An audience with Sir Jon Trimmer
14/10/2012 - 14/10/2012
An Audience with Sir Jon Trimmer KNZM MBE – An intimate afternoon with the legendary Sir Jon during which he relates stories and answers questions about his spectacular career spanning more than 5 decades. Be quick – this show will sell out!
A boundless passion for ballet
Truly the audience did notice.
Sir Jon Trimmer is a New Zealand icon. Tempo requested an audience with him and I felt slightly ashamed at the size of it. Where were the balletomanes? Only one fox fur… a bevy of teen ballerinas (arriving late), a sprinkle of dancing compatriots, an elderly fan, two or three older contemporary dancers and my grandson! I am so glad I thought to come to this event and respectfully aware that in such a brief re-encounter of the dancers’ work, how difficult it is to write in a way that matches the prestige of his life journey.
Sir Jon Trimmer is arguably one of the most outstanding male ballet dancers New Zealand has ever produced. He has danced with several of the world’s greats, and in a breath of informal demonstration, moves gorgeously still, with an élan evolved out of years and years of practice and performance perfection. A range of his photos, set as a backdrop against entertaining anecdotes of performance dramas show him as technically extraordinary.
His reflections on technique as something “once you lose [you] will never start up again” brings to mind the tenuous and elegant grip dancers have with their career. He describes how he still makes the daily effort of yoga and Pilates, has few injuries and retains a boundless passion for ballet in the country he calls home.
Sir Jon is most often thought of now as a character player, and though hugely admired and respected for his ongoing artistic contributions to the Royal New Zealand Ballet, it was a small Tempo audience that got to see and hear of his early performance work ‘from the horse’s mouth’, and what I regard as the central reason he became a ‘great’. His technique is born out of the Bournonville style, brought to New Zealand through then founding Artistic Director, Poul Gnatt.
I have been reading Nureyev’s biography by Julie Kavanagh, which mentions Erik Bruhn’s similar influence on Nureyev, but a quick glance at Wikipedia’s version of the guiding principles of the Bournonville method, which states that the dancer should perform with a natural grace, dramatic impact and harmony between body and music gives me pause for thought. What I first took as Sir Jon’s natural poise, lack of egotism and kindness seems to also be some of the qualities enhanced by the method.
In each anecdote, although he plays a central figure, gentle deprecations of his home-grown talent and remarkable global experience reminds me of how great people often define themselves as absent from the very moments that make them great. As much as he seems to prefer to tell us about occasions of notable hilarity (he said more than once: “Truly the audience didn’t notice”), Sir Jon Trimmer is one of those people that if you have seen him dance, you know for a fact that truly he will have been noticed.
Sir Jon – My feathery hat and a swirling bow humbly lays me at your feet!
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