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December 7, 2016

Dragonfly launches this season’s must-have cookbook at Mojo St James pop-up venue

Cecilia Xu/18.25



Dragonfly has been a local favourite in Wellington Central since it opened: it’s the perfect bar to chill out at after work on any day of the week, even better on a Friday. It’s the spot to hit in the weekend, whether for fine dining or distinctive cocktails. It boasts a spacious and expansive breadth of contemporary environment in its indoor, bar, and outdoor garden seating. The atmosphere is beautifully constructed and decorated, which is what makes it such a magnetic regular spot for the locals, and a gem for the newcomers. It’s subtle, too, with no brash lighting or signage cluttering up its Courtenay Place location.
   Dragonfly’s mixture of modernity, with rustic Asian influences, romanticism and relaxation matches its cuisine perfectly. This is reflected in the launch of their début cookbook, featuring the restaurant’s name on the cover—Dragonfly—Asian Dining Lounge—but referred to as the Dragonfly Cookbook. After years of successful cuisine perfectionism and experience, the book is a compilation of Dragonfly’s finest recipes, credited on the cover to brother and sister co-owners Brent Wong and Tania Siladi, with copy by Siladi and her daughter Jenna. Aided by a copious number of beautiful photographs and food imagery, by restaurant manager Ginny Maddock, who is a trained photographer, the book draws you to want to either dine at Dragonfly, or begin your own rustic Asian food adventure and exploration.
   The book has been painstakingly art-directed, and lavishly printed in Wellington, New Zealand; and priced at NZ$55. Wong explains that they won’t be making much on the book—and once time is factored in, the price will barely cover the cost. However, they see it as a way to share Dragonfly’s expertise. The Dragonfly Cookbook is available at Moore Wilson’s and online at www.orient-nz.com/dragonflycookbook.
   Due to the recent 7·8 Kaikōura earthquake that also affected Wellington, Dragonfly was one of the many businesses and stores closed for safety reasons. However, nearby Mojo in the St James Theatre just metres away has opened its doors for regular night time pop-up openings of Dragonfly. To see many of their regular customers quick to attend this as well as their book launch event on Tuesday night reflects how well Dragonfly is liked and respected by many in the capital, and perhaps a little change in operating venue may be great for the Christmas season.—Cecilia Xu; with Jack Yan, Publisher


November 30, 2016

An upward experience with Off & On beauty bar

Cecilia Xu/21.45



Cecilia Xu

I had the privilege to experience the new Off & On beauty bar’s exuberant services in Wellington. With newly opened doors at 22 Panama Street, Wellington, New Zealand, the salon shouts contemporaneity, style, and professionalism.
   The interior and graphic design of the space is vibrant and colourful, reflecting the advanced services the bar offers. Getting my quick tour, it was the first time I’d seen some of this high-tech equipment. I was briefed on the lash lift (what I was in for), their signature micro-blading browography, and introduced to services I was interested in such as brow extensions and eyeliner micro pigmentation. What a range!
   Off & On is a combination of the Off Wax & Laser service, and the On Browhouse. This is a great idea, combining these services in one place, and the name works perfectly. They are all about the experience, and not just getting the job done. I was sure pampered! The service and people were extremely friendly; I chatted away with the girl who did my lash-lift about the wedding I was about to attend in the weekend, and she told me about the exciting wedding she’d just been to. We shared some interesting stories and laughs together. This makes the experience extremely relaxing and laid-back, the lash-lift itself was a 45-minute session which flew by in a flash, and when I opened my eyes, I couldn’t believe the difference! My lashes looked so great, even my guy friend (and guys barely notice these differences) responded in surprise and awe.
   The lash-lift lasts around four to six weeks but I can say, so far, I love waking up with doll-like eyes, and mascara is definitely not necessary during this time. The quality, modernity and level of the service mean you’re paying a slight premium, but this is all detailed on their website.
   The location of Off & On is great—just pop in for a quick intro and take away a menu of what they can offer. They could become the next go-to salon for all your beauty needs! I’ve heard when one lady from the nearby office visits, the whole office comes through the week after.—Cecilia Xu





Cecilia Xu

November 16, 2016

Skilful execution by tomorrow’s stars at New Zealand School of Dance’s 2016 Graduation Season

Jack Yan/11.39




Stephen A’Court

Above, from top: Meistens Mozart. An excerpt from Political Mother. Pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty.

