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February 27, 2013

Made to Move a fluid, beautiful collection of premières from the Royal New Zealand Ballet

Jack Yan/11.44


Royal New Zealand Ballet


Jack Yan

The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s trio of premières tonight in Made to Move at the St James Theatre was an enjoyable mixture of innovative and classical.
   The first production, danced on a plain stage so audiences could focus on the work itself, was The Anatomy of a Passing Cloud, which fulfilled its promise of paying tribute to the Pacific and its cultures. Award-winning Venezuelan director and choreographer Javier de Frutos crafted a ballet that took historical Pacific Island sound clips, creating a work that was at moments tense, and evocative and respectful of the region’s cultures. Colourful costumes gave Anatomy a visually pleasing look, and there was a raw quality to the ballet.
   De Frutos is known for his contemporary work, but there was enough in Anatomy to please traditional ballet-goers, with most sets having a dramatic quality.
   While the Royal New Zealand Ballet has been known to progress from experimental to crowd-pleasing when showing three works in one night, we thought Andrew Simmons’ Of Days was the highlight of the evening. The Christchurch-born, Dresden-based dancer’s new work was beautiful, touching and emotional, with a strong foundation in classical ballet. Words appeared above the dancers, with a clever play on typography, sometimes occupying a single line, other times multiple ones, reading as poetry while the Royal New Zealand Ballet performed. Audiences were invited to reflect on their life directions, on love, and on their purpose.
   The lighting deserves particular mention, especially how it complemented the outfits, at one point creating a harmonious glow to the stage. Of Days’ costumes, by Kate Venables, showed off the dancers’ physiques and personalized their performances. It was again danced to a relatively empty stage, with translucent backdrops used to highlight shadows, raised to reveal dancers, and lowered as screens on to which the type was displayed.
   The sheer beauty of Of Days would have been strong enough to conclude the evening on a high, and it is our hope that it goes on to win awards.
   RNZB artistic director Ethan Stiefel already prepared audiences last year when he talked about his Bier Halle, a comedic ballet that tied in with New Zealanders’ own love of beer. Having grown up in Wisconsin, itself known for brewing, Stiefel was inspired by the polka bands of his home state. Johann Strauss II’s waltzes and marches gave Bier Halle musical familiarity, and forced one to admire Stiefel for visualizing a new take on the score. His first original work for the RNZB started with plenty of laughs, but, at its core, is a traditional ballet with a particularly creative execution. The set elicited applause from the opening-night audience, and, as expected, Gillian Murphy—Stiefel’s fiancée—and Qi Huan were particularly expert lead players in a fun cast that included Sir Jon Trimmer, while Paul Matthews’ and Kohei Iwamoto’s roles, as the Nerd and Bird respectively, proved to be favourites.
   It was the grand, uplifting ballet of the night, and the perfect finalé, with a big cast and the audience encouraged to clap along, but it must be said that Of Days’ beauty continued to resonate for us well after the evening had concluded.—Jack Yan, Publisher

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December 11, 2012

Miss Denmark, Mia Hasanagic, wins World Miss University 2012

Lucire staff/13.54

With so many pageants within days of one another, we’re at risk of being a pageant, rather than a fashion, magazine. But since we’ve followed Sarah Munn’s journey as Miss New Zealand at the 25th World Miss University 2012 (월드미스유니버시티), it’s only right that we announce that Mia Hasanagic, Miss Denmark, took the title at the pageant tonight at the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill Hotel, Seoul earlier tonight.
   Elina Grundane, Miss Latvia, was runner-up. We were in touch with Miss Grundane’s pageant director, Inta Fogele, at the weekend. Ms Fogele was confident, and, like New Zealand, her country had taken the title once before, with Julija Djadenko.
   Miss Hasanagic is 20, and attends Aarhus University. She studies global management and counts dancing and poetry as her interests.
   But who won the popular vote, a.k.a. Miss Netizen, at World Miss University 2012? We’ve encouraged Lucire readers to vote for Miss New Zealand Sarah Munn between December 3 and 11—who scored the highest. Yet this prize went to Miss Korea, who placed eighth. Have a read of our latest article, online today, and you can make up your own minds.

