Katie Rudd

The New Zealand Dance Company is set to present its 2017 triple bill Kiss the Skyopening 29 June at the Bruce Mason Centre for four performances only.

Kiss The Sky will showcase works by three exceptional international choreographers from Aotearoa, Korea and Australia on the theme of the seasons, the southern sky and time, presented to coincide with the Matariki (Māori New Year) Festival.

We had the chance to catch up with dancer Katie Rudd who features in Kiss The Sky. 

Where did you grow up? 

I was born and grew up in New Plymouth., and stayed there all the way through to the end of high school. 

How did you first get in to dance? 

It's a kind of interesting story. No one in my family ever used to dance and there is no dance background. When I was about 3 or 4 I'd always be asking my Mum about when dance lessons will start. I just kept insisting about dance classes so she pretty much just enrolled me, so that's how it all began. 

Who were some of your early dance influences? 

I think early on I was probably mainly influenced by older dancers in New Plymouth. I use to go to the competitions and watch the older girls at the time... the teenagers. I thought they were so cool. And as I moved on I was really inspired by dancers at places like the Sydney Dance Company. My influences became stronger through connections I made studying at the School Of Dance. 

What style of dance would you say you specialise in? 

So when I left school and trained at the School Of Dance, I was a Contemporary Dance Major. The New Zealand Dance Company specialises in Contemporary Dance which is really cool. It's a real fusion kind of dance style and allows you to take influences from a lot of different places. It's not a strict as classical ballet, it's not as stylised so you can do different things. 

How did you get involved with the New Zealand Dance Company? 

When I was in my second year at the School Of Dance. I was just doing a class one day and Shona McCullagh, who is the CEO / Artistic Director of the company, came and watched the class. She spotted me then and asked me to come and join the company the following year for like a work experience kind of thing. And basically from there we just kept in touch and she offered me a job at the end of my graduating year, which was super cool. 

What is it about the company that you enjoy so much? 

I love my fellow dance colleagues. They are some of my best friends, so quite often I don't even feel like I am working. I also really like the range of choreographers and collaborators that you get to experience working with here. We always get a mix of local and international creators, which is  really nice. We also get to do some awesome touring; I've got to see some parts of the world that I wouldn't have seen.

Could you describe a typical week in the life of a dancer? 

Every day we do a warm up at 8.30 in the morning... get to the studio, warm up for half an hour and then we do a technique class for one and a half hours. We'd either do classical ballet, yoga or contemporary technique. And if we're in a creation process, like we are this week, we'd do three 2 hour blocks of rehearsal with the choreographer... so it would be like creating the movements and rehearsing it till it's really tight and perfect. So it's generally us on our feet dancing the whole time. It can be quite a timely process creating a contemporary dance piece

Kiss The Sky kicks off at the end of this month. How have those rehearsals been going? 

They've been good. It's a pretty exciting time making a new show. For one piece we're going to be working with a live orchestra, but at the moment we're rehearsing with a recorded track. But when we get into the theatre in a couple of weeks we'll get to meet the orchestra and get the feeling of the live music. Really looking forward to getting it all started. 

What's your role in Kiss The Sky? 

I'm one of 8 dancers. It's a triple bill featuring 3 different works; we have a part or a dance role each. I share a role in  KIM Jae Duk's piece and then I am one of the 8 dancers doing a group dance. But everyone gets a moment. 

Following Kiss The Sky, what plans have you got after that? 

I definitely want a bit of body recovery time, because you go pretty hard on stage. But we're going to do some school tours and then we've got a national tour of another one of our shows called The Absurdity Of Humanity which is coming up in August. So continuing another project almost straight after, so keeping very busy. 

Kiss The Sky

June 29 - July 1: Bruce Mason Centre, Auckland

Tickets via Ticketmaster