KYLIÁN: New Zealand School of Dance Graduation Season, Programme 1

Te Whaea National Dance and Drama Centre, 11 Hutchison Rd, Newtown, Wellington

17/11/2010 - 04/12/2010

Production Details

NZSD Graduation Season 2010

17 Nov – 04 Dec 2010
Te Whaea Theatre, 11 Hutchison Road, Wellington 

The NZSD Graduation Season is a celebration of stunning dance performed by our freshest dance talent – students of the New Zealand School of Dance. This year’s season is made up of two programmes presented on alternate nights.

Programme 1: KYLIAN 
Four seamless and emotive works by Jiri Kylian, one of the world’s greatest living choreographers. Sponsored by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, this performance affords audiences a rare opportunity to see these masterful works in New Zealand.

Dates for Graduation Season 2010

Kylian (programme 1) and Kiwi (programme 2) will be performed on alternate nights. The Sunday performances are matinees and there are no performances on Mondays.

Wed 17 Nov, 7.30pm – Kylian
Thurs 18 Nov, 7.30pm– Kiwi
Fri 19 Nov, 7.30pm– Kylian
Sat 20 Nov, 7.30pm– Kiwi
Sun 21 Nov, 2pm – Kylian

Tues 23 Nov, 7.30pm– Kylian
Wed 24 Nov, 7.30pm– Kiwi
Thurs 25 Nov, 7.30pm– Kylian
Fri 26 Nov, 7.30pm– Kiwi
Sat 27 Nov, 7.30pm– Kylian
Sun 28 Nov, 2pm – Kiwi

Tues 30 Nov, 7.30pm– Kylian
Wed 1 Dec, 7.30pm– Kiwi
Thurs 2 Dec, 7.30pm– Kylian
Fri 3 Dec, 7.30pm– Kiwi
Sat 4 Dec, 7.30pm– Kylian

Ticket prices 
$26 Adult (or $44 for both programmes)
$21 Students or Seniors (or $34 for both programmes)
$16 Child under 12 (or $24 for both programmes)

KYLIAN + KIWI – Receive a discount by buying tickets for both shows

For assistance with bookings phone 04 381 9250 or email 

The New Zealand School of Dance thanks the sponsors and supporters who have contributed to NZSD Graduation Season 2010 

Performance Casting

Wednesday 17 November at 7.30pm
Te Whaea Theatre, Wellington

Extracts from
Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer)

Stephanie Blumer and Gareth Okan
Jessica Rogerson and           Daniel McCarroll
Yvette Sauvage and John Murray

Evening Songs
Jesse Scales and Jason Carter
Elizabeth Clarke, Eloise Golledge, Ben Obst, Travis Robertson 

Un Ballo
Victoria Bennett and Gareth Okan
Stephanie Blumer and Daniel McCarroll
Rebekha Duncan and John Murray
Olivia McGregor and Dane Holland
Yvette Sauvage and Jonathan Selvadurai


Rebekha Duncan, Helio Lima, Du Yan Hao, Alice McCann, Olivia McGregor, Gareth Okan, Matthew Roffe

Dancing with integrity, flair and artistry

Review by Jan Bolwell 24th Nov 2010

As I was sitting next to repetiteur Arlette van Boven, during a rehearsal of Jiri Kylián’s Evening Songs, she wondered aloud whether or not the students understood what they were being given. The gift, coinciding with the official farewell of Jiri Kylián from the 50-year-old Nederlands Dans Company, is a considerable one: an evening length programme of Kylián works.

Director Garry Trinder is to be congratulated for bringing this programme to the stage with his students. In the past Kylián choreographies have appeared in the school’s graduation season alongside a variety of other classical and contemporary works. Here at last is an opportunity for the audience to immerse themselves in the aesthetic of one of the world’s finest dance makers.

One of the most striking aspects of Kylián’s work is its subtlety and refinement. It is not without emotional content, but this is expressed in a unique and spare manner through the body rather than the face. The relationship between a man and a woman is signalled through an intriguing and inventive gestural language as arms intertwine back and forward, a head is placed gently on a hand, a man’s hand explores and gently caresses a woman’s arm and neck.

It is a challenge for the students to transmit appropriate emotion in a momentary look into the eyes of a partner, or a lowering of the head or a gaze that goes beyond into infinity. A surging run around the stage is brought to a sudden halt, as if the dancer, balancing on one leg, is caught in a freeze frame. The raised foot suddenly flexes, the body jerks forward twice and then returns to stillness. The dancers stand in line, break into canon, then unison, out of which they explode into the space, only to return moments later to a quiet interconnectedness.

Kylián does not use the physicality of dance as a blunt instrument, but rather as a means to draw you into the deeper meaning of what he is trying to convey: “Our task as choreographers is to search the extremities of our souls.”

Nowhere was this more evident than in Songs of a Wayfarer to Gustav Mahler’s romantic songs Lieder Eines Fahrenden Gesellen. Expertly staged by Arlette van Boven, this series of male / female duets reveals Kylián’s musicality and skill in devising fluid partnering choreography, aided by sophisticated lighting and costume design.

Partnering is again on display in Un Ballo to Ravel’s le Tombeau de Couperin and Pavane pour une infante défunte, a work first performed by the New Zealand School of Dance in 2008. Described as “an exercise in musicality and sensitivity between male and female partners”, Un Ballo is an ideal vehicle for young dancers honing their craft. Lifts, tricky balances, changing dynamics all provide technical challenges while at the same time the dancers must respond lyrically to the music.

Kylián has a marvellous way of using the women’s dresses as a sculptural extension of their bodies (a strategy seen also in Evening Songs), and this is seen to stunning effect in Un Ballo as the women balance on the horizontal bodies of their partners, raising their dresses as if they are shields.

It is clever programming to end with Stoolgame, an early Kylián work created in 1974 and staged beautifully for the School of Dance by Ken Ossola. This is Kylián’s response to some of the brutal history of his homeland, Czechoslovakia, to a score by Arne Nordheim who witnessed the amassing of Soviet troops along the Polish- Czechoslovakian border in 1968 as they prepared to crush the ‘Prague Spring’ movement.

Kylián uses children’s stools to structure a game that turns deadly as the one is victimised and killed by the many, because he stood by his own beliefs. It is a dense, sobering work full of metaphorical allusions whose menacing power is heightened by the percussive sound of the stools striking the ground and the sparse sound score by Nordheim.

The students manage to convey the power in the choreography, and in this, as with the other Kylián works on the programme, you have a feeling of complete confidence in their ability to present the dances with integrity, flair and artistry.

I think Arlette van Boven (and her colleague Ken Ossola) can rest easy in the knowledge that this year’s crop of students has gained immeasurably from the experience of dancing Kylián.
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


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Revelling in Kylian works

Review by Jennifer Shennan 22nd Nov 2010

This enterprising NZSD Graduation season offers two different programmes across alternate performances. Kiwi has five works by New Zealand choreographers, both new and re-staged pieces. By contrast, Kylian has four works from nearly four decades by European master choreographer, Jiri Kylian. in a superb and beautifully danced programme that deserves an accolade.

Kylian gives us a delicious and rare evening of short dance works with anchor to a single and coherent choreographic aesthetic. That is a most welcome contrast to the climate of choreographic novelty that has been favoured for far too long by arts funding here.

In extracts from Songs of a Wayfarer, Kylian matches six dancers to the melancholic beauty of Mahler’s music. Evening Songs is a serene work, set to Dvorak, styled in layers of movement and with musical canon that bring a timeless clarity and freshness. Un Ballo, to Ravel, is a finely honed study also contrasting male and female movement qualities.

The final work, Stoolgame, sets Polish-Czechoslovakian 20th century struggles in the furtive twilight of Resistance, ambiguities of trust and betrayal, bullying and brute force. ( Kylian’s powerful Soldatenmis, to Hindemith, was performed here a decade ago by Royal New Zealand Ballet, and is the masterwork of this politically charged genre of dance.)

