Excerpts from reviews of the New Zealand School of Dance Graduation Season in 2016
This year’s program for New Zealand School of Dance’s graduation season is appropriately diverse, reflecting the two streams of study (classical and contemporary dance) offered at the school. The contemporary dance students featured in three group works, 'He Taonga – A Gift' (choreographed by Taiaroa Royal and Taane Mete – leaders of Okareka Dance Company), 'Incant' (choreographed by Amber Haines), and in an excerpt of Hofesh Shechter’s 'Political Mother'.
...The evening finished on a romantic note with 'Tempo di Valse', a short work choreographed by Nadine Tyson and set to the well-known "Waltz of the Flowers" from Tchaikovsky’s 'Nutcracker'. You can’t go wrong with Tchaikovsky and 'Tempo di Valse' brought the New Zealand School of Dance’s 2016 graduation performance to a melodious close. Next year is the school’s 50th anniversary and as part of the celebrations the 2017 graduation performance will move from the Te Whaea Theatre on the school’s campus to St James Theatre in the heart of Wellington.
Geraldine Higginson, Dance Australia
Skilful execution by tomorrow’s stars
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.
...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, Lucire
Utter Commitment from NZSD Dancers
...The two stand-out works in the evening, for me - one contemporary - one classical, were 'Incant' by Amber Haines and 'Dance Gallantries' by Jiri Bubenicek. 'Incant' was made for and danced by a strong ensemble of women and had real invention, relevance and a mesmerising ownership by each dancer psychologically and physically. They were feisty individuals but on this planet together and the binds were strong. As I write images still hold clear in my mind. 'Dance Gallantries' set to Bach Sonatas and Partitas was a premiere work made on these students using a neo classical sense of style and drawing on classical vocabulary but feeling from another era. These dancers of today were totally in the music and the work. The perennial ballet fascination with coy, naive, unfulfilled, sexual attraction was taken over by a cast of young dancers absolutely in their technique and loving it. Particularly of note were the trio (George Liang, Jessica Fan and Jeremie Gan) and the joyous solo work by Mali Comlekci.
Deirdre Tarrant, Theatreview
Stunning Dance Performances
Each year the standard of the students graduating from the New Zealand School of Dance just seems to get better.
This year the array of talent on stage is stunning. As well as the third year students, those in the second and first years also participate in this production.
...What a pleasure it was to see again the powerful work 'He Taonga – A Gift', choreographed by Taiaroa Royal and Taane Mete of Okareka Dance Company. First performed at the School for Graduation 2009, it has lost none of its impact. To music by Whirimako Black and Aleksandra Vrebalov, it has a mysterious, ritualistic quality that is very compelling. Garbed in long split skirts, which move beautifully with the body, the fourteen male dancers all give passionate performances and are all very evenly matched.
...Another world premiere and certainly an evening highlight is the delightful and aptly named 'Dance Gallantries'. Choreographed by Jiri Bubenicek, with costume designs by his twin brother Otto Bubenicek, this pure movement work emphasises the beautiful innocence of the young dancers. It also allows their different personalities to emerge.
Ann Hunt, Kapiti Independent
This NZSD Graduation season has all the students performing with a shared confidence and total commitment that offers audiences an energising experience.
...The 'Pas de Deux Romantique' by Jack Carter, from 1977, to Rossini, is staged by Patricia Rianne and Qi Huan. Mayuri Hashimoto and Jeremie Gan perform with a competence and grace that disguises all technical challenges and becomes a joy in motion. Uplifting.
...'Incant' – summoning the lost magic of intuition, by Amber Haines, for an all-female cast, proves an enigmatic work exploring things felt and known in the shadow world. Atmospheric.
Jennifer Shennan, Michelle Potter On Dancing
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