Allegro: Five Short Ballets is a showcase of very different short works, from classically inspired to strikingly contemporary pieces, performed by the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Drawing together works by leading international choreographers, the programme offers a plethora of invigorating approaches to choreography and the premiere of an impressive piece by NZ's own Daniel Belton.
The programme opens with George Balanchine's exuberant Allegro Brillante. Described by Balanchine as "everything I know about classical ballet in thirteen minutes", this lively and vigorous ballet is set toTschaikovsky's Piano Concerto No. 3. Fast-moving ensemble passages and contrasting sections where dancers lyrically pause, before shifting into the next movement, mark the piece. Dressed in soft green and dreamy peach pastel tones the five ballerinas are a breath of romantic spring air, but sent through a vigorous and demanding choreography along with their five partners. Attending the matinee, I was sorely disappointed not to see the incredibly talented Gillian Murphy dance the lead role in her last NZ performance. Mayu Tanigaito was a light and lithe alternative, however, and completed the performance carried off the stage in an impressive exit, one leg high in the air.
Les Lutins (the Goblins) was the second piece, a light-hearted dance off also involving two live musicians on stage. Created in 2009 by Johan Kobborg for only three dancers, the quirky piece sees two men compete for the attention of a woman, but ultimately lose her. Danced with a cheeky machismo, Shaun James Kelly andArata Miyagawa duelled with show-off steps, first with each other, and then for the attention of Bronte Kelly - one of the RNZB's most delightful performers - in a rare display of mulit-disciplinary art forms meeting and pulling it off. Interacting with and responding to violinist Benjamin Baker, who set a vibrant and somewhat gypsy vibe, the trio gave us 12 delicious minutes of flirtation and games.
After a pause to reset the stage, Satellites opened to a pulsing, heavy bass electronic soundtrack by Jan-Bas Bollen and starkly evocative set as the curtain came up. This brand new work begins with celestial rings projected on to a backdrop and three dancers, followed closely by many more. In futuristic, simple white costumes the dancers carry, position and reposition circular mirrors. As a Len Lye-esque kinetic sculpture in the form of a suspended disk slowly rotates and the audio dissolves into static, 16 dancers work through the cosmic and silvery universe. Loughlan Prior was a standout here, as in his other roles during the programme, and seems to have really hit his stride. Daniel Belton's signature multi-disciplinary approach has created a contemporary and striking choreography for this piece, let's hope we see far more of his work in New Zealand.
Mattress Suite was a particular favourite, the six short dances sketching out a relationship and its aftermath - the falling in and out of love, the rejection, the sluggish pizza eating phase, the ‘experimentation' phase, followed by the distinctly sexy ‘single ladies' phase, where the fabulous Lucy Green really let rip. The RNZB has the honour of being the first to perform Mattress Suite, after choreographer Larry Keigwin's own company. This is a signature work for the celebrated American dancer and contemporary choreographer, and the first of two within the Allegro programme. Mattress Suite was followed by Keigwin's Megalopolis, a striking piece that lies somewhere between an edgy rave and sci-fi afterparty. With music by Steve Reichand MIA this was a vibrant and contemporary sidestep, something the young RNZB company seemed to really enjoy. Dressed predominantly in fitted black lycra with futuristic fashion-runway touches and a dash of diamante dazzle, the dancers were framed by vertical neon tubes bookending the stage. With clipped and sharply detailed movements the dancers walk, jump, leap and strut across the stage, swapping groupings and reforming as they progress through a range of club dance moves interset with more composed phrasings. This is dance with a distinctly urban edge and big city attitude combined with a complex choreography and relentless pace. The audience was stunned - then burst into loud applause.
Allegro is the last programme by the ballet's Artistic Director Ethan Stiefel. About to leave the company after three years at its helm, Stiefel has led the RNZB through record-breaking seasons, including well received tours in China and the US. Allegro is a testament to his contemporary eye and ability to bring audacious choreography to NZ, while preserving all that is beautiful about classical ballet.
In the mid to late 90's, when grunge began to wither away and MTV strived to find the next easy to access label to attach to new batch of up and coming rock bands, global attention started to shine on the Alt Rock scene.
The I Love The 90s Tour returns to Auckland next year March 23rd at Auckland’s Spark Arena, with a completely off the chain lineup featuring classic Hip Hop crew Naughty by Nature. Vin Rock from the Grammy Award winning rap group speaks fondly of this country and love of our people.
The Soundsplash Festival is returning to Raglan in January 2018. Local reggae favourites Katchafire are returning to feature on the bill. We sent a few questions over to lead vocalist Logan Bell ahead of the festival.
Following 2015’s Kitty, Daisy & Lewis'The Third', the sibling trio are back stronger than ever, harnessing their ability to create pop-infused soul, blues, rock n roll and a large mix of genres to perfection, in the shape of their fourth studio album, Superscope.
Kylie Price has just released her new album Bones. Last week she appeared on theNZ Entertainment Podcast, where she sang a new song I Dont Want To Go off the album while talking shop about her dream gig to play with Ed Sheeran and her Philipino roots.
Last week I caught up withPeter Hook ahead of returning down under for Australasian leg of the Joy Division and New Order Substance tour. We had a great chat about the spirit of punk, what it takes to write a book and why shows like the X-factor are so unhealthy…
Long established as one of New Zealand’s finest acts, South Pacific reggae-soul legends, The Black Seeds are set to tour the country in September, following the release of their long awaited 6th studio album Fabric, (out today - Friday September 8th).
Jacqueline Nalpant is a Booking Agent for the Paradigm Talent Agency, and is heading to New Zealand early next month where she'll be one of the speakers for the Going Global Music Summit (Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd September at Roundhead Studios, Auckland).
Since making her musical debut with her song Drift early last year, fast attracting a solid fan base and over 1 million plays across Spotify and Soundcloud in just a few months, Madeline North, better known by her musical moniker So Below, has once again blessed us with a moodier, masterful electro-pop banger, titled Ruin.
Since forming in 1998, the Antwerp, Belgium based trio Triggerfinger have long become a mainstay on the rock scene, building a solid reputation across Europe, the US, Canada and beyond, as one of the hardest-driving and sharpest dressing bands around.
Popular metalcore group Northlane are on their way to New Zealand. The Sydney band are touring North America taking in countries like Chile and Mexico as they head our way down-under next month to play Wellington’s San Fran then Auckland at the iconic Kings Arms.
Returning to New Zealand for the first time in three years, Australian metalcore band In Hearts Wake are on their way to our shores next month for a quick run of shows supporting their label cohorts Northlane.
Courtney Marie Andrews has landed in New Zealand, and set to play two concerts this week with Joe Pug - tonight at San Fran in Wellington (Wed July 19) and tomorrow night at The Tuning Fork in Auckland (Thu July 20).
Auckland two-piece Skinny Hobos, Alex Elvis and Texas Holdom, are heading on a 5 date New Zealand tour with headliners Decades, Bakers Eddy and Dead Favours. Kicking off tonight in Hamilton (July 14), the tour will also take them to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and finishes up in Dunedin.
Have you ever considered sharing your most personal experiences with the entire world? Well come this Friday 14th July, that’s what Emma Cameron, the rocking front-woman of kiwi band Decades is about to do, when they release their long-awaited full length debut album, The Truth And Other People, so we sat down with the cheerful front woman to discover just what truth this album reveals..
Whilst Sonny Landreth is a well known slide-guitar master, zydeco enthusiast and phenomenal blues legend, what you may not know about him, is that he is one of the nicest gentlemen in the entire universe.
He was always the boy next door type energy, that type of person you just always wanted to be around. From day one, Shay Taylor has always been one to break the mold and live life in such a vibrant and contagious manner, that no matter who he spoke to, they walked away feeling great!
Anthonie Tonnon is taking his new Extended Player and single to Australia, and to New Zealand towns that missed the first run of dates, or sold out too quickly. He’ll also be appearing at three summer festivals this February.
After a stand of three Auckland concerts that sold out in minutes in January, Connan Mockasin is hitting the road across Aotearoa for the first time in eight years this summer for a select run of headline shows.