Exciting divergence by new director

Penny Neilson
Penny Neilson
The first mixed bill from new  RNZB  artistic director Patricia Baker comprises  four ballets — three choreographers and one composer — the latter being the connecting element, writes Penny Neilson.

An exciting divergence in terms of content for the company, Dancing With Mozart allows the dancers to perform an eclectic mix of pieces from exquisitely classical to contemporary with a world premiere thrown in.

The first piece, Divertimento No 15, from the legendary George Balanchine, is a work that is technically demanding choreographically.

The staging for this sees the dancers in front of a blue backdrop and under gorgeous chandeliers, costuming is delightfully beautiful, but the overall feeling created is a sense of coldness.

Guest artists Nadia Yanowsky and Veronika Part join the company for this work and  are standouts. 

New Zealand-born Corey Baker expands on his The First Dance with Madeline Graham, a short, yet epic work  filmed and performed on the Antarctic, The Last Dance recaptures the vastness and beauty from The First Dance and explores the devastating impact humanity and climate change have  had on the purest continent in the world.

As a ballet it is set to a reworking of Mozart’s Requiem by sound artist Duncan Grimley for this world premiere season.

The second half of this programme is a pair of works from Czech choreographer Jiri Kylian’s Black and White Ballet series.

Petite Mort is wondrous display of physicality, sexuality and vulnerability and is a celebration of the human form. Simple and unobstructed costuming from Joke Visser emphasised the dancers’ bodies,  allowing them the freedom to create somewhat architectural forms.

All six partnerships were perfectly cast. Katherine Minor and Fabio Lo Giudice were stunning to watch as were Mayu Tanigaito and Felipe Domingos.

Sechs Tanze concluded the evening in a fun, frenzied and slightly deranged way — a way Mozart himself would have approved of.

If this season is where the RNZB is heading, then I cannot wait to see what is next. 


Dancing With Mozart — Royal New Zealand Ballet

Regent Theatre, Saturday, June 16

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