The New Zealand School of Dance’s Graduation Season once again brings an expertly executed programme, mixing genres from classical to modern to experimental. Among the programme tonight were three premières: Helgi Tomasson’s Meistens Mozart was performed for the first time in New Zealand, while Amber Haines’s Incant and Jiři Bubeniček’s Dance Gallantries received their world premières on opening night of the season at Te Whaea.
   Meistens Mozart started the evening and showed that, with the right arrangement and choreography, the German language could be made cheerful. Songs by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf, Bernhard Flies and Jakob Haibel, sung by the Tölzer Boys’ Choir, accompanied the six dancers, the standout of whom was George Liang. Liang had previously been at Canada’s National Ballet School, and we had seen him perform last month at the Republic of China’s National Day celebration. There were no opening-night jitters from any of the six, who instantly transported us to an alpine society, celebrating springtime love, courtship and playfulness.
   The all-male He Taonga—a Gift was an energetic and intense performance where drumbeats from Whirimako Black’s ‘Torete te Kiore’ soundtrack sparked sudden moves, a demonstration of control and strength from the 14 dancers. Choreographed by Taiaroa Royal and Taane Mete, He Taonga was created for the School in 2009 and reprised tonight.
   Opening the second section, Laura Crawford and Yuri Marques were like delicate dolls in their pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty, Act III, with the choreography after Marius Petipa. Marilyn Rowe, OBE staged and coached, while Qi Huan was répétiteur. This was a tough ballet piece to get right and the pair got stronger as they performed, gaining confidence and drawing us into their romance.
   Taking a complete tangent into modern dance was the solo performance of Glitch, a new work from NZSD tutor Victoria Columbus, whose talents we most recently saw at the World of Wearable Art, where she serves as director of choreography. The movements themselves were created by graduate Connor Masseurs, who performed the dance, playing the part of a “glitching” robotic man short-circuiting on stage with skilful, shuddering movements. Masseurs completely absorbed us with his solo: it wasn’t just his limbs that Masseurs controlled, he extended the idea to facial movements, inventively finding new ways to glitch. Masseurs first performed the dance at the Grand Théâtre at the Maison de la Culture de Tahiti as part of a gala at the Académie de Danse Annie Fayn.
   Incant was mysterious, brooding, and ethereal: this all-female work saw dancers come together to generate new shapes, conveying to us notions of clouds, trees in a forest, or tunnels, at times passing a lit sphere between them. Haines’s choreography was meant to question traditional notions of beauty and got us successfully focusing on the collective moves of the dancers. ‘This world,’ she notes in the programme, ‘invokes a mesmerizing state of collective consciousness and celebrates the power and luminous beauty of shared intention.’ A captivating work, it ended the second set of dances.
   Dance Gallantries was another more traditional work, with 10 dancers telling more playful stories of romance, complemented by Otto Bubeniček’s colourful costume design and solo violin music by J. S. Bach.
   A group of 12 performed an extract from Political Mother, the evening’s one political work with jarring music and clever choreography by Hofesh Shechter. A couple merrily folk-dances in a town square, happy to be part of their society, but are they genuinely happy or manipulated by the state? Their expressions seem to suggest the latter, fooled into believing that all is well and happy in their naïveté. The action moves on to a prison, where the music is muffled and dancers ape being restrained by either arms or ankles. The final scene, with a large group of dancers back in the town, show that the entire society has succumbed to the illusion, raising their arms in acceptance. It makes you question about the times we live in, and whether intellectual discourse is suppressed in favour of simpler ideas, a population told to be happy without really knowing why.
   Finally, Tchaikovsky’s music from The Nutcracker was excerpted for the upbeat Tempo di Valse, with the NZSD returning to a ballet to finish the evening. The ‘Waltz of the Flowers’ was instantly recognizable, the 15 dancers showing classical movements. Nadine Tyson choreographed, while the colourful traditional costumes were designed by Donna Jefferis.
   Depending on the show, the pas de deux from The Sleeping Beauty may be replaced by Jack Carter’s Pas de deux romantique, with music by Rossini; while Glitch may give way to The Wanderer, choreographed by Columbus and perforned by Liang.
   The season runs from November 16 to 26 at Te Whaea in Wellington, New Zealand, with prices ranging from NZ$18 to NZ$33. Tickets can be booked at the New Zealand School of Dance, or online at nzschoolofdance.ac.nz/book-tickets. We’d rate it another must-see, especially to catch some rising stars—we understand that some are off overseas, already snatched up by dance companies.—Jack Yan, Publisher

