Magazine article Pointe

Royal New Zealand Ballet

Magazine article Pointe

Royal New Zealand Ballet

Article excerpt

RNZB travels half the year to bring its work to fans.

Any prima donna arriving at the Royal New Zealand Ballet can check her attitude at the door. This group of dancers is an undeniably friendly bunch.

"What struck me when I first visited this company was its energy and openness," says Artistic Director Gary Harris, who came to the company full-time in 2001 after serving as a guest teacher. "It's something that is always remarked upon. They're a lovely group of people."

It's good that everyone gets along, because the company-16 men and 16 women-must work together closely. As New Zealand's only full-time ballet company, it has a huge responsibility. To please fans nationwide, RNZB embarks on a national tour for each of its four yearly shows, which translates to about 24 weeks on the road.

The company, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, performs everything from 19th-century classics to 21st-century contemporary works. Recent performances have included Christopher Hampson's Romeo and Juliet, Javier De Frutos' Milagros, Russell Kerr's Peter Pan and Mark Baldwin's lhi FrENZy.

"We're really versatile," says dancer Marysa Dalton, 22, who joined the company last year. "We have to be. We have to keep everyone happy!"

To prepare the company for such a diverse repertory, Harris brings in three to four guest teachers a year, for about six weeks each.

For Craig Lord, 29, an eight-year RNZB veteran, the highlight of his years at the company was dancing Mark Morris' Drink To Me Only With Thine Eyes, a piece originally set on American Ballet Theatre in 1988. …

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