Dancing with Mozart

Dancing with Mozart – International choreographic masters and ground breaking New Zealand dance.


The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s Dancing with Mozart season begins at the end of May. It features works by choreographic titans of the 20th and 21st centuries set to the music of one of history’s best loved composers, as well as the world premiere of the first ballet created in Antarctica.


The programme speaks volumes for the international reputation of New Zealand’s national ballet company, with only very few companies worldwide being granted permission to stage George Balanchine’s Divertimento 15, along with Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort and Sechs Tänze, which will be seen for the first time in New Zealand.


RNZB Artistic Director Patricia Barker says: “Dancing with Mozart displays the depth of talent in the Royal New Zealand Ballet with an array of virtuosic roles to showcase the dancers. Divertimento 15 and Petite Mort are performed only by world-renowned companies and we are joining an elite group in staging them.”


George Balanchine (1904-1983) founded New York City Ballet in 1948 and considered Mozart’s Divertimento No. 15 in B flat, to be the finest divertimento ever written. We are delighted to welcome celebrated Balanchine repetiteur Francia Russell to New Zealand for the first time to stage this work, and to benefit from her vast knowledge of the repertoire after more than 60 years performing and staging Balanchine works.


Legendary Czech choreographer Jiří Kylián cites Balanchine as one of his greatest influences. His choreographic works are sought after and treasured by dance companies the world over. Following acclaimed performances of his Soldier’s Mass in 1998 and 2015, the RNZB is honoured to stage the New Zealand premieres of Petite Mort, commissioned by the Salzