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.
The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus are gracing our shores on the 28th of November at Galatos. After a 4-year hiatus, they have burst back onto the scene and headed straight for the spot they are most familiar with, number 1 on the Billboard Christian Rock Charts.
Breakups are never easy - whether it's a romantic tryst, a teenage crush, or with a young Mark and his favourite band Dream Theater, that dark moment when founding keyboardist Kevin Moore left the group in 1994.
There's no denying that at my core, I'm a lover of progressive music - whether that means I love "prog" music or not is a question for another day, and is a topic which I touched on whilst talking to Steven Wilson the other week regarding the upcoming To The Bone show at Auckland's Bruce Mason Centre.
Auckland-based quartet Openside have added an extra date to their first, all-ages, nationwide tour. The group headlines The Seamless Tour will now perform a final show in Tauranga on July 20th featuring special guests DUNES .
Consisting of drummer/vocalist Cat Leahy and guitarist/vocalist Leisha Jungalwalla, This Way Northwill be a part of a very special night in Auckland called ‘Sass the Patriarchy’ an event they have been running in Australia.
As the days and nights get colder, we need something more to laugh about than the unpredictability of Auckland weather and lucky for us, The New Zealand International Comedy Festivalreturns (kicking off this Thursday 26 April).
I Am Giant’s have recently released their third and final album ‘Life in Captivity’. Featuring the singles ‘Dead Flower’, ‘Playing With Fire’ and ‘Don’t Look Back’, the band are currently touring New Zealand; their final tour and last hurrah in NZ.
To this day I still remember my introduction to Sepultura - camped out in the granny flat bedroom of long-time friend Kerry - a live version of their cover of Motörhead's Orgasmatron, and from there it continues to this day
Legendary, GRAMMY-award winning band FLEETWOOD MAC today announced an Australian and New Zealand tour, set to kick off on August 9 with two shows in Auckland on September 16 and 19, along with a welcome return to Dunedin on September 21.
California’s radical sons, The Growlers arrive in the country this week for the start of the Australian leg of their mammoth worldwide ‘Beach Goth’ tour. In what is guaranteed to be a rollicking, majestic wave of movements all around our golden coast,
Timaru’s iconic Soundshell in Caroline Bay will host two of the most well-known bands in New Zealand in a one-day entertainment extravaganza this January. Katchafire and The Black Seeds will headline the R18+ event at the Soundshell on Saturday, January 26, 2019. They’ll be joined by The Butlers.
In true kiwi summer tour tradition Marlon Williams will now take The Tūrangawaewae Tour to a further six markets this February making it a total of 12 shows - Marlon’s most comprehensive New Zealand tour ever!
With sounds primed for a hot summer ahead, Christchurch four piece Mako Road have arrived with the perfect soundtrack for long nights, cold drinks and hazy days with the ‘Local Safari’ EP, which releases today.
“Music can bring us all together, it bonds us, it strengthens us...” this song “Your Guardian Angel” by Red Jumpsuit Apparatus has been dedicated to Toyah Cordingley.
Please spread the word to anyone who loves the song, or has lost someone too early also, feel free to leave any dedications in the comments of which we will share direct for Toyahs’ family and the band to see.
On the heels of releasing several collaborative hit tracks this year, five-time Grammy Award-winning artist and producer Mark Ronson returns with a brand new single of his own ‘Nothing Breaks Like A Heart’ featuring Miley Cyrus.
George Ezra toured the world nonstop for more than two years following the release of his debut LP Wanted On Voyage, finally making it to Aotearoa for one of the standout sets of this year’s Auckland City Limits.
Colin Mochrie, Brad Sherwood and Greg Proops the popular stars of the Emmy nominated Whose Line Is It Anyway? have teamed up to present an evening of extraordinary improvisational comedy for one show only at the Bruce Mason Centre in Auckland.
In a New Zealand first, five of the stars of Twin Peaks, Sheryl Lee, Kimmy Robertson, Michael Horse, Al Strobel, Dana Ashbrook and the Executive Producer of Twin Peaks: A Limited Event Series, Sabrina S. Sutherland, will visit Auckland and Christchurch for an exclusive and unique CONVERSATION WITH THE STARS evening.
Singer Elaine Paige has announced an 8-date series of concerts from October 10 to October 25 2018, which will see her perform songs from her illustrious career along side an array of her favourite tracks by contemporary songwriters.
The critically acclaimed, award-winning comedian and actor, Catherine Tate, is bringing The Catherine Tate Show - Live to New Zealand for the first time, with shows in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch commencing November 28, 2018.
It has been announced overnight that Last Tapes Theatre Company's original production Valerie has been selected for a month-long season in the prestigious Summerhall programme at Edinburgh Festival Fringe this August.
Featuring Brouhaha: choreographer Malia Johnston, composer Eden Mulholland, AV designer Rowan Pierce; In Transit: choreographer Louise Potiki Bryant, composer/AV designer Paddy Free; The Geography of an Archipelago: choreographer Stephen Shropshire, composer Chris O’Connor.
The last hurrah of the Comedy Fest! The Season Finale! The bit at the end where the awards are decided, everybody relaxes and much fun is had. It’s the titled Last Laughs on Sunday 20 May at SkyCity Theatre.