Russell Kerr (1930–2022) Scripting the Dreams

…Prior. An unprecedented season happened in 1993 when Russell cast Douglas Wright, the country’s leading contemporary dancer, in the title role of Petrouchka. He claimed Wright’s performances challenged the legendary Nijinsky. An annual series named in his honour, The Russell Kerr Lecture in Ballet & Related Arts, saw the 2021 session about his own life and career movingly delivered by his lifelong colleague and friend, Anne Rowse. The lecture was…

Reading during Wellington Lockdown

…atre in Taiwan, my all-time favourite contemporary dance company (now that Douglas Wright has gone) was also founded by Lin Hwai-Min in the same year as Neumeier’s company, in 1973. The repertoire of both companies has been exclusively of their choreographer/director’s works. These are phenomenal periods of longevity in performance arts and demonstrate that dance companies can survive on artistic genius with administration serving that vision, rat…

Orbiculus. New Zealand School of Dance Choreographic Season

…ch a lost art? There are models to study, some to emulate, some to eschew. Douglas Wright probably produced the best program copy I’ve encountered—pithy, poetic, themed; locally, Lucy Marinkovich and Sasha Copland know how to write about what they’ve choreographed; then there’s Cloud Gate, and Hamburg Ballet, and the weekly listings of events in The New Yorker that capture mercurial dance in wondrously lucid precis. Words about dance matter becaus…

Black Swan, White Swan. Royal New Zealand Ballet

…and it comes at a price, a bit like an ad break. Diaghilev and Stravinsky, Douglas Wright and Lin Hwai Min knew how to choreograph for the theatre without inviting, or even allowing, applause in fits and starts. I was waiting and wondering how the themes might coalesce by the end, enjoying anticipation of that, but will confess I found the sudden dumping from a great height of a large bucket of water onto both Siegfried and von Rothbart, was a sur…

New Directions at New Zealand Dance Company

…, Graeme Murphy; the major directorship of the Company by Harry Haythorne; Douglas Wright works in Sydney Dance Company—and numerous other visits and exchanges in both directions—most recently by New Zealand Dance Company.   The appointment of the new directors to NZDC, including Australian James O’Hara, thus has an inbuilt thread which could see further weaving between performers and audiences in the trans-Tasman Bubble. Chances to view the globa…

Giselle. The Royal Ballet

…in Australia in 2002 during the Royal Ballet’s tour that year. I like that Wright’s research into the historical background of the ballet has informed the work, especially in relation to character development. The current season by the Royal Ballet confirms my conviction that Wright’s production is an exceptional one. Sarah Lamb as Giselle and Ryoichi Hirano as Albrecht perhaps don’t reach the emotional heights of others I have seen in these roles…

The Nutcracker on film. The Australian Ballet

…all the dances, Arabian, Chinese, Russian and so forth, according to Peter Wright’s vision for the role. Benedicte Bemet as Clara with artists of the Australian Ballet in The Nutcracker, 2014. Photo: © Jeff Busby Ingrid Gow was also impressive as Clara’s mother where I could not help but notice how expressively she used her arms, especially in her dance with Clara’s father (Brett Simon). Andrew Killian made his presence felt as the occasionally fr…

Dance diary. January 2015

…5 (Update May 2019: Online links to articles published prior to mid 2015 in The Canberra Times are no longer available) ‘Vibrant, expressive show.’ Review Dancing for the gods, Chitrasena Dance Company, The Canberra Times, 19 January 2015, ARTS p. 6. ‘In the WRIGHT frame of mind.’ Profile of Sam Young-Wright of Sydney Dance Company, The Canberra Times, ‘Panorama’, 24 January 2015, pp. 10–11. ‘A classic in its own right.’ Preview of Graeme Murphy’s…

Dance diary. July 2018

…ey Dance Company to pursue their professional careers, including Sam Young Wright now dancing in Germany with Jacopo Godani’s Dresden Frankfurt Dance Company. Other alumni include Daniel Riley now dancing with and choreographing for Bangarra Dance Theatre, Jack Ziesing formerly with Expressions Dance Company, now with Dancenorth, and James Batchelor, independent artist. Bonachela has recognised the qualities of alumni of QL2 saying: It is an honou…

Reliving the past

…the father, Kerry-Anne Gilberd the mother, Kim Broad the son, with Warren Douglas powerfully leading the haka that challenged a love interest across the racial divide. It’s always intriguing to think about what keeps some dance memories alive for decades while others fade. Kerry-Anne Gilberd and Stephen McTaggart in a scene from Tell Me a Tale. Royal New Zealand Ballet, 1988. Photographer not identified. Courtesy Gray Veredon In 1989, Haythorne c…