Reading Material: behind-the-scenes blogs & music editing

by Nadine Armiger


Ballet Buzz: tour blogs from Team Alpha and Team Beta.

Photo by  Tonia Looker .

Photo by Tonia Looker.

It's true, I never shut up about the Royal New Zealand Ballet (they're awesome, haven't you heard?). At the moment the company is split into two teams touring the whole of New Zealand, and each team has a blog you can follow.

The lovely Tonia Looker (known in our house as either 'Sleeping-Beauty-and-Cinderella' or 'my Facebook friend Tonia') (hehe) has a fabulous blog right here. Gorgeous pics, fascinating behind-the-scenes stories, and lovely discussions in the comments. The pointe shoe post is particularly interesting!

Photo by  Tonia Looker .

Photo by Tonia Looker.

The blog from Team Beta is so cute! There are a LOT of exclamation marks and endearing English-as-a-second-language expressions. I've heard Kohei and Dimitri are behind this one . . .

Photo from  betatinz .

Photo from betatinz.

Dancers seem to be slightly obsessed with their shoes and their feet . .  ;)

Photo from  betatinz .

Photo from betatinz.

Teacher Talk: How to edit music in GarageBand. (tutorial)

Photo from  The Dance Buzz .

Photo from The Dance Buzz.

I use this excellent video tutorial when it's concert season (because I can't remember how to edit music from one year to the next!). Under the video there is also a written transcript with screenshots - it's really easy to follow and extremely helpful. Thank you to The Dance Buzz!

Got any favourite dance websites you'd like to share? Tell me on Facebook here or here.

- Nadine


RNZB's Tutus on Tour

by Nadine Armiger


Tutus---web-homepage-2.jpg

I love the RNZB and I never miss a show (except for that one time I had swine flu and missed 'Carmen' . . ) I took my 11-yr-old along to Q Theatre to catch Team Beta's show, and the following weekend I took my birthday-girl self to Green Bay to see Team Alpha. I love that this year I was able to see both teams; in the past there has been a a North Island team and a South Island team, but this year I got to see everybody! 

With only 16 dancers per team, the casts are obviously a lot smaller and the venues are small too, which suits me fine as I love sitting in the front row and seeing everything in glorious close-up.

Photo by Evan Li.

Photo by Evan Li.

The format was straightforward - five pas de deux in the first half, and 'Peter and the Wolf' in the second half (a new work, choreographed by Brendan Bradshaw and Catherine Eddy).

Cat and Brendan in rehearsal. Photo by  Steven A'Court .

Cat and Brendan in rehearsal. Photo by Steven A'Court.

I wanted to share some of my highlights . .  (I googled as hard as I could, however the pictures match the works, but unfortunately not the dancers! Evan Li, you photographic wizard, get yourself a website and help a sister out!)

I loved the partnership of Abigail Boyle and Dimitri Kleioris dancing 'Charlie' - both these dancers are such powerful, charismatic performers, and pairing them together was spine-tingling. I've heard someone describe the choreography of this 2001 duet as dated, and maybe that's true, but it didn't matter! 

Maree and Loughlan in 'Charlie' - photo Evan Li.

Maree and Loughlan in 'Charlie' - photo Evan Li.

Mayu Tanigaito and Arata Miyagawa did the Don Q wedding pas de deux and absolutely nailed it! Ballet is so hard and so risky, and their assured, confident performance was dazzling.

Clytie and Brendan in 'Don Q' - photo Evan LI.

Clytie and Brendan in 'Don Q' - photo Evan LI.

Tonia Looker and Rory Fairweather-Neylan did a brilliant job in Flower Festival. They were cute and happy and made all the tricky Bournonville choreography look easy. Just lovely!

Kohei and Mayu in 'Flower Festival' - photo by Evan Li.

Kohei and Mayu in 'Flower Festival' - photo by Evan Li.

Antonia Hewitt and Qi Huan were stunning in Through to You - they seemed completely immersed in the music and each other. Because I go to a lot of matinees, I don't see Qi dance lead very often. He is amazingly good: strong, expressive, controlled.

Qi Huan in 'Through to You' - photo by Evan Li.

Qi Huan in 'Through to You' - photo by Evan Li.

And it is always a treat to watch Jacob Chown busting out all his spectacular jumps! The sweat was flying in the Don Q pas de deux, and of course I was in the front row, but Hayley's mum told me that as long as I kept my mouth shut I'd be fine . .  ;)

Jake and Lucy in 'Flower Festival' - photo by Evan Li.

Jake and Lucy in 'Flower Festival' - photo by Evan Li.

Peter and the Wolf was so much fun! The humour had us all in fits of laughter, the modern touches were very clever, the characterisation was great, and Te Radar was awesome! I thought he'd just be parked in a corner narrating, but he had heaps to do.

I was also lucky enough to see Team Alpha doing company class, which was led by Qi. He did a great job, but every time he made a mistake with the counts the dancers all laughed! I love watching class, it's endlessly fascinating to me as a teacher, and my legs always twitch involuntarily because my muscles think they should be dancing too . . It was very special to be able to have quick chats with Qi, Tonia and Brendan afterwards. You people are awesome! Love your work!

(Can't believe I have to wait SIX MONTHS until I get to see Coppelia . . . )

Have you seen the show? What did you think? Let me know on Facebook here or here.

