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The Royal New Zealand Ballet

The Royal New Zealand Ballet is a company of 32 dynamic dancers, performing an eclectic repertoire of outstanding dance, for national and international audiences, whilst continuing to build a style that is ultimately unique to this Company and Aotearoa, New Zealand.

The demands of their audience, particularly within New Zealand, mean that they present an eclectic repertoire of choreographic styles, from 19th century classics to 21st century contemporary works.

Their aim is to present dance of outstanding quality. They want to attract New Zealand and international dancers, choreographers and designers who will nurture and grow a company of international acclaim.

Their Company will have a unique reputation, and will be internationally acknowledged for pushing the boundaries, stretching the limits, and taking the art of classical ballet forward.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet was formed in 1953 by Danish Royal Ballet Principal Dancer Poul Gnatt. The company’s early days of touring embodied the New Zealand pioneering spirit. Performing night in night out, company members unloaded and repacked the set, rigged the lights and ironed the costumes, with local community members providing accommodation.

The spirit of those days survives, and the support of the New Zealand public remains. The Royal New Zealand Ballet is seen as an intrinsic part of the country’s national heritage, and has the largest following of all New Zealand performing arts companies.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet today has developed a reputation for strong characterisation in the staging of full-length dramatic works, which became a hallmark in the 1980s. To this base have been added the masterworks and major ballets of the 20th century, such as Balanchine’s works and the Stravinsky ballets.

The dancers of the Royal New Zealand Ballet possess a unique physical strength and versatility, and a well developed sense of individuality. New international and New Zealand choreography expresses these qualities and features prominently in the company’s repertoire.

In January 1998, the Royal New Zealand Ballet moved to its first ever permanent purpose built premises at Wellington’s Westpac St James Theatre.

Many freelance practitioners rely on the Ballet for occasional work, choreographic opportunities, technical advice, equipment hire and studio rental. The Ballet’s resident staff are available to advise opera and theatre organisations in technical and management matters.

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