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A night out at the ballet - from your couch

28 May 2021
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Put on your glad rags, pour yourself some bubbles and sit back on your couch to enjoy a night at the ballet. 

That's right, the Royal New Zealand Ballet will be screening free broadcasts of its recent performances via Facebook Premiere from tomorrow. 

First up will be a trip to Wellington's Opera House with RNZB's production of Hansel & Gretel, choreographed by Loughlan Prior, with an original score by Claire Cowan, designs by Kate Hawley, lighting by Jon Buswell and visual effects by POW Studios, was filmed live in November last year.

The cast includes Kirby Selchow and Shaun James Kelly in the title roles, Katharine Precourt as The Ice Cream Witch and Paul Mathews as her monstrous alter ego, The Witch Transformed. Nadia Yanowsky and Joseph Skelton play Hansel and Gretel’s loving but impoverished parents, Nathan Mennis portrays the otherworldly Sand Man and Allister Madin and Mayu Tanigaito dazzle as the King and Queen of the Dew Fairies. Orchestra Wellington is in the pit, under the baton of conductor Hamish McKeich.

The production will be broadcast three times over the weekend to enable audiences of all ages to enjoy performances: Friday 3 April at 7.30pm; Saturday 4 April at 1.30pm and Sunday 5 April at 10.30am. The performance lasts one hour and 45 minutes, plus a brief interval between the two acts to make a cup of coffee and grab a slice of gingerbread.

"Last year, audiences around New Zealand fell in love with our zany production of Hansel & Gretel," says RNZB Artistic Director Patricia Barker.

"Being faced with so much uncertainty as we are glued to our televisions for any good news, we at the RNZB thought we could all use a little extra sweetness and pick-me-up. We are so pleased to be able to share this special ballet, 100% made in New Zealand, with audiences again."

Alongside full productions, RNZB Education has put together digital resources for people of all ages staying at home. 

The company’s NCEA resources are available online, while the Ballet Masters and Dance Educators are developing online classes for the young and young at heart, online workshops for primary and secondary schools and balletic exercises for seniors, including dance moves and exercises which can be done sitting down.  Keep an eye on and social media for news and links.

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