'Giselle: The Movie' on DVD

by Nadine Armiger


Gillian Murphy and Qi Huang.

Gillian Murphy and Qi Huang.

Yay, this movie is now available on DVD, and of course I wasted no time in getting my sticky paws on my very own copy. (I bought it here.)

Abigail Boyle as Myrtha.

Abigail Boyle as Myrtha.

Director Toa Fraser and DOP Leon Narbey have done a brilliant job, capturing a very respectful yet fresh and artistic interpretation of the Ethan Stiefel/Johan Kobborg staging, performed by the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 2012.

Toa Fraser and Ethan Steifel.

Toa Fraser and Ethan Steifel.

Plus it has EXTRAS - woohoo! Here are a few snippets from the cast and crew interviews:

"What we aimed for right from day one is to make something that is beautiful, that is respectful and reverential of this classic ballet."  - Matthew Metcalfe, producer.

"I was working with two incredible actors as much as dancers."  - Toa Fraser, director.

"To have that captured on film from a live performance is a rare thing in the ballet world. A lot of what we do is ephemeral - we perform and you either were there or you weren't, which is part of the beauty of our art, but it's also bittersweet."  -Gillian Murphy, 'Giselle'.

'It's me being that character. I can become the character, rather than try to pretend to be the character."  -Qi Huan, 'Albrecht'.

'A lot of people think that [the good guy] is Hilarion and a lot of other people think that it's Albrecht. I think that the good guy is Giselle! It's just lovely how even though she was hurt deeply, she could still forgive."  - Abigail Boyle, 'Myrtha'.

The powerful Act 2 pas de deux was filmed in a small intimate studio.

The powerful Act 2 pas de deux was filmed in a small intimate studio.

When I saw this production live, I saw it with a different cast: Antonia Hewitt as Giselle, Andrew Bowman as Albrecht, Lucy Balfour as Myrtha (I miss you and your gorgeous dancing, Lucy!), and Dimitri Kleioris as Hilarion. They were all BRILLIANT, so it was fascinating to see the same roles performed in the movie by other dancers. The movie cast are also absolutely brilliant, but quite different. It amazes me that such a tightly prescribed artform as ballet still produces such unique results depending on who is dancing each role.

I just  love  Act 1 of Giselle. I think in a past life I must have been a village peasant. ;)

I just love Act 1 of Giselle. I think in a past life I must have been a village peasant. ;)

The RNZB are taking this production on tour to the USA in early 2014, and rehearsals are already underway. 

Aww, the feels . . 

Aww, the feels . . 

Do you know the BEST thing about watching ballet at home on DVD? We can talk! We usually yell out dancers' names ('Helio!'  'Tonia!') whenever they appear in shot (I think this could become the basis of a drinking game, actually . . ) Or we supply dialogue: "How about a kiss, baby? Go on!' etc etc. Very silly, I know, but too hard to resist!

Tell me - did you see this production live? Have you seen the movie? Are you planning to buy yourself the DVD for Christmas? Let me know here or here.

- Nadine


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


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