Royal New Zealand Ballet brings a sweeping 2022 season to the stage


Venus Rising - Waterbaby Bagatelles

Swan Lake

Royal New Zealand Ballet brings a sweeping 2022 season to the stage

The Royal New Zealand Ballet 2022 season comprises two glorious 'story ballets’ and two dazzling programmes of shorter works. Ballets and productions by some of the country’s – and the world’s – most respected choreographers will touch down in theatres across the country from February, including the RNZB’s long-awaited return to their beloved home, Wellington’s splendid St James.

Venus Rising, the first of the mixed-bill works, will arrive in February, in the spirit of the brightest of stars, and herald of the dusk and of the dawn. The programme features three extraordinary short works by inspiring and internationally celebrated choreographers and will delight audiences in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland.

Taking centrestage in five centres through May and June is an opulent, shimmering production of Swan Lake. Guided by New Zealand ballet legend Russell Kerr’s 1996 production, this timeless ballet will uplift the dramatic and technical brilliance of a new generation of RNZB dancers, while celebrating the company’s rich past and bright future. 

RNZB Artistic Director Patricia Barker says, “When you mention ballet, many people think immediately of Swan Lake. It is truly iconic and we are thrilled to collaborate with a New Zealand ballet luminary in Russell Kerr, and with support from our colleagues from the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra in Wellington, the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra.”

The Ryman Healthcare Season of Cinderella (August to September) reunites the dream team of Loughlan Prior and Claire Cowan (Hansel & Gretel), fashioning a brand-new ballet which will vibrantly reopen Wellington’s St James Theatre before heading off on a national tour.sFeisty, funny, fizzy and fabulous, Cinderella is choreographed by master storyteller Prior (The Firebird) and set to a magical new score by boundary-pushing composer and performer Cowan, with fashion-forward designs by Emma Kingsbury and lighting by Jeremy Fern.

Expect the unexpected as highs, lows, fairy-tale endings and happy-ever-afters spill from the stage in every shade of the rainbow. Prior sprinkles a sparky, stylish twist on the classic tale, with a heroine who knows her own mind and a hero who follows his heart.

Finally, the RNZB will welcome summer with New Zealand’s favourite Tutus on Tour, which spins into 11 theatres across Aotearoa from October.

Patricia Barker says, “The last 18 months have uncovered many truths about people in a crisis, with one of the most significant being how much we turn to the arts for escapism and joy. The arts have helped New Zealanders through lockdowns, recover from lockdowns, and helped us all realise one of the things we celebrate and hold most dear - connecting through art and performance brings people together in the most fulfilling and beautiful ways.”



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