The Royal New Zealand Ballet kicks off 2016 with Speed of Light, a mixed bill of three works, to feature at the New Zealand Festival and the Auckland Arts’ Festival, before touring the South Island. It marks the first programme put together by Francesco Ventriglia since he joined the company in 2014.
The first work is William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, originally commissioned by Rudolf Nureyev for the Paris Opéra Ballet in 1987. It will be the RNZB’s first time dancing this ballet, and the second time it has been performed in New Zealand. Ventriglia himself was once selected by Forsythe to dance one of the lead roles at La Scala in Milano. The music of J. S. Bach accompanies this ballet; Julien Tarride created the composition and sound design.
The second work is Andonis Foniadakis’ Selon désir, which the RNZB performed when on tour in the UK and Italy in 2015. New Zealand audiences will see the company give this Selon désir its New Zealand première this work during the New Zealand Festival. Music is by Thom Willems in collaboration with Les Stuck, staging by Thierry Guiderdoni, and technical supervision by Tanja Rühl.
Finally, Alexander Ekman’s Cacti, makes up the third work, with the New Zealand String Quartet joining the RNZB. A parody of contemporary dance’s excesses, Ekman created this work for 16 dancers in 2010. It has been nominated for a Swan Award in Holland for best new dance production, the Critics’ Circle Award and an Olivier Award. Lighting and co-set design are by Tom Visser, music is by Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, and staging by Ana Lucaciu.
Dates for Speed of Light are: Wellington, February 26 to 28 inclusive; Auckland, March 2–6; Christchurch, March 10–12; Dunedin, March 16. For booking information, visit www.rnzb.org.nz.
The world première of the Ryman Healthcare Season of The Wizard of Oz is May 4 in Wellington, choreographed by Francesco Ventriglia, with music by Francis Poulenc, and design by Gianluca Falaschi.