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Ballet from home keeps residents en pointe

Written by Margot Taylor
on April 02, 2020

An invitation by the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) to get dressed up and take a front row seat in front of your laptop has got Auckland's Edmund Hillary Retirement Village resident Val Murray pliéing in her apartment.

To help keep the toes of ballet lovers en pointe during the COVID-19 crisis, the RNZB will broadcast the Ryman Healthcare Season of Hansel and Gretel online.

The breathtaking production, which transports audiences into a dark and fantastical world, will be the first of a series of free broadcasts offered by the RNZB.

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Val said news of the special screenings had come just at the right time.

“It really is an excellent idea because it brings ballet into the home.

“I normally teach two ballet classes a week and have been for two years now.

“The group is getting quite competent, but of course we have had to stop now, so the fact we can watch this performance really is wonderful.”

The ballet teacher of 60 years said some of her fellow residents had been striking ballet poses for her from their balconies, and she knew her 60 students would tune in to watch Hansel and Gretel again.

“It is a very different, but excellent ballet.

“The first act is a little dark, but very clever, and the second act is great for children.

“Putting it online like this also means a lot of little girls who would love to learn ballet, but can’t because it is too expensive, can watch it.

“They have made it accessible for everyone which I think is amazing.”

IMG_0947 (Large) YVal Murray (sixth from the left in the front row) with her ballet class and pianist William Green.

RNZB artistic director Patricia Barker said audiences fell in love with award winning choreographer-in-residence, Loughlan Prior’s “zany” production when it toured last year.

“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 percent made in New Zealand - with audiences again,” she said.

The otherworldly ballet will be broadcast three times during the weekend to make it accessible to as many audiences as possible: Friday 3 April at 7.30pm (NZDT), Saturday 4 April at 1.30pm (NZDT), and Sunday 5 April at 10.30am (NZDT).

To enjoy a sweet treat from the comfort of your couch visit: www.facebook.com/nzballet/

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