ASB Theatre, Aotea Centre, Auckland

24/03/2017 - 26/03/2017

Auckland Arts Festival 2017

Production Details

Classical ballerina Natalia Osipova is a star in the dance world with a ballet pedigree that includes The Bolshoi, American Ballet Theatre and The Royal Ballet. Her dancing is an exquisite force of nature, celebrated for brilliant technique, vivid characterisation and electrifying energy. For this brand-new work, Natalia Osipova ventures into a different world to develop new artistic expressions. Osipova will be joined by Sergei Polunin, himself a superstar of the ballet world, and, for Cherkaoui’s work, Jason Kittelberger and James O’Hara.

The programme is the first ever to be commissioned by her. It features new work inspired by her uniq.ue abilities, by three contemporary choreographers: artistic director of the Royal Ballet Flanders,  Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (Babel),  the innovative Russell Maliphant, and the imaginative and much sought-after Arthur Pita.


Act I: Run Mary Run – 30mins

Interval – 20mins

Act II: Qutb – 22mins

Interval – 15mins

Act III: Silent Echo – 22mins


  • 1 hour 50 mins, including intervals
  • Children under 3 not admitted to this event. All children require their own ticket.
  • Accessible seating available
  • Hearing aid loop performances

Tickets – Adult – $45 – $89


Dancers: Natalia Osipova, Sergei Polunin, Jason Kittelberger and James O’Hara.

Dance , Contemporary dance , ,

1 hr 50 mins

Natalia Osipova shines in Auckland Arts Festival showcase

Review by Raewyn Whyte 25th Mar 2017

Standing ovations greeted super-star classical ballet dancers, Natalia Osipova and Sergei Polunin, at the conclusion of Silent Echo, the final ballet in the Auckland Arts Festival triple bill of contemporary works commissioned by Osipova to help her explore new ground.

Created by British choreographer Russell Maliphant to electronica by Scanner, Silent Echo draws on Osipova’s crystalline precision and clarity, extreme extensions, and ability to spin on a dime. Polunin’s feral grace and sensitive partnering are also featured.

The dancing opens with short bursts of movement, each dancer in their own spotlight, prowling around the stage as pulsing sound marks passing time.

The sequences increase in length, complexity, and speed, and the spotlights merge to create a zone of illumination.

The sound starts to break down, and just as it becomes static, the dancers are spinning so fast they begin to blur.

Read the review



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Power moves

Review by Chloe Klein 25th Mar 2017

The evening opens with choreographer Arthur Pita’s Run Mary Run, a tragic and melodramatic love story encased in a 1960’s setting. Cue big hair, smoking cigarettes, sex, drugs, and rock and roll. Rising haggard and broken from the grave, Osipova recounts the tale of her fated love with Polunin as a James Dean replica before returning back to the dirt and joining him in death.

The work relies heavily on miming and gesture to carry the narrative and is laced with humour. To my disappointment, the movement vocabulary seems to hold the pair back. Caution and pre-emption permeate their steps. I can feel myself itching for their bodies to let loose in dramatic passion, and the few moments where this hesitation is abandoned, such as Polunin throwing himself into an impassioned fit in the dirt, are easily the most exciting.

The drama leans on summoning the nostalgia of a wild and glamorous American 1960’s scene and I find this difficult to buy into as I am not connected to this place and time. However Osipova performs with character and emotion, every gesture is saturated with feeling, and although I don’t quite believe the big picture, it’s impossible not to believe her.

Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s Qutb carries us through the second act and it is mesmerising. A projection of the burning desert sun casts heat, suffering, as well as focus and steadfastness onto the well-oiled and ever revolving trio: Osipova, O’Hara, and Kittelberger. There is something spiritual about their connection, mystic and elemental. Ever-growing and ever splitting. They share one another’s weight, seamlessly transitioning through complex contact partnering.

O’Hara stuns with an energetic and fluid solo – he seems to be endlessly searching for the end of his own body. Likewise, Kittelberger and Osipova perform a hypnotic duet. Their bodies melt into one another and Osipova orbits around Kittelberger as he supports and guides her. The magic of ballet isn’t lost through this contemporary arrangement. We are offered daring lifts, sweeping extensions, and an impeccable technique wrapped in emotive artistry.

The choreography is well complemented by a sound score of soft and rhythmic strings accompanied by sounds reminiscent of rain, wind-chimes, and at times even R2D2. A middle-eastern male vocal drives the pace and cements the cycle of force and connection.

The show concludes with Silent Echo choreographed by Russell Maliphant. Sergei reunites with Osipova as they dance regally with disciplined and clinical precision, fading in and out of blackness at the mercy of appearing and disappearing spotlights- seeming to appear and reappear themselves in new locations. The last of each wave of light holds their form, blurring bodies into shapes and tracing the outlines of their steps.

The work adheres to a traditional pas de deux structure and flaunts the superhuman balance and control of both dancers with fantastic spins and leaps. Sergei is brooding and intense, Osipova is focussed and powerful, they come together cleanly delivering power moves in quick succession. It is a spectacular and virtuosic end to the curation.



mojiganga March 28th, 2017

After see "Natalia and Friends", I was so disappointed. I had been coming up to Auckland to see a few Fringe performances and was enlightened by all that I saw. These performances had plenty of nuggets of originality and some could have been tweaked, but it was worth flying up from Wellington for. I came away from Natalia's Sunday matinee very unispired and ripped off. A pantomime and the two balletic performances were very wooden. Using contemporary props, costumes and lighting is not enough to give this the Wow factor. Why am I so harsh? $60 maybe? or did the producers take advantage of the movie "Dancer" featuring Sergei Polunin, and give me a very high expectation of this show? The performances were technically beautiful, but it was all very safe. Yawn.

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