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December 8, 2012

Miss Bourgogne, Marine Lorphelin, crowned Miss France 2013

Lucire staff/23.28

Miss Bourgogne, Marine Lorphelin, is Miss France 2013, succeeding Delphine Wespiser.
   Lorphelin, 19, hails from Charnay-lès-Mâcon. She is 1·76 m tall (5 ft 9 in).
   She is in her first year of medicine in Lyon. Her interests are art, painting and fashion. She is a regular gym-goer.
   Lorphelin was originally crowned Miss Bourgogne (Burgundy) on September 29 at the parc des expositions de l’Eduen. A teary-eyed Lorphelin tonight became the 66th Miss France on live television.
   Runners-up were Miss Tahiti, Miss Nord Pas-de-Calais and Miss Martinique.
   The 33 contestants have been together since November 23. The final saw them wear up to 10 different outfits, including a replica of the Guy Laroche dress from Le grand blond avec une chaussure noire (1972). There was a series of tableaux paying tribute to actresses such as Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve, Sophie Marceau, Meryl Streep, Marilyn Monroe and Natalie Portman, with a final featuring a couture dress in homage to Grace Kelly. An earlier swimwear segment had a James Bond theme, paying tribute to Ursula Andress.
   This year’s competition was held at the Zenith in Limoges. Four thousand people were in the audience, with a larger audience watching live on France’s TF1. Guests during the telecast included actor Jamel Debbouze.
   The judging panel was composed of screen legend Alain Delon, Mireille Darc, former model Adriana Karembeu, Nikos Aliagas, Miss France 2006 Alexandra Rosenfeld, Olympic swimmer Camille Muffat, and Frédéric Diefenthal. Viewers account for half of the vote in choosing the five finalists out of the 12 semi-finalists the jury selected.
   The final 12 were Miss Bourgogne, Miss Pays de Loire, Miss Martinique, Miss Roussillon, Miss Nord-Pas-De-Calais, Miss Champagne-Ardennes, Miss Bretagne, Miss Provence, Miss Rhône-Alpes, Miss Picardie, Miss Tahiti et Miss Côté d’Azur.
   Twenty minutes before midnight local time, they were then narrowed down to Miss Bourgogne, Miss Tahiti, Miss Nord-Pas-De-Calais, Miss Martinique et Miss Pays de Loire.
   Wespiser, in her valedictory speech, says she was ‘ready to join the ranks of the former Miss [Frances]’ and that she was ‘proud to be part of this family.’
   Miss Prestige National, the rival pageant founded by the former Miss France owner Geneviève de Fontenay, will have its pageant on Monday night, with a jury chaired by Christiane Lillio. De Fontenay has been to court this year over her non-compete clause but insists she is merely a ‘guest of honour’.

À la prochaine

   Meanwhile, over at World Miss University in Korea, the next pageant in the calendar, Miss New Zealand Sarah Munn has amassed, fairly, her 10,800 views for her YouTube video. Miss Munn’s video appears in the right-hand column, and we encourage readers to help get her numbers up legitimately with a single view each day, which will take 55 seconds of your time. You can visit YouTube at www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1Qb2XbFSUA.


TF1

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December 5, 2012

Mary Katrantzou’s Design Museum Christmas tree; Miss New Zealand Sarah Munn topping popular vote

Lucire staff/11.26



Top Miss New Zealand Sarah Munn, in the centre, with some of her fellow competitors at World Miss University in Seoul, Korea. Above Mary Katrantzou’s design for the Design Museum Christmas tree.


