RNZB's bite of the Big Apple a critical success

Tuesday 6 March 2012, 6:20PM
By Royal New Zealand Ballet

Ethan Stiefel's first programme as artistic director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet has opened to critical acclaim and busy box offices, with reviewers and audience members raving about NYC - Three Short Ballets from the Big Apple. The triple bill will now tour to six other centres throughout the country.

"It seemed like we were the talk of town after opening in Auckland last Wednesday. I hoped the programme would give audiences an insight into New York's world renowned dance scene of past and present - and it's great to receive such a positive response," says Stiefel.

"I'm very proud of the dancers - who have embraced the diverse and challenging choreography, as well as the way they just keeping raising the benchmark."

Here's what the critics are saying:

"Ethan Stiefel's first programme delivers a big, bright and exquisitely danced dollop of instant gratification" ... Wow! " Bernadette Rae, NZHerald - 2 March

"Unreservedly recommended" Mark Broatch, Sunday Star Times - 4 March

"This is a triple bill which will be remembered for a long time, and Final Dress which is one of the great contemporary dance pieces, should be repeated as often as possible." John Daly-Peoples, National Business Review online - 1 March

"NYC is in a word, incredible. It has everything you could ever hope to see in a ballet - grace, elegance, beauty and edge." Bridget Jones, - 1 March

"Gillian Murphy is utterly gorgeous - and her dancing is finely nuanced. You can see her influence on the younger dancers who totally rise to the occasion especially Lucy Green ..." Raewyn White, Radio NZ - Arts on Sunday - 4 March

"[28 Variations] this lovely piece reveals the technical brilliance of the dancers. Gillian Murphy, principal guest dancer, was outstanding in this work - her careful gestures encompassing all that needed to be said." Kate Hannah for - 29 Feb

What they [the audience] get is a fun, quirky programme which is full of energy. ... it was fresh, interesting and full of contrasts - giving the dancers new challenges which they have met admirably." Roxanne de Bruyn - 1 March

The RNZB has experienced a surge in Facebook followers over the last week. Here's what audience members are saying via

"NYC = WOW!!! Absolutely stunning, amazing and polished. Fabulous performance last night team. If you haven't got a ticket yet...GET ONE!!! This is a performance not to be missed!!"

"12 hours on and I am still in awe and smiling."

"It was breathtaking, one of the best ballets I have ever seen, so much energy, the music and dancing was amazing."

After packed houses in Auckland, the company's triple bill will now tour to Takapuna, Hamilton, Ashburton, Dunedin, Wellington and Napier.

The triple bill presents contrasting ballets by some of New York City's most acclaimed and innovative choreographers of the past and present.

* Black Swan choreographer Benjamin Millepied's 28 Variations on a Theme by Paganini . * Native New Yorker and choreographic star Larry Keigwin's energetic and sexy Final Dress which has been created on our dancers and made its world premiere on opening in Auckland. * Dance master George Balanchine's classic ballet Who Cares? starring international guest artist Gillian Murphy.