October 26, 2016

Fashion in brief: Emporio Armani launches smartwatches; Topshop opens in Wellington on November 3

Lucire staff/0.31

Emporio Armani has entered the smartwatch sector with its Connected Hybrid range, mixing the design flair of the traditional watches with the latest technology.
   The watches sync with smartphones via Bluetooth, and have features such as automatic time zone updating, notifications, activity tracking, extended use without charging, easy access to music playlists, sleep-pattern monitoring, alarms, camera, and a lost-phone locator. The watches are available in pink, black, gunmetal and silver, with stainless steel or leather straps.
   Founder Giorgio Armani said, ‘Today, technology influences our daily lives profoundly. There’s an app for everything, and I find that, in many cases, they are inventions that actually improve our lives. I am delighted to introduce the hybrid connected watch that places the Emporio Armani brand at the forefront of innovation in the connected accessories’ market. This line of watches combine sleek design, advanced technology, immediacy and ease of use.’
   The watches are now available on www.emporioarmaniconnected.com and from selected stores and resellers worldwide.
   Meanwhile, Topshop will open its second New Zealand store in Wellington, at 256 Lambton Quay, on November 3, followed by a weekend-long celebration of giveaways and activities.
   The location will have both Topshop and Topman brands. In-store weekend events include DJ performances, photo walls, food, and beauty touch-ups.
   Topshop first opened in New Zealand in Auckland two years ago.



Above: Topshop and Topman make it to Wellington, New Zealand.

October 17, 2016

Royal New Zealand Ballet’s ’17 line-up: triple Academy Award winner James Acheson designs for Romeo and Juliet

Lucire staff/0.01



Ross Brown

Top: The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Carmen, premièring on February 16, 2017. Above: A new version of Romeo and Juliet, premièring on August 16.

Royal New Zealand Ballet artistic director Francesco Ventriglia has announced his second full season for the company, kicking off 2017 with Two Ballets by Roland Petit: Carmen with L’Arlésienne, premièring in Christchurch. Both have scores by Georges Bizet: Carmen was composed for the opéra comique in 1875 before Petit adapted it into a ballet in 1949; Petit created the ballet for L’Arlésienne in 1974, using the score originally composed for the play. They have been performed internationally, though not in New Zealand till the RNZB performances running from February 16 to April 1 in eight centres.
   The RNZB will perform three of Alexander Ekman’s works—Cacti, Tuplet and Episode 31—in a full programme from May 17 to June 15, in Wellington, Auckland, Napier, Christchurch, and Dunedin. For Cacti, the RNZB will be joined by the New Zealand String Quartet.
   The pièce de résistance for 2017 will be the Ryman Healthcare Season of Romeo and Juliet, in a new version by Ventriglia. Using the score by Sergei Prokofiev from 1935, the new work features set and costume design by three-time Academy Award winner James Acheson (The Last Emperor, Dangerous Liaisons, Restoration) working on his first ballet. Working with Auckland Live, the RNZB will offer a live audio description of this ballet for blind and visually impaired patrons on September 3. The season kicks off August 16 and runs till September 24, reaching nine centres.
   Ventriglia said in a release, ‘Not only does this bold programme celebrate international talents like France’s greatest-ever choreographer Roland Petit and the contemporary genius of Alexander Ekman, it’s also about creating great art here in New Zealand with a new version of Romeo and Juliet. The talented dancers of the RNZB and I look forward to bringing you another year of world class productions. See you at the theatre.’
   Executive director Frances Turner added, ‘It’s a big and beautiful year which will take the incredible artists of the RNZB around New Zealand for 70 performances in 16 cities and towns. We are proud to be taking the highest quality art to the widest possible audience.’
   The RNZB will help the New Zealand School of Dance, its official school, celebrate its 50th anniversary with a season in Wellington on November 24–5, while Tutus on Tour with Ballet in a Box return to the regions through the year.
   More information can be found at the RNZB website.