First View

Mary Katrantzou has designed the Design Museum’s Christmas tree this year, incorporating patterns from her autumn–winter 2012–13 collection.
   The collection included a collaboration with Swarovski and Lesage. The tree, measuring 3 m tall, will use Katrantzou’s patterns with a Christmas take on the theme.
   She said in a release, ‘The print was inspired by formal gardens and artful box parterres; these were layered and overlaid to create an intricate maze-like print reminiscent of a hand embroidered lace motif.’
   The tree will be on display at the Design Museum, Shad Thames, London SE1 2YD from December 4, 2012 to January 9, 2013. Design Museum exhibitions on show at this time are Unexpected Pleasures: the Art and Design of Contemporary Jewellery (December 5–March 30), Digital Crystal: Swarovski at the Design Museum (until January 13), Designers in Residence (until January 27).
   After three days of YouTube viewing, Miss New Zealand Sarah Munn is in the lead again for World Miss University’s public vote, with 4,316 at the time of writing.
   Despite having an early lead in the first hours after her video was uploaded, seven other countries quickly overtook Miss Munn as their populations began voting. However, thanks to Lucire readers (and those at our sister publications), Miss Munn’s own friends, and others in New Zealand and around the world supporting her, she overtook her rivals one by one to return to the top placing tonight.
   Contestants have worked at the Balsandong Cathedral bazaar and attended the Asian Women Leaders’ Forum. A Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Incheon Airport will take place on Friday and Saturday.
   Her video can be watched below or at www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1Qb2XbFSUA.
   Finally, in ‘Living’ news, Oprah Winfrey has named the Nespresso Lattissima as one of her 68 favourite things of 2012 in the December issue of O. Nespresso in New Zealand is offering a NZ$75 cashback on a Lattissima purchase until January 6.—Jack Yan, Publisher, with Lucire staff

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December 3, 2012

Lead-up to Miss France 2013 still bumpy over potential disqualifications

Lucire staff/9.37

December is a big month for us when it comes to covering beauty pageants, with news of the Miss France telecast traditionally our most-read story of the year on the Lucire website; and, as reported, we are following Sarah Munn’s progress as Miss New Zealand at the 25th World Miss University 2012 in Seoul on the 11th.
   There has been slightly less of the “battle of the pageants” scandal in France this year, with Geneviève de Fontenay, la dame au chapeau, in to court fighting a non-compete clause after setting up a pageant to rival Miss France, which she had run for decades before quitting.
   Endemol, which bought the rights to the Miss France pageant, alleges that de Fontenay is involved in the planning of her Miss Prestige National pageant (‘directly or indirectly’), but de Fontenay insists that she is merely a guest of honour. She granted an interview to News de Stars today, keeping the newer, smaller pageant in the limelight.
   The only question marks at Miss France 2013, meanwhile, surround the fates of Miss Corsica, Miss Tahiti and Miss Limousin, who had posed in photographs that might be considered erotic before their regional wins—but pre-pageant incidents like this are not out of the ordinary.
   Sylvie Tellier, a former Miss France and the chair of the pageant committee, as well as executive director of the Miss France company, says the contestants had signed a declaration that they had never posed for erotic material.
   Miss Corsica, Louise Robert posed for lingerie advertisements; Miss Limousin, Sandra Longeaux, appeared on a poster for a chocolate fair where she appears coated with chocolate (left); and Miss Tahiti, Hinarani de Longeaux, posed wearing only a blue sheet in front for a tourist calendar.
   Tellier says the committee will meet on Thursday, but warns that the context of the photos is irrelevant.
   The reigning Miss France, meanwhile, Delphine Wespiser, has appeared in a promotion for the Disney–Pixar film, Brave (Rebelle in France), to see what it would be like to live the life of the lead character, Merida, in the highlands of Scotland. She has a number of routes she would like to explore after handing over her crown this weekend: to look at TV production on a show about animals, promote her home region of Alsace, or help with corporate events for the Miss France pageant.

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Early lead for Miss New Zealand Sarah Munn at World Miss University 2012

Jack Yan/6.25


Alan Raga

Above Sarah Munn wearing Shika Braddock Couture, photographed by Alan Raga with make-up by Kareen Donaldson and Earth 174.