[For Jennifer’s review of the Kiwi programme, click here.] 
For more production details, click on the title above. Go to Home page to see other Reviews, recent Comments and Forum postings (under Chat Back), and News. 


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Rising to the challenge

Review by Jenny Stevenson 18th Nov 2010

In a bold stroke, New Zealand School of Dance Director Garry Trinder has dispensed with the traditional and is presenting a season of purely neo-classical works by the extraordinary Czech choreographer Ji Kylián, for the School’s graduating classical ballet students. 

Replacing pointe shoes with soft ballet slippers, the young dancers use their highly polished technical skills to interpret the works of the master choreographer with full commitment, giving an intelligent and confident performance.

The works are a Master Class in the art of choreography, with a selection of four of Kylián’s works showing the breadth of his oeuvre which encompasses thirty-five years of dance making for the Nederlands Dans Theatre. During his time he was both Artistic Director and Resident Choreographer for the company. 

It is no small measure of success for the New Zealand School of Dance that two of Kylián’s repetiteurs, Arlette van Boven and Ken Ossola, agreed to set the works on the young dancers. Assisted by the Netherlands Embassy, the pair spent over a month coaching the dancers to bring them to the point of being able to stylistically perform the works.

The choreography demands a definition of classical line, an inherent musicality and the ability to cross-over into contemporary mode – encompassing its contractions, isolations and floor work – while maintaining the balance, port-de-bras and extensions of the classic ballet genre. A tall order for the young dancers, which they have nevertheless embraced with enthusiasm.

Of the four works presented, one of Kylián’s early choreographies, Stoolgame, first performed in 1974, resonates strongly in a dramatic story of the persecution of an outcast.   Graduating student Helio Lima gives a superb performance as the man who is victimised for his beliefs, with its overtones of the sufferings of Jesus Christ. His nemesis, the persecutor is strongly portrayed by Du Yan Hao, with a gritty power-play being enacted between the pair.

Rebekha Duncan is eloquent as the woman who intercedes for the victim but is gradually worn down in a superb piece of choreography where she is kicked repeatedly behind the knees, causing her to buckle. The onlookers in the game of intimidation are beautifully danced by Alice McCann, Olivia McGregor, Gareth Okan and Matthew Roffe, with one memorable moment seeing the four balanced in an overlapping four-way arch of support that seals their complicity in the torment.

The use of silence and the rhythmical banging of the stools on the floor build tension more effectively than any music score could achieve. The dancers remain in control, resisting the urge to speed up and retain a cool and unrelenting focus. 

Evening Songs
, first choreographed by Kylián in 1987 and premiered by NZSD in 2005, subtly introduces folk-dance elements into a slightly dark rendition of Antonin Dvok’s music. Jesse Scales, Elizabeth Clarke and Eloise Golledge are delightful – using their full-skirts at first playfully and then to conceal and create shapes – as they are partnered with great skill by Jason Carter, Ben Obst and Travis Robertson.

Un Ballo, premiered by the School in 2008, also features Kylián’s partnering genius, which the five couples – moving in and out of the darkness – execute with precision and control. The dancers wrap around each other’s bodies and unfold with elongated extensions of great beauty, to Maurice Ravel’s music. 

The opening work, which features extracts from Lieder Eines Fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer) to Gustav Mahler’s composition, comprises three beautiful pas-de-deux of young love and the exquisite sorrow of parting. Stephanie Blumer and Gareth Okan, as the first couple, show a sweet tenderness in their pairing while Jessica Rogerson and Daniel McCarroll together with Yvette Sauvage and John Murray perform with strong connection and clarity of line. 

The Kylián Programme showcases the New Zealand School of Dance students in a flattering light. They have been challenged by the programme and have not been found wanting. There is much to admire in this group of already professional young dancers, as they prepare to launch themselves in their careers. 

The Kylián season will be followed on alternate nights with a programme of New Zealand contemporary dance works entitled KIWI. 


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