2017 line-up revealed: 70 performances, in 16 NZ cities and towns.

Passion, tragedy, rhythm and energy fill the national ballet company’s line-up for 2017 announced today. The season includes two ballets by one of the great choreographers of the 20th century, the return of an audience favourite, the world premiere of a brand new version of the world’s greatest love story, and a remodelled Tutus on Tour.

RNZB Artistic Director Francesco Ventriglia is delighted to build on the successes of 2016, the first season programmed by him for the RNZB. “Not only does this bold programme celebrate international talents like France’s greatest-ever choreographer Roland Petit and the contemporary genius of Alexander Ekman, it’s also about creating great art here in New Zealand with a new version of Romeo and Juliet. The talented dancers of the RNZB and I look forward to bringing you another year of world class productions. See you at the theatre.”

Executive Director Frances Turner is thrilled that the company will visit even more New Zealand venues in 2017. “It’s a big and beautiful year which will take the incredible artists of the RNZB around New Zealand for 70 performances in 16 cities and towns. We are proud to be taking the highest quality art to the widest possible audience.”

Two Ballets by Roland Petit: Carmen with L’Arlésienne:  The RNZB will open its 2017 season in Christchurch ahead of a seven centre tour with two landmark works of 20th century dance by French master-choreographer Roland Petit (1924 – 2011). Never before performed in New Zealand these exceptional works combine explosive drama with high-voltage technique to music by Georges Bizet.

Three by Ekman; Cacti – Tuplet – Episode 31: Alexander Ekman’s Cacti captivated New Zealand audiences in 2016 during our Festival programme Speed of Light.  In 2017 the RNZB will present a full programme of three of his acclaimed works created between 2010 and 2012, but never before staged together. The dancers of the RNZB will once again be joined onstage with the New Zealand String Quartet for Cacti which has been hailed for its irrepressible energy and beguiling wit.

The Ryman Healthcare Season of Romeo and Juliet: Work has already begun on a brand new version of this iconic work created by RNZB Artistic Director and choreographer Francesco Ventriglia. Prokofiev’s incredible music will be performed live in the four main centres and the set and costume design will be created by three time Academy Award winner James Acheson (The Last Emperor, Dangerous Liaisons, Restoration), creating his first-ever ballet.  In a New Zealand first and thanks to Auckland Live, the RNZB is delighted to offer a live audio description of this ballet for blind and visually impaired patrons on Sunday 3 September.

Outside the three main stage seasons, the RNZB will be increasing its regional touring, with Tutus on Tour performances and Ballet in a Box planned for seven centres throughout the year: Nelson, New Plymouth, Queenstown, Oamaru, Timaru, Ashburton and Gisborne. The RNZB will also help to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the New Zealand School of Dance, New Zealand’s national dance school, which is now recognised as the Official School of the Royal New Zealand Ballet.





Two Ballets by Roland Petit Carmen with L’Arlésienne

16 February – 1 April

Touring to Christchurch, Invercargill, Dunedin, Blenheim, Rotorua, Palmerston North, Wellington, Auckland

  • L’Arlesienne Choreography: Roland Petit, Staged by: Luigi Bonino, Set design: René Allio, Costume design: Christine Laurent, Lighting: Jean-Michel Désiré, Music: George Bizet
  • Carmen Choreography: Roland Petit, Staged by: Luigi Bonino, Set and costume design: Antoni Clavé, Lighting: Jean-Michel Désiré, Music: George Bizet


Three by Ekman: Cacti – Tuplet – Episode 31

17 May – 15 June

Touring to Wellington, Auckland, Napier, Christchurch, Dunedin

  • Cacti Choreography: Alexander Ekman, Staged by: Ana Maria Lucaciu, Set and costume design Alexander Ekman, Lighting and co-set design, technical supervision: Tom Visser, Text written and spoken by: Spenser Theberge, Music: Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, performed by the New Zealand String Quartet.
  • Tuplet Choreography: Alexander Ekman, Staged by: Ana Maria Lucaciu, Video and set design: Alexander Ekman, Costume design: Nancy Haeyung Bae, Lighting design: Amith Chandrashaker, Music: Mikael Karlsson, Victor Feldman, Bart Howard
  • Episode 31 Choreography: Alexander Ekman, Staged by: Ana Maria Lucaciu, Répétiteur: Fernando Troya, Video and set design: Alexander Ekman, Costume design: Luke Simcock, Lighting design: Nicole Pearce, Music: Mikael Karlsson, Erik Satie, Ane Brun


The Ryman Healthcare Season of Romeo and Juliet

16 August – 24 September

Touring to Wellington, Christchurch, Auckland, Rotorua, Dunedin, Invercargill, Palmerston North, Napier

Choreography: Francesco Ventriglia, Design: James Acheson, Music: Sergei Prokofiev arranged by Nigel Gaynor performed by Orchestra Wellington in Wellington, the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra in Christchurch, the Dunedin Symphony Orchestra in Dunedin and the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra in Auckland.


New Zealand School of Dance 50th Anniversary Graduation Season

24 – 25 November


Repertoire will be announced in 2017.


Tutus on Tour with Ballet in a Box

Nelson 1 March, New Plymouth 15 March, Queenstown 18 June, Oamaru 20 June, Timaru 21 June, Ashburton 23 August, Gisborne 27 September.
Repertoire may vary from centre to centre and will be announced in advance of each mini tour.


On sale dates for 2017 shows:

Renewing subscribers 25 October; New subscribers 7 November; Public 14 November 2016.

For booking info see

rnzb-season-photo-team_lr Artistic Director Francesco Ventriglia with RNZB dancers. Women dressed by NZ designer Hailwood,, Men's clothing supplied by David Jones. Photo credit Ross Brown