September 23, 2016

Gillian Saunders takes top honours at 2016 World of Wearable Art Awards’ Show, with Supernova

Lucire staff/11.00




WOW

New Zealand designer Gillian Saunders has scooped the Brancott Estate Supreme Award at tonight’s World of Wearable Art (WOW) Awards’ Show. Saunders, who had entered 15 garments before her winning entry, Supernova, has won eight awards prior to 2016, but this is the first time she has taken out the top prize.
   Saunders, who was born in England, has been involved in television and theatre for most of her working life. She was trained in Yorkshire, and went on to Christchurch, New Zealand, where she worked as a props’ maker for the Court Theatre.
   ‘I had been making stage props for theatre and TV for years. WOW was the perfect challenge—could I make props for the body as well?’ she said.
   Supernova was inspired by ‘Thierry Mugler’s Chimera dress [from the autumn–winter 1997–8 collection], … the iridescent spiny fins of the Hippocampus from the Percy Jackson movie The Sea of Monsters, and some incredible NASA images taken by the Hubble Telescope,’ she noted. ‘Once all these elements were combined, Supernova was brought to life.
   ‘The large gems represent new stars being born and the dark shadows represent deep space. Each scale has been individually cut, shaded with marker pens and then hand-sewn on to the garment. Each gem has had its sticky backing removed and then glued on by hand.’
   Saunders also won the Avant-Garde section in this year’s competition, judged by WOW founder Dame Suzie Moncrieff, Zambesi’s Elisabeth Findlay, and sculptor Gregor Kregar.
   Dame Suzie said, ‘Supernova has the design innovation, the construction quality and vibrant stage presence in performance to win WOW’s top award.’
   Saunders’ 2013 design, Inkling, won the Weta Creature Carnival Award and an internship for her at Academy Award-winning Weta Workshop. It is currently part of the WOW international exhibition, touring around the world, and presently at the EMP Museum in Seattle, Washington, where it will be displayed till January, after which the exhibition will head to the Peabody Essex Museum in Boston, Mass.
   She also won the Avant-Garde section in 2007 with Equus: behind Closed Doors, while in 2009, Tikini was second in the Air New Zealand South Pacific section.
   Designers from New Zealand, China, India, England, Australia, and the USA won awards in each section.
   The American Express Open section this year saw Renascence, by Yuru Ma and Siyu Fang of Shanghai take first place. The Spyglass Creative Excellence section was won by Mai (I), by Pritam Singh and Vishnu Ramesh of Gujarat. Queen Angel, by Adam McAlavey of London, won the MJF Lighting Performance Art section.
   Baroque Star, by Natasha English and Tatyanna Meharry of Christchurch, won the Weta Workshop Costume and Film section, netting the duo a four-week internship at Weta Workshop, plus travel, accommodation, and prize money.
   The Wellington Airport Aotearoa section was won by Maria Tsopanaki and Dimitry Mavinis of London, with their creation Princess Niwareka. The World of Wearable Art and Classic Cars Museum Bizarre Bra section was won by Julian Hartzog of Tarpon Springs, Fla., with Come Fly with Me.
   Of the special awards, Dame Suzie chose Incognita, by Ian Bernhard of Auckland, as the most innovative garment, giving it the WOW Factor Award. Renewal, by Alexa Cach, Miodrag Guberinic and Corey Gomes, won the First-Time Entrant Award. The Knight by Jiawen Gan of the Beijing Institute of Fashion Technology won the Student Innovation Award. The Sustainability Award, recognizing the protection of our environment and the use of materials that would otherwise be discarded, was won by Bernise Milliken of Auckland, for Grandeer. Digital Stealth Gods, by Dylan Mulder of Wellington, won the Wearable Technology Award. The Wellington International Award, given to the best international entry, was won by Daisy May Collingridge of Woldingham, Surrey, England, for Lippydeema. Collingridge also won the UK–Europe Design Award with this entry.
   Khepri, by Miodrag Guberinic and Alexa Cach of New York, NY, won the Americas Design Award. Yu Tan of Shanghai won the Asia Design Award with The Renaissance Happens Again, while Cascade, by Victoria Edgar of Geelong, Victoria, won the Australia and South Pacific Design Award.
   The David Jones New Zealand Design Award was won by Voyage to Revolution, by Carolyn Gibson of Auckland.
   The Cirque du Soleil Performance Art Costume Award, chosen by Denise Tétreault, Costumes Lifecycle and Creative Spaces Director of the Cirque du Soleil, was won by Digital Stealth Gods, by Dylan Mulder. Mulder receives prize money, flights and accommodation for a one-month internship at Cirque du Soleil’s headquarters in Montréal, Québec.
   WOW runs in Wellington, New Zealand, through to October 9, and will be seen by 58,000 people live during its run. It employs over 350 cast and crew.
   This year, 133 entries by 163 designers (some worked in pairs) were received, competing for a prize pool of NZ$165,000.



