyed visits to many schools and studios like Dance Wanaka's during the tour.

''This is where it all starts. We all started in places like this, I believe.''

He congratulated the young dancers on their performance, before asking ''Where are all the boys?''

Dance Wanaka director Anna Thomas said while the studio had been operating for about 10 months, the RNZB visit was a great opportunity to have dance ''celebrities'' take part in the official opening celebrations.

The six-week Tutus on Tour marked the 60th anniversary of the RNZB.