- Nadine


Blogcademy: Auckland 2013!

by Nadine Armiger


9 - 10 November 2013

I've known Gala Darling for years (since 2007!) and when the Blogcademy got off to a roaringly successful start and I asked her if I'd ever get the chance to attend a session in the Antipodes, I was told to 'watch this space!'

I immediately started saving up for a trip across the Tasman, so imagine my delight when the Blogcademy headmistresses announced an Auckland date!

Photo by  Jel Photography ; ears by  Crown and Glory .

Photo by Jel Photography; ears by Crown and Glory.

As a mate, I was more than happy to help out in whatever way I could, which put me in charge of goodie bags. Exciting parcels began arriving at my house from glamorous locations (Greece! Cornwall! sunny Nelson!), and I had to stack them unopened in my bedroom for months to keep them safe from nosey, sticky-fingered children . . 

The day before, when the coast was clear, I opened everything and it was just like Christmas! Glitter and prettiness everywhere! (I actually ironed the canvas goodie bags before packing them, because I'm a nerd . . . )

Photo by me.

Photo by me.

On day 1, after an early morning start with my gorgeous Fresh and Flawless friend Lauren, I trekked into the big city and found a park . . . (Bit stressful! Not my forte!) I met up with Gala at the top of the stairs for a big hug, then quickly introduced myself to Kat and Shauna. I had no time to be starstruck, but oh! What gorgeous glamorous girls! In Aotearoa in person! Wow!

Kat and Gala helped me bring the goodie bags in (to be honest they did most of the heavy lifting), then sent me off to Look Sharp on Victoria Street to get the giant silver 'B' balloons filled with helium. Of course the end result of that was me galloping down Queen St as fast as my little legs could carry me at 10 o'clock in the morning, carrying two HUGE helium balloons. Everyone was totally looking at me. Lucky I'm not shy!

I got back just after 10, and most of the blogcadettes were already there. I had my 'glow' on after my Queen St dash, so snuck a seat in the back row to catch my breath. In the end Leonie Barlow ended up taking the seat next to me! (She's quite well-known and SUPER-charming.)

The actual workshop itself was PHENOMENAL. I went because a) it's my buddy Gala! and b) I thought it might be useful to me as a small business owner. (Spoiler: it was.) But I also thought there might be a fair bit of blog-specific content that wasn't relevant to me . . . and I was wrong! It was ALL incredibly useful and inspiring. There is SO MUCH that I could be doing.  

The headmistresses were so polished and professional, all three very comfortable speaking to a group, clearly on a roll as a well-oiled machine. They are all gorgeous, entertaining and relatable - what a combo!

Photo by me.

Photo by me.

My fellow blogcadettes were all so awesome! What a bunch of ridiculously cool chicks! Plenty of different backgrounds, locations, industries and age-groups, but all of them such fascinating, enthusiastic and inspiring ladies. Not to mention Lyn the official videographer who wowed me with her wisdom, and Eleanor the official photographer who I had such fun chatting with (it was a very wide-ranging conversation, but the topic of BBC Sherlock did come up . . . ).

And yes! The Blogcademy is back in AKL in 2014, and yes! You should totally go!

Shauna: Your depth of knowledge is simply staggering, and my what beautiful eyes you have! 

Kat: You have taught me so much, and you are HILARIOUS.

Gala: You are a professional life-changer and I will forever be grateful that you helped me follow my dream. I love you!

- Nadine


RNZB - Made to Move

by Nadine Armiger


8 - 9 March 2013. 

SUCH a good weekend! My dearly loved national ballet company was in town and I was there doing my devoted fangirl thing. 

Poster girl Antonia Hewitt, from the RNZB's Instagram feed.

Poster girl Antonia Hewitt, from the RNZB's Instagram feed.

There were 3 brand new short works, and while the first one didn't really do it for me, I loved 'Of Days' choreographed by Andrew Simmons of 'A Song In The Dark' fame (oooh, that one is GOOD!).  Simple, beautiful, four boys and four girls including my number-one favourite dancer, the amazingly expressive Brendan Bradshaw. The were long moments of silence while the dancers kept on dancing - it was magical and powerful. There was also a moment when my three 'leading ladies' (Abigail Boyle, Tonia Looker, Antonia Hewitt) whom I've been watching for years, performed a trio together - so special.

Tickets & 'Listener' review.

'Bier Halle' choreographed by Ethan Stiefel of international megastardom fame was SO MUCH FUN. Loved the comedy, the stunts, the slapstick, the flirting, the drinking, the informality and the energy. Plus Dimitri Kleioris is such a freakin' rock star! Great dancing and massive charisma.  

Yes, I went to the stage door afterwards for autographs. Yes, I am a total fangirl, I know, shush.  (You know it's just an excuse to talk to the dancers.) I spoke to Lucy Balfour, Ginny Gan, Lucy Green, Qi Huan, Kohei Iwamoto, Dimitri Kleioris, Helio Lima, Gillian Murphy (yes, THAT Gillian Murphy), Loughlan Prior, Harry Skinner, Matthew Slattery and Maree White. Good times!  :)

Invitation to watch the RNZB's company class.

And on Sunday afternoon I watched the company class. It was SO good! (Seriously, if I lived in Wellington I would be such a stalker.)  It was awesome to see everyone all together, no A-cast/B-cast situation, and great to see all the boys and girls doing the same stuff. I was totally fascinated! And Qi Huan recognised me from the night before . . 

 

Everyone go and see Swan Lake in August, OK? I'll take you to the company class as well if you like.  :)

- Nadine