TOWER Tutus on Tour - Pinocchio - Blue Fairy Antonia Hewitt TOWER Tutus on Tour - Pinocchio - Blue Fairy Antonia Hewitt CREDIT: Ross Brown

Dancers hit the road to bring ballet to Kiwi families across NZ

Monday 20 December 2010, 8:09PM
By Royal New Zealand Ballet

THE Royal New Zealand Ballet are packing up their tutus and hitting the road. The biennial TOWER Tutus on Tour is legendary and in 2011 we’ve revamped the format to make it an unmissable event for the whole family. For the first time, we will tour a children’s ballet as part of TOWER Tutus on Tour – which will tour 40 centres around the country between February and April.

A highlight of the tour is Pinocchio, choreographed by former dancer Toby Behan. This whimsical ballet-version of one of the world’s most-loved stories is a new commission and will delight young and old. It is the first time a full-length children’s story ballet has been included in TOWER Tutus on Tour.

“We wanted to do something different for 2011,” explains RNZB General Manager Amanda Skoog. “We’ve always done a series of smaller pieces on this tour but we decided it would be nice to give heartland New Zealand a chance to see what a full show looks like from the sets to costumes and props.”

It is more challenging to tour a larger work to so many venues but audiences will get a better idea of what a full ballet production is like.

“Toby’s fabulous version of Pinocchio will be a real crowd pleaser. It’s a story we all know and the antics of Pinocchio and Geppetto have translated into a wonderful, fun ballet featuring an array of colourful characters.”

However, classical ballet lovers are not forgotten. The tour will also see the premiere of Ballet Master Greg Horsman’s Verdi Variations – a stunning classical showpiece featuring sparkling tutus hand-made by the legendary RNZB wardrobe department.

Set to music by Verdi, it pays homage to Russian ballet and will feature breathtaking solos and stunning duets. It’s a ballet showpiece of pure dance.

Travelling to 40 venues, the TOWER Tutus on Tour is a classic Kiwi road trip. To reach as many New Zealanders as possible, the company is divided in half with one group touring the North Island and the other the South Island. The venues range from small community theatres to town halls and school gymnasiums.

“The logistical challenges are endless,” says Production Manager Andrew Lees. “We literally have to take everything with us – from sewing machines for last minute alterations to flooring for the dancers to perform on. However, the results are always worth it – to be able to bring what we do to people’s doorsteps is a huge honour”



The antics of Pinocchio, Geppetto and friends come to life as the Royal New Zealand Ballet presents a fun, traditional story-ballet for the whole family. Written in 1883, the tale of Pinocchio – a wooden puppet who yearns to be a real boy – continues to be adored by children around the world. As he stumbles his way through life, will he ever be able to realise his dream? Follow Pinocchio on his exciting adventures as he encounters the evil Fox and Cat, Strombolli’s travelling puppet show, the Blue Fairy and a giant whale. It’s a rollicking ride – one that you’ll never forget.

Choreography: Toby Behan
Music: Andre Messager, Les Deux Pigeons
Design: Julian Southgate
Lighting: Nigel Percy


A classical ballet lover’s dream come true, Verdi Variations promises to be a stunningly grand showpiece peppered with dramatic solos and dazzling duets, complete with exquisitely made tutus and tiaras.

With choreography and design by dream team Greg Horsman and Gary Harris, the piece pays homage to classical Russian ballet and its poise and grace. Verdi Variations will be breathtakingly beautiful.

Choreography: Greg Horsman
Music: Giuseppe Verdi, I vespri siciliani (Le quattro stagioni), Jérusalem (I Lombardi).
Design: Gary Harris
Lighting: Nigel Percy

Wellington / 24, 26 & 27 Feb

Rotorua / 26 February

Taupo / 27 February

Hastings / 1 March

Greytown / 1 March

Palmerston North / 2 March

Gisborne / 3 March

Paraparaumu / 3 March

Tauranga / 5 March

Putararu / 6 March

Hamilton / 8 March

Takapuna / 10-12 March

Kaitaia / 15 March

Kerikeri / 17 March

Whangarei / 18 & 19 March

Warkworth / 20 March

Manukau / 22 March

Papakura / 24 March

Te Kuiti / 25 March

New Plymouth / 26 & 27 March

Hawera / 29 March

Wanganui / 30 March

Taihape / 31 March

Blenheim / 5 & 6 March

Nelson / 8 &9 March

Westport / 11 March

Greymouth / 12 March

Christchurch / 15 March

Oamaru / 17 March

Dunedin / 19 & 20 March

Invercargill / 23 March

Gore / 24 March

Te Anau / 25 March

Queenstown / 26 March

Wanaka / 27 March

Alexandra / 29 March

Twizel / 30 March

Timaru / 31 March

Ashburton / 1 April

Kaikoura / 3 April

For further information including Dance Explorer activities and dancer biographies visit: