January 24, 2014

Royal New Zealand Ballet tours US – first time in 21 years 

On 31 Jan the Royal New Zealand Ballet will be opening its critically acclaimed ballet Giselle in Los Angeles at the prestigious Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the LA Music Center where the Academy Awards were held until the late 1990s.  

The four centre tour, which will see the company also perform in Santa Barbara, Minneapolis and New York is the company’s first tour to the United States of America in 21 years.  It is also a homecoming for Ethan Stiefel, the RNZB’s Artistic Director who spent much of his career in New York as a world -renowned Principal Dancer with the American Ballet Theatre.  

“I am so pleased that the company has been invited to perform in the US,” says Ethan Stiefel, “I look forward to returning to my homeland as the Artistic Director of the RNZB and having the opportunity to remain connected with American audiences in this different capacity.”

The company will perform Giselle, the acclaimed 2012 production by Ethan Stiefel and Johan Kobborg, which was also adapted by New Zealand film director Toa Fraser into a feature film that recently screened at the New Zealand International Film Festival and at the 2013 Toronto and Vancouver International Film Festivals. In LA and Santa Barbara, American ballerina and RNZB Principal Guest Artist Gillian Murphy will be making her American debut as Giselle with the RNZB.

“There is much anticipation in the US for the RNZB’s visit and several performances in New York are already booked out” says RNZB Managing Director Amanda Skoog. “Being invited to perform at these prestigious venues, as part of their seasons, is a testament to the abilities, talents and reputation of our ballet company. We are very proud to be representing the creative talents of New Zealand on the international stage.”

Works by Christchurch born choreographer Andrews Simmons (Of Days and Through to You) will be making their international debut, alongside famed choreographers Benjamin Millepied’s 28 Variations on a Theme of Paganini and Javier de Frutos’ stunning Banderillero, in Minneapolis and New York.  The virtuoso pas de deux from Ethan’s Stiefel’s Bier Halle will also be performed as part of the mixed bill in Minneapolis.

“In building the programming for America, I wanted to showcase the RNZB’s dancers’ immense creativity and diversity. The works that I have chosen for this tour allow the dancers the chance to display these beautiful qualities” says Ethan Stiefel.

The company will end its tour in New York where Dunedin-based fashion designer Tamsin Cooper will join the tour to launch her clothing and accessory range to the US market.

The dancers will be back in our Wellington based studios on 5 March to begin rehearsals for Coppélia which opens in Wellington on 17 April and tours nationally until 31 May.


Los Angeles:           31 January – 2 February, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion – LA Music Center

Giselle. Choreography by Ethan Stiefel and Johan Kobborg

Santa Barbara: 5 February, Granada Theatre, University of California

Giselle. Choreography by Ethan Stiefel and Johan Kobborg

Minneapolis: 8 February, Northrop Auditorium

Mixed Bill:   

28 Variations on a Theme by Paganini. Choreography by Benjamin Millepied

Through to You Choreographyby Andrew Simmons

          Banderillero Choreography by Javier De Frutos

          Bier Halle pas de deux Choreography by Ethan Stiefel

New York:    12 – 16 February. The Joyce Theater

Mixed Bill:   

28 Variations on a Theme by Paganini. Choreography by Benjamin Millepied

Of Days Choreographyby Andrew Simmons

          Banderillero Choreography by Javier De Frutos


Coppélia       17 April – 31 May

Touring to Wellington, Palmerston North, Invercargill, Dunedin, Napier, Rotorua, Takapuna and Auckland City

          Choreography: after Marius Petipa, Music: Léo Delibes

Allegro: Five Short Ballets

30 July – 23 August

Touring to Auckland City, Hamilton, Napier, Palmerston North, Wellington, Invercargill and Dunedin

          Allegro Brillante: Choreography: George Balanchine, Music: Tchaikovsky

          Les Lutins (‘The Goblins’): Choreography: Johan Kobborg, Music: Bazzini, Wieniawski-Kreisler

          Satellites (world premiere): Choreography: Daniel Belton, Music: Jan-Bas Bollen
Mattress Suite: Choreography: Larry Keigwin, Music: Stevie Wonder, Bill Withers, Giuseppe Verdi and Etta James

          Megalopolis: Choreography: Larry Keigwin, Music: Steve Reich and MIA

The Vodafone Season of A Christmas Carol

30 October – 14 December

Touring to Wellington, Dunedin, Christchurch, Palmerston North, Napier, Auckland City and Takapuna

          Director:  Christopher Gable, Choreography: Massimo Moricone, Music: Carl Davis

The Royal New Zealand Ballet

The Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) was founded in 1953 by Danish dancer Poul Gnatt, as a touring professional ballet company for all New Zealanders. Now based at Wellington’s St James Theatre, the Royal New Zealand Ballet is an intrinsic part of New Zealand’s national heritage, and has the largest following of all New Zealand performing arts companies. The Royal New Zealand Ballet continues to invest in live music, performing with Orchestra Wellington, the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, the Southern Sinfonia for both Coppélia and The Vodafone Season of A Christmas Carol and the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra for The Vodafone Season of A Christmas Carol. Live music will also feature in Allegro: Five Short Ballets, with Johan Kobborg’s Les Lutins incorporating a live pianist and violinist onstage.

The RNZB enjoys a reputation for strong and unique interpretations of full-length dramatic works. To this base have been added many masterworks and major ballets of the 20th century, such as Balanchine’s works and the Stravinsky ballets. The company has an enviable track record in commissioning new works from New Zealand and international choreographers. The RNZB regularly represents New Zealand on the international stage, with recent tours to the UK, Australia and China. 

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