Concern at NZ Ballet's schedule

Bronwyn Judge
Bronwyn Judge
Fears are growing that a rescheduling of the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) performances this year could leave an Oamaru community organisation out of pocket, risking its ability to bring future ballet performances to the town.

The RNZB usually performs every two years in Oamaru, but Oamaru Whitestone Community Arts Council spokeswoman Bronwyn Judge said because those performances were paid for in advance by the community arts council, any profit or loss made by the performance affected its ability to put money back into the local arts community.

''What we do is underwrite them before the event, so for the past several years that's what we have done, and of course it gets more expensive every year.''

Mrs Judge said past performances had returned ''a small profit'' to the arts council, and that profit was used to fund future performances by the ballet troupe.

However, she said the arts council was becoming concerned that this year's performance had come at an ''unfortunate time''.

The RNZB usually performed in February, but this year, it would come on November 28. The performance would have to compete for seats with a number of other high-profile ballet acts which would also perform in Oamaru within a short space of time.

''The New Zealand Ballet have had a reorganisation and a new director. They have just finished Swan Lake and thought now would be a good time to come through with Tutus on Tour.''

The arts council had needed to underwrite the performance before the ballet agreed to perform in the town, and although the NZ Ballet had since told the arts council that it would return to a February date in the future, the arts council had spent ''a large amount'' of money on this year's event.

If the performance ran at a loss, it would be unlikely that the arts council could underwrite future performances, she said.

Children from the Anne Harris School of Dance would be out drumming up support for the RNZB at the opening of the Friendly Bay Playground in Oamaru on Friday afternoon, and instructor Victoria Cooper said it was ''really, really important'' that the performances continued to come to Oamaru.

''It gives these girls something to look up to see and see where they are shooting for.

''Usually, they also give classes, which is very helpful. I remember learning a move from the Royal New Zealand Ballet, and I was then able to spot it in the performance.''

The RNZB Tower Tutus on Tour performance takes place at the Oamaru Opera House, less than a week after the Imperial Russian Ballet Company performs at the same venue.

The Oamaru Opera House was yesterday unable to provide details of ticket sales for either ballet company, due to privacy issues.



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