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NZ Festival Preview

2016 programme a 'kick up the arts'

26 February - 20 March 2016, Wellington

The NZ Festival celebrates its 30th anniversary with a dance programme designed to ‘kick up the arts’. Shelagh Magadza, Artistic Director says, ‘For this milestone Festival, we’ve pulled together the very best international artists. We’re creating experiences you wouldn’t be able to enjoy without flying across the world, and bringing them right to your doorstep.’

Le Grand Continental, Philadephia - Credit: Jacques-JeanTiziou

Kicking off the Festival on opening night in Wellington’s Civic Square will be a big free dance party, with the mass dance Le Grand Continental, featuring 150 local dancers who will work with a team of professional dancers and French Canadian choreographer Sylvain Émard.

Pina Bausch has been described by The Guardian as ‘the high priestess of dance theatre…whose penetrating vision reached both the height and the hell of human nature.’ Two iconic Pina Bausch works, Café Műller (1978) and The Rite of Spring (1975) performed by Tanztheater Wuppertal Pina Bausch will be presented as a double-bill at the Festival. This will be the first time the company has performed in New Zealand. ‘Ostensibly the two performances seem to have little in common, yet the themes that preoccupied Bausch unite the pieces; the difficulties of relationships between men and women; alienation and togetherness; social and actual barriers to happiness.

 CafeMuller, Tanztheater Wuppertal - Credit: Carola Holting

Iconic Australian dance company Chunky Move will present a mix of movement and monologue in a unique performance of Complexity of Belonging. In a contemporary dance/theatre collaboration between writer Falk Richter and Chunky Move Artistic Director Anouk van Dijk, Complexity of Belonging explores notions of freedom – literally, the freedom of bodies to move through space through dance, but also freedom to make choices and mistakes. It also draws attention to the inevitable tensions we face between acting as individuals and as part of a group.

 Complexity Of Belonging, Chunky Move - Credit: Jeff Busby

Wellington’s Opera House will be transformed to a surreal Swiss circus with a spectacular show that mimics the interior world of a Salvador Dali painting. Dali’s surreal world will be brought by La Veritá is an acrobatic and surrealist poem that will star 13 performers equally adept in acrobatics, theatre, dance and music – against a backdrop of a giant (9m x 15m) Dali canvas. The original of the stunning backdrop was created by Dali for the ballet Mad Tristan put on by New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 1944 and loaned to La Veritá writer and director Daniele Finzi Pasca by a private art collector in 2010. Since its premiere in Montreal in January 2013, La Veritá has been seen by over 250,000 people so this magical show is sure to be one of many Festival highlights. 

La Verita - Credit: Viviana Cangialosi

Local artists feature prominently in the Festival programme including acclaimed New Zealand choreographer Douglas Wright who will present The Kiss Inside, a meditation on the human search for ecstasy. The Royal New Zealand Ballet return to the Festival for the first time in a decade to premiere the Speed of Light - three contemporary dance works by the Royal New Zealand Ballet under the artistic directorship of Francesco Ventriglia. 

Speed of Light, Royal New Zealand Ballet -  Credit: Rahi Rezvani

 Shelagh Magadza says they ‘seek out the very best for our audience, from those who have been to every Festival since 1986 to those joining us for the very first time next year. We encourage everyone to discover what great art can do for you.’

For the full programme go to

2016 NZ Festival Preview

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