With COVID-19 still very much with us, the Royal New Zealand Ballet débuts an RNZB Screen programme this month, with 12 new works being presented virtually.
Each of the new dance films are around one hour long, available through paid streams (NZ$17 for a single collection, NZ$35 for all three, at rnzb.org.nz). They can be viewed between May 12 and 29, 2022.
RNZB artistic director Patricia Barker said, ‘The new RNZB Screen brand follows a two-year period in which our digital work has broken new ground in the arts in Aotearoa. While creating and converting work for the screen largely started as a response to the pandemic, it’s become something we have found to be hugely successful and for us creatively, boundary-pushing. It’s also a valuable tool for our RNZB Education team, with more than 30,000 school students engaging with our education activities online in the first four months of this year.
‘We like to think of our online collections as the “always on” part of our business, which sit happily alongside our on-stage work. So, even when we are not touring across the country, audiences can enjoy brilliant and beautiful ballet in their own time and stay connected with the RNZB.’
There are three collections. Shorts comprises five works by five choreographers, including RNZB choreographers in residence Loughlan Prior and Shaun James Kelly, filmed at ‘inspiring and unexpected locations around Pōneke and beyond.’
The five works are I Deeply Know by Levi Teachout and performed in Heather Straka’s Isolation Hotel at Canterbury Museum/SCAPE Public Art; Limirence by Annaliese Macdonald, performed within Janna van Hasselt’s Chromaflage at Dowse Art Museum; Alba choreographed by Kelly performed in the gardens of Government House; Prior’s Ultra Violet, performed while immersed in Tiffany Singh’s Total Internal Reflection at Te Papa Toi Art; and the new work, King of the Castle by Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson, set to ‘Lumino City (the Official Soundtrack)’ by Ed Gaps.
The second collection, Quartet, comprises four ballets which have been performed live on stage, but never on screen. These are Absence of Light, a new ballet by Alice Topp; and Within Without by Andrea Schermoly; Artemis Rising by Sarah Foster-Sproull; and Berceuse by Penny Saunders.
The third collection, Kaleidoscope, takes the opportunities afforded by the medium of film and plays with colour, perspective, animation and light. The ballets are Prior’s Scribble, performed by Ballet X; Saunders’ Alice, performed by Seattle Dance Company; and Schermoly’s Rite of Spring, performed by Louisville Ballet.