Excerpts from reviews of the New Zealand School of Dance ONCE Solo Season in 2017.
...Congratulations to the New Zealand School of Dance and to Paula Steeds-Huston who directed this season and who heads the contemporary programme, and to technical designer Glenn Ashworth who set the stage for these students and supported them with interesting and innovative lighting throughout. So much talent and the world is out there waiting. This programme served another purpose as it connected the industry to the students. This is essential and a great concept to pave the way forward for these graduating dancers of 2017. Thank you. Well done. Go - dance.
Deirdre Tarrant, Theatreview
This exciting and exacting programme of solo dances is by ten different choreographers, all of whom are graduates of the New Zealand School of Dance over the last fifty years of the School's existence. The production is part of the honouring celebrations of its fiftieth anniversary. Each work was created for one contemporary dance student who will graduate later this year. Thus, the baton of the School's extraordinary legacy is passed from previous generations to the present and we see the line of excellence handed down.
The choreographers demand much of these dancers, all of whom are stage-ready for professional performance, and more than meet the challenges presented to them. The season is ably directed by Paula Steeds-Huston with her usual flair and experience. Production Designer and Dramaturg is Glenn Ashworth who has re-configured the auditorium in a most innovative way, giving it a fresh, modern appearance, while the redoubtable Donna Jefferis supervised costume construction.The rectangle of stage is well lit (also by Ashworth,) and in the beginning, all the dancers briefly appear, before leaving the stage for the first performance.
Ann Hunt, Theatreview
This year is the 50th anniversary since the founding of New Zealand School of Dance (formerly National School of Ballet). It is an inspired idea to mark that by inviting 10 graduates from across the decades to choreograph solos for current students in the contemporary dance stream. The program, Once, is being performed for a season 8–16 September.
To open, all ten performers stand to frame the space, they depart into the shadows, and only the first performer is left. Between items the last dancer links with the next one, in a metaphorical handing on of a baton across the generations.
Jennifer Shennan, Michelle Potter... On Dancing
The New Zealand School of Dance celebrates its half-century existence in this performance event by linking 10 graduating students with a selection of alumni choreographers spanning each of its 5 decades. The result is 10 short solos showcasing 10 exceptional dancers. In this review, I do not wish to focus on the choreographers, I simply wish to acknowledge each of the dancers. But first, something about the NZSD.
Chris Jannides, Theatreview
So you think you can dance? 80% of people say yes, 10% quietly believe they can (me), and the other 10% embrace the knowledge that they can’t. Wherever you are on the spectrum of dance capabilities, I’m sure you cannot dance like those performing in ONCE.
The New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) 50th anniversary show celebrates ten dances created by graduates from five decades of the school, performed by ten contemporary dance students who graduate in 2017.
Emilie Hope, Salient