Wellington Performing Arts Centre: 2008 Graduation Season

December 8, 2008 at 8:49 am | Posted in Recital Review, Show Review | 1 Comment
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Dec 7, 2008 by Show_Hanger

I went to an evening performance, Sunday the 7th of December, of the Wellington Performing Arts Centre‘s 2008 Commercial Dance Graduation. The programme listed a large creative team, but the web site credited Leigh Evans and Anne Anderson.

This was the graduation for the commercial dance graduates and as the title suggests the show had a Las Vegas theme. I don’t know what commercial dance constitutes, but I guessed that it wasn’t going to be ballet – or was it?

I really enjoyed the short piece – Excalibur – danced by the three male graduates. They looked more like members of Robin Hood’s band, than knights in armour. But there was no doubting their vigor and passion, nor the ballet training. They were armed with swords, rather than sabres, and the clash of swords often rang out from the stage. I was reminded that dancing and its attendent footwork was often taught to young warriers in many cultures.

I don’t get to see much tap dancing – and I found I enjoyed the flashing footwork and rhythm in all of these pieces.

I liked Venetian – a mascarade ball piece, with very dramatic costumes, executed in a balletic style.

I also liked Treasure Island – a piece about pirates done in a cross between contemporary and stage show styles. There cannot be a pirate sword left in Wellington’s toy shops! Still, the choreography was crisp and the use of long strips of silk very inventive – first as waves and later as a ship!!

The evening was a well organised and enjoyable, with 19 dances in all – with no interval! TEven though the dancers worked hard, they clearly enjoyed themselves – lots of smiles – and consequently, the audience was more relaxed and cheered and enjoyed themselves too. Initially, I found sitting so close to the action a little off putting, but I suspect that this was a good run through for the dancers, as there will be times when they are in close proximaty to their audience when they are working. My only suggestion for the producers would be to have a very short welcome and introduction at the beginning so that the first number doesn’t just burst out.

I believe that this is an annual event; hopefulliy I will be back next year.

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New Zealand School of Dance: 2008 Graduation Season

December 1, 2008 at 11:48 pm | Posted in Ballet Review, Show Review | Leave a comment
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I went to this year’s graduation performance by the New Zealand School of Dance. The printed programme for the 2008 Graduation Season carried on from the 2007 – 40th anniversary – season: it is printed on glossy paper and had a very well designed cover – showing a dancer in an arresting pose.

The night’s performance consisted of:

  • Raymonda (Pas de Dix)
  • Symbiotic
  • Un Ballo
  • Flower Festival in Genzano (Pas de Deux)
  • We can Fight
  • Concerto (Pas de Deux)
  • Jabula.
Nov 22, 2008 by Show_Hanger

I went to an evening session, Saturday the 22th of November, of the New Zealand School of Dance‘s Graduation Season 2008, at the New Zealand School of Dance.

There were six pieces : three ballet pieces and three contemporary pieces, ordered to alternate.

Generally speaking it was the male dancers’ evening: they really stood out. Further the contemporary pieces really grabbed my attention. Jabula was my pick for the night.

Jabula was choreographed by Natalie Weir for the Queensland Ballet, and first performed by them in 1994. I don’t know if the original performance was from the original sound track of The Power of One, but I certainly found it powerful. The male dancers exuded energy and spirit; technique was harnessed to produce impact and this combined with the simple but effective lighting made for a very powerful finale. Florian Teatiu’s dancing just drew the eye to him.

I found We can Fight the most challenging work: the dancers spoke! I was reminded of questions regarding art that I have mulled over from time to time: should a work have a title that is made known to the audience ? What is the purpose of combining a number of disciplines ? The work struck me as a commentary on a man’s relationship with two of the main characters in his life – his dog and his wife. At times it was hard to see which he treated worse. Ultimately, one feels the dog gets a slightly better deal. Slightly depressing, due to the domestic violence.

The contemporary dance stream was well introduced by Symbiotic. Initially, the dancers cannot be seen, the stage lights are left off; they can only be heard. “Here we go”, I thought: dancing in the dark; dance as a purely pecussive work! But no, after a little while the lights came on, and the audience was treated to some sequences suggestive of organisms whose DNA was out of control.

I found the classical stream somewhat overshadowed by the contemporary works. But there were some highlights.

It was a little unfortunate that as a child of the Star Trek generation, the male dancers in Raymonda wore costumes that were very suggestive of Star Fleet uniforms. Subconciously, I expected some alien to appear and dispatch the figure in the red top. Thank goodness no alien appeared: Kyle Wood gave a wonderful demonstration of the modern male ballet dancer’s art.

Un Ballo was the ballet piece that I most enjoyed. Maybe it was the costumes – suggestive of a ballroom setting. Everyone seemed relaxed, particularly the ballerinas; and the couples just seemed to dance for the joy of it.

The evening was a well put together one. The School had obviously worked hard to make the graduation season an event: there was a photo exhibition featuring the graduating students, in the lobby; there was a small well stocked cash bar; some well appointed tables to sit at; and a well produced printed programme.

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