Royal New Zealand Ballet - Venus Rising


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Four extraordinary works, by inspirational and internationally renowned choreographers, capture the spirit and power of Venus Rising – brightest of stars, herald of the dusk and of the dawn – in New Zealand theatres this winter.

Twyla Tharp is one of the world’s greatest living choreographers, whose works for ballet companies around the world, for Hollywood (Hair, Amadeus, White Nights) and for Broadway (Singin’ in the Rain, Movin’ Out) have transfixed a global audience of dance lovers for more than four decades.

Tharp’s Waterbaby Bagatelles was made for Boston Ballet in 1994 and has never been seen in New Zealand. 27 dancers leap and spin across the stage in an ever-changing ocean of light; the music flowing seamlessly as groups of dancers sparkle and glow as if dancing through the stars, galaxies of movement reflected in an undulating sea.

Meditative and moving, described by the Fjord Review as ‘incandescent as liquid gold’, Alice Topp’s award-winning Aurum is inspired by the Japanese art of kintsugi, the practice of mending cracks in precious ceramics with gold, creating a new whole which celebrates the beauty of the broken. Aurum slowly reveals its inner light against a background of illuminated fissures as white-clad dancers ebb and flow across the stage.

Aurum was premiered by The Australian Ballet in Melbourne in 2018 and has already dazzled audiences in Australia and the USA. Created with the support of a Rudolf Nureyev Prize for New Dance from the Joyce Theatre in New York, it received the prestigious Helpmann Award for the best ballet presented in Australia in 2018. We are delighted to welcome Alice Topp, who began her career in New Zealand and is now resident choreographer with The Australian Ballet, back to the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

Venus Rising is completed by two new works made specially for the Royal New Zealand Ballet by leading international choreographers whose earlier works for the company have been acclaimed by audiences and loved by dancers. Andrea Schermoly, whose Stand to Reason was a stand out in 2018’s Strength & Grace and 2019’s Bold Moves, creates a work for the full company inspired by the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth.

Following the success of 2018’s Despite the Loss of Small Detail and 2019’s Artemis Rising, together with the acclaim for her revival of Orchids in 2019, Dunedin-born, Auckland-based Sarah Foster-Sproull has been named as the RNZB’s new Choreographer in Residence for 2020/21. She will create her third work for the Royal New Zealand Ballet, inspired by the baroque ‘La Folia’, as part of Venus Rising.