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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Our first tour to the US in 21 years

On the 31st January the Royal New Zealand Ballet will be opening its critically acclaimed ballet Giselle in Los Angeles at the prestigious Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, at the LA Music Center where the Academy Awards were held until the late 1990s.

The four centre tour, which will see the company also perform in Santa Barbara, Minneapolis and New York, is the company's first tour to the United States of America in 21 years.  It is also a homecoming for Ethan Stiefel, the RNZB's Artistic Director, who spent much of his career in New York as a world-renowned Principal Dancer with the American Ballet Theatre.  

“I am so pleased that the company has been invited to perform in the US,” says Ethan Stiefel. “I look forward to returning to my homeland as the Artistic Director of the RNZB and having the opportunity to remain connected with American audiences in this different capacity.”

The company will perform Giselle, the acclaimed 2012 production by Ethan Stiefel and Johan Kobborg, which was also adapted by New Zealand film director Toa Fraser into a feature film that recently screened at the New Zealand International Film Festival and at the 2013 Toronto and Vancouver International Film Festivals. In LA and Santa Barbara, American ballerina and RNZB Principal Guest Artist Gillian Murphy will be making her American debut as Giselle with the RNZB.

"There is much anticipation in the US for the RNZB’s visit and several performances in New York are already booked out," says RNZB Managing Director Amanda Skoog. "Being invited to perform at these prestigious venues, as part of their seasons, is a testament to the abilities, talents and reputation of our ballet company. We are very proud to be representing the creative talents of New Zealand on the international stage.”

Works by Christchurch-born choreographer Andrews Simmons (Of Days and Through to You) will be making their international debut, alongside famed choreographers Benjamin Millepied's 28 Variations on a Theme of Paganini and Javier de Frutos’ stunning Banderillero, in Minneapolis and New York.  The virtuoso pas de deux from Ethan's Stiefel's Bier Halle will also be performed as part of the mixed bill in Minneapolis.

"In building the programming for America, I wanted to showcase the RNZB's dancers’ immense creativity and diversity. The works that I have chosen for this tour allow the dancers the chance to display these beautiful qualities," says Ethan Stiefel.

The company will end its tour in New York, where Dunedin-based fashion designer Tamsin Cooper will join the tour to launch her clothing and accessory range to the US market.

The dancers will be back in our Wellington based studios on 5 March to begin rehearsals for Coppélia, which opens in Wellington on 17 April and tours nationally until 31 May.

USA TOUR

Los Angeles
31 January – 2 February, Dorothy Chandler Pavilion – LA Music Center
Giselle. Choreography by Ethan Stiefel and Johan Kobborg.

Santa Barbara
5 February, Granada Theatre, University of California
Giselle. Choreography by Ethan Stiefel and Johan Kobborg.

Minneapolis
8 February, Orpheum Theater
Mixed Bill:     
28 Variations on a Theme by Paganini. Choreography by Benjamin Millepied.
Through to You. Choreography by Andrew Simmons.
Banderillero. Choreography by Javier De Frutos.
Bier Halle pas de deux. Choreography by Ethan Stiefel.

New York
12 – 16 February, The Joyce Theater
Mixed Bill:     
28 Variations on a Theme by Paganini. Choreography by Benjamin Millepied.
Of Days. Choreography by Andrew Simmons.
Banderillero. Choreography by Javier De Frutos.