New Zealand School of Dance 45th Anniversary Graduation Season

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

21/11/2012 - 01/12/2012

Production Details

Young dancers of extraordinary talent from the New Zealand School of Dance present the best of classical ballet and contemporary dance in one outstanding performance

Featuring choreography not often seen in New Zealand by renowned masters George Balanchine, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Garry Stewart. The programme also includes works by Claire O’Neill, American choreographer Parrish Maynard and New Zealand School of Dance graduates Loughlan Prior and Mia Mason, embodying the essence of the school’s legacy in its 45th anniversary year.

This uplifting performance highlights students of the New Zealand School of Dance, poised to enter the dance profession and take the stage with dance companies throughout the world.

Performances 21 November – 1 December at 7.30pm (except Sunday and Monday)

2pm Matinee Sunday 25 November

$26 Adults
$21 Students & Seniors
$16 Under 12 years



Music: Mikhail Glinka – Valse-Fantaisie in B Minor

Choreography:  George Balanchine ©The George Balanchine Trust

Staged by: Diana White

Rehearsal director: Janet Tait

World premiere: 23 November 1967, New York City Ballet, New York State Theater, New York, USA

NZSD premiere: 2 October 2000, Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna, Auckland


Music: Claude Debussy

Choreography: Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui

Staged by: James O’Hara

Rehearsal director: Paula Steeds-Huston

World premiere: 13 October 2009, Sadler’s Wells

NZSD premiere: 21 November 2012, Te Whaea Theatre


Music: Speedy J, Autechre, Pan sonic, Atrax Morgue, Bask, Tchaikovsky.

Choreography: Garry Stewart

Staged by: Craig Bary

Rehearsal director: Paula Steeds-Huston and Victoria Colombus

World premiere: 27 June 2001, Australian Dance Theatre, Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide

NZSD premiere: 21 November 2012, Te Whaea Theatre (excerpts only)


Music: Chick Webb & His Orchestra – Clap Hands! Here Comes Charlie!, Luigi Russolo, Antonio Russolo – Corale, TV on the Radio – Blind, Radio Boy – Macdonalds, Tom Jones – It’s Not Unusual

Choreography: Claire O’Neill

Rehearsal director: Claire O’Neil

Costume Design: Donna Jefferis

World premiere: 21 November 2012, Te Whaea Theatre


Music: Antonio Martin Y Coll – Diferencias sobre las Folias

Choreography: Loughlan Prior

Costume design: Loughlan Prior

Costume construction: Gaye Wards

World premiere: 21 November 2012, Te Whaea Theatre


Music: David Long – Observing Gunther

Choreography: Mia Mason

Staged by: Sarah Foster-Sproull and Alex Leonhartsberger

Rehearsal director: Victoria Colombus

World premiere: 5 October 2011, Q Theatre, Auckland

NZSD premiere: 21 November 2012, Te Whaea Theatre


Music: Kenneth Kirschner – March 3, 1993

Choreography: Parrish Maynard

Staged by: Parrish Maynard

Rehearsal director: Edmund Stripe

World premiere: 9 October 2008, San Francisco Ballet School, Golden Gate Park Stage, San Francisco

NZSD premiere: 21 November 2012, Te Whaea Theatre


Music : Ben Frost – By The Throat, Arvo Pärt – Spiegel im Spiegel

Choreography: Ivica Novakovic with research by Julian Pfahl

Rehearsal director: Paula Steeds-Huston

Costume Design: Donna Jefferis

World premiere: 21 November 2012, Te Whaea Theatre


Music: Sergei Prokofiev – Symphony No.1, Opus 25

Choreography: Edmund Stripe

Costume design: Donna Jefferis

 World premiere: 14 December 1993, Singapore Dance Theatre, Esplanade Theatre, Singapore

NZSD premiere: 21 November 2012, Te Whaea Theatre



Third Year: Katherine Baring-Gould, Brydie Colquhoun, Emma Dellabarca, Eloise Golledge, Samantha Hines, Simone Lapka, Jia Xi Lee, Sarah Linden, Andrew Miller, Jessica Naunton, Benjamin Obst, Gareth Okan, Tiffany Pellow, Luis Piva Junior, Mitchell Powell, Travis Robertson, Matthew Roffe, Francesca Sampson, Andrew Searle, Pamela Sidhu, Dylan Waddell 

Second Year: Ruth Austin, Riley Baldwin, Camillo Baracco, Olivia Berrell, Katie Burley, Chloe Einicke, Alexandra Ford, Sarah Gatzonis, Michael Gudgeon, Oscar Hoelscher, Laura Jones, Fleur Lovejoy, Paige Macliver, Emma Martin, Hollie Mason, Napat Mathinanon, Samantha Nelson, Lana Phillips, Charles Riddiford, Katie Rudd, Imogen Sorley

First Year: Hannah Askew, Sam Balson, Jack Bannerman, Jeremy Beck, Eddie Brunton, Jessica Burt, Jadyn Burt, Lauren Byrne, Lauren Ellis, Stephanie Fernandez, William Fitzgerald, Omea Geary, Jemma Grenfell, Tessa Hall, Roymata Holmes, Jesse Homes, Tyler Johnston, Po Yi Low, Jarrah McArthur, Imogen McGill, Amanda Mitrevski, Stefaan Morrow, Madeleine Powell, Michael Ramsay, Eliza Sanders, Paige Shand, Brooke Tytherleigh, Samantha Vottari, Shai Waitford, James Wasmer, Isabella Wilson, Tynan Wood, Elizabeth Zorino


Production & Stage Manager: Jenny Petrovich

Lighting Design: Paul O’Brien

Lighting Operation: Wendy Clease

Wardrobe: Donna Jefferis (Supervisor), Jane Boocock (Construction)

Marketing and Publicity: Celia Jenkins and Ceridwyn Roberts

Photography: Stephen A’Court


90 mins

Polish, panache and joie de vivre

Review by Greer Robertson 22nd Nov 2012

With polish and panache, the full time training students graduate with a fine display in an evening of joi de vivre.

To mark this milestone of producing dancers for not only a national but an international market over the past 45 years, this Graduation Season definitely shows where their strengths lie.

Carefully selected pieces from globally recognised choreographers not so often seen in New Zealand, such as George Balanchine, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui and Garry Stewart, are presented.  What a delight for the dancers to get their teeth into such well reputed pieces, honing and performing their carefully learned skills of up to 3 years of artistic sweat and labour.

With a burst of energy and unbridled enthusiasm the classical ballet students explode onto the stage first in a presentation of nine pieces which include works by Edmund Stripe, Mia Mason and Parrish Maynard, and world premieres of works by by Claire O’Neil and Ivica Novakovic.

A brisk, swift Valse Fantasie by Balanchine sets the tone for things to come with fast-paced, intricate, often very difficult work. The dancers instantly charm and smile their way into the hearts of the audience who are often sitting on the edge of their seats in their fleet-of-foot wonderment and appreciation.

The solo work Faun is inspired by the works of Diaghilev and Nijinsky one hundred years ago, and was originally commissioned from choreographer Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui by Sadler’s Wells. A powerful physical command of the body’s complete working is required, permeating every muscle and fibre, coupled with a mature historical and soulful understanding. Faun is presented by Gareth Okan who, as a student hungry for a career in dance will undoubtedly advance in his maturity and delivery through this experience. Huge applause to the staff and Garry Trinder, Director of the New Zealand School of Dance since 1998, for exposing and allowing students the opportunity to immerse themselves in such powerful pieces.

Birdbrain was originally premiered in Australia with choreography by Garry Stewart. Based loosely and playfully on Swan Lake, it interweaves multiple  forms of dance including gymnastics, yoga, contemporary and breakdance with clipped, concise high octane classical ballet. A relaxed costume of Tshirts, dance pants and bare feet enables the dancers to excel and totally get into it and it is evident that the dancers thoroughly enjoy it as much as I do watching them.

Street clothes, long tutus, underwear and brightly coloured halter neck leotards adorn the well-toned dancers’ bodies throughout the eclectic programme. But, I note however, an absence of that very much admired traditional short tutu and all that goes with it. At all times though, great seamless partnering skills are delivered by the abundant in numbers and technically very strong male students.

The highlight for me is Verse, the physical calligraphy of a script embodied in flesh. As a celebration of the school’s anniversary, graduate Loughlan Prior, who dances with and recently choreographed for the Royal New Zealand Ballet, has created this spellbinding solo work. Ably and majestically performed by Luis Piva, I was entranced with the union of body, movement, music and true empathy, and look forward to seeing this very talented dancer’s career flourish.

The high energy evening ends the same way as it started. Set to Prokofiev’s Symphony No.1, Opus 25 with choreography by Edmund Stripe, the dancers hold back nothing. They gave their all.

Congratulations New Zealand School of Dance on delivering 45 years of excellence.


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