Miss New Zealand Sarah Munn, currently competing for the title of World Miss University 2012 in Seoul, Korea, is leading the public vote in the first hour after her video was uploaded to the pageant’s YouTube channel.
   The public vote is decided on YouTube views, and New Zealand has traditionally suffered because of its small population. This year, however, it is hoped that some viral promotion using social networks can get the country maintaining an early strong start.
   A Kiwi win is not unprecedented: New Zealand has won the World Miss University title once, in 2005, with Jade Hart (née Collins).
   Miss Munn holds a BA in International Relations and Political Science and has also studied Law at Victoria University.
   The pageant final is to be held on December 11 at the Sheraton Grand Walkerhill in Seoul.
   Miss Munn, who was born in Wellington and grew up in Tauranga, has a strong record of academic achievement, balanced with an active university life. She has gained the Vic Plus Award at Victoria University this year, been class representative nine times, and has actively organized events and extracurricular activities. She also works at the Crown Law Office in Wellington and with Air New Zealand.
   Her YouTube video may be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1Qb2XbFSUA or below.—Jack Yan, Publisher

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November 26, 2012

Wellington student Sarah Munn represents New Zealand at World Miss University

Jack Yan/12.31


Alan Raga

Above Sarah Munn wearing Shika Braddock Couture, photographed by Alan Raga with make-up by Kareen Donaldson and Earth 174.

Sarah Munn, who holds a BA in International Relations and Political Science and has also studied Law at Victoria University, has been selected to represent New Zealand in the World Miss University pageant. Miss Munn heads to Seoul, Korea later today, where she will participate in events relating to international relations and world peace, before the final night of December 11.
   Miss Munn, who was born in Wellington and grew up in Tauranga, has a strong record of academic achievement, balanced with an active university life. She has gained the Vic Plus Award at Victoria University this year, having completed the requisite voluntary work during the semester, been class representative nine times, and has actively organized events and extracurricular activities. She also works at the Crown Law Office in Wellington and with Air New Zealand.
   Miss Munn says, ‘I am proud to have been selected to represent New Zealand. I look forward to learning about the other cultures at World Miss University, sharing our country’s heritage, and discussing with my fellow contestants some of the solutions we would like to see employed for a more stable, global society.’
   Her interests, in international relations and human rights, have featured strongly in her life. It is not her first time representing New Zealand: Miss Munn has already represented her country at the Morioka Chuo International Student Forum on sustainability and leadership in Morioka, Japan. She has also been on a mission trip to Fiji and has travelled to the UK as part of a student programme during her college years.
   Miss Munn has also previously been involved with Lifezone Church in Tauranga. Her other interests include the performing arts, travel, snowboarding and wakeboarding. She had held the title of Miss Mt Maunganui 2009 and won the eveningwear segment at Miss Wellington 2010.
   Alex Lee, who runs the New Zealand arm of the pageant, says Miss Munn has a solid amount of experience relevant to the pageant and is an ideal candidate.
   Miss Munn’s national costumes have been supplied by Fashion Marketing Ltd., thanks to Lucire fashion editor Sopheak Seng, and Wellington designer Shika Braddock, who also provided one of her evening gowns.
   For the international folk craft show during the pageant, Tawa artist Tai Kerekere has gifted Miss Munn his Iden-tiki limited-edition prints, which reflects themes of self-identity as Maori and voting rights for Maori and for women in Aotearoa.
   The event, now in its 25th year, is organized by the International Association of University Presidents. Its organizing committee dispatches peace missions to regions such as Kosovo and Rwanda, and its 40–50 contestants each year have often had ambitions in international politics and diplomacy.
   The final, on December 11, will be held at the Sheraton Grand Walkerhill. Supporters can vote for Miss Munn at a voting page, to be announced by the organizers.—Jack Yan, Publisher

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