WOW


Renascence, by Yuru Ma and Siyu Fang, Shanghai.


Mai (I), by Pritam Singh and Vishnu Ramesh, Gujarat.


Queen Angel, by Adam McAlavey, London.


Baroque Star, by Natasha English and Tatyanna Meharry, Christchurch, New Zealand.


Princess Niwareka, by Maria Tsopanaki and Dimitri Mavinis, London.


Come Fly with Me, by Julian Hartzog, Tarpon Springs, Fla.


Incognita, by Ian Bernhard, at AUT, Auckland.


Renewal, by Alexa Cach, Miodrag Guberinic and Corey Gomes.


Grandeer, by Bernise Milliken, Auckland.


Digital Stealth Gods, by Dylan Mulder, Wellington.


Lippydeema, by Daisy May Collingridge, Woldingham, Surrey.


Khepri, by Miodrag Guberinic and Alexa Cach, New York.


The Renaissance Happens Again, by Yu Tan, Shanghai.


Cascade by Victoria Edgar, Geelong, Victoria.


Voyage to Revolution by Carolyn Gibson, Auckland.

August 19, 2016

Miss Universe New Zealand beauty secrets: how to look like a contestant

Bhavana Bhim/2.24




Alan Raga/www.alanraga.com

Above: Semifinalist Mia Hofsteede and finalists Seresa Lapaz and Elizabeth Lorimer with some of the products Miss Universe New Zealand contestants received.

Have you ever wanted to embody the flair and confidence of a Miss Universe contestant? Well now you can as we have access to some of the beauty products given to the 2016 New Zealand semi-finalists. The finalists, meanwhile, enjoyed the products while on retreat and they’ll be using them as they near the Grand Final on September 3 at Auckland’s Skycity Theatre. All the stress and drama of pageants need not be fretted over when you are gifted with a range of products to rejuvenate the body and the soul.
   Of course all the smiling and speaking will eventually dry out your mouth, so it makes sense to use the Living Nature Lip Hydrator. It is an advanced lip balm in a stick to make it practical and easy to apply to the lips. The Lip Hydrator contains the active ingredient of manuka honey, along with an infusion of  butters and oils to deeply hydrate and condition the lips while mica gives lips a healthy sheen, along with natural sun protection. If you want universal nourishment then give the lip hydrator a go.
   Do you desire the luscious locks of the contestants? Then why not try the Juuce Reviva Cream, in Argan Shimmer and Knot Knotty. These products are bound to nourish the scalp and give your hair some flair.
   The skin of a contestant needs to be primed and ready for the cameras, so it makes sense for them to use the Body Shop’s Pink Grapefruit Body Lotion (60 ml). It is light and easily absorbed into the skin, with a zesty citrus scent to revitalize the senses.
   They also received products from the Samala Cosmetics line, from one of New Zealand’s most respected make-up artists and educators, Samala Robinson, bottles of 1Above—the Flight Drink, which helped finalists stay refreshed on their return flight to the Philippines for their retreat, and coconut water from UFC Refresh, a natural drink that helps keep skin looking good from the inside.
   They relax and unwind with Lipidol oils, designed to purify the skin with natural herbs. After a hard day’s work, it makes sense for the girls to use Lipidol products.
   There you have it, the secret to looking good. When in doubt give these products a go to give yourself a glamour boost.—Bhavana Bhim






Alan Raga/www.alanraga.com


Casey Pattinson

Above: Semifinalist Mia Hofsteede and Casey Pattinson, and finalists Tania Dawson, Seresa Lapaz, Elizabeth Lorimer with some of the products Miss Universe New Zealand contestants received.

August 11, 2016

A renewed energy for the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Giselle

Jack Yan/14.51


Stephen A’Court

Every opportunity to see the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Giselle is a renewed pleasure. First performed in 2012, and garnering a great review from this publication for its outstanding choreography and production. Conceived in Wellington four years ago by then RNZB artistic director Ethan Stiefel, with Johan Kobborg, Giselle has become one of the company’s signature ballets, performed in China, the US, the UK, and Italy.
   What was astonishing was being able to enjoy Giselle as though we had never seen the 2012 première: there was a freshness about the latest performance, despite our being familiar with the story. On opening night, Qi Huan, who had retired from the RNZB to teach at the New Zealand School of Dance, returned to take up the role of Albrecht, which we saw him perform in 2012. The years since his 2014 departure haven’t diminished his skills one iota: the ballerino still has a star quality that places him a cut above so many, and his entrechats in the second act showed the power and grace that we have come to expect from someone who has mastered his craft. Also performing Albrecht on other occasions is Daniel Gaudiello, former principal dancer of the Australian Ballet, who is similarly acclaimed.
   Lucy Green took the title role on opening night and it was her youthfulness that gave Giselle a fresh take; the drama of Giselle descending into madness in the first act was so well done that one couldn’t help but sympathize with her character’s pain. Her pas de deux with Huan were exquisite and romantic.
   Also of note was the extensive pointe work by the Wilis in the second act, which demonstrated that the RNZB remains on top of its game.
   Jacob Chown’s Hilarion and Mayu Tanigaito’s Myrtha deserve mention in supporting roles: the dancing by both performers was integral to the story and Chown’s battle with the Wilis was emotionally done; Tanigaito kept the pace of the less plot-driven second act going with intricate skill till we saw what had happened to Giselle and Albrecht. Tanigaito also plays Giselle in performances where Gaudiello is Albrecht, and it’s not hard to see her take on the role with aplomb.
   Stiefel returned to Wellington to fine-tune the production, working with his successor, Francesco Ventriglia, who was responsible for the casting of Huan and Gaudiello.
   Marc Taddei conducted Orchestra Wellington, also giving the performance a new energy, performing the full-length score by Adolphe Adam. He will also conduct the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra when Giselle reaches those cities.
   Giselle opened in Wellington on August 11, before touring to Napier, Christchurch, Dunedin, Auckland, Rotorua, and Palmerston North, where the season concludes on September 9. Full details are at the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s website, rnzb.org.nz.—Jack Yan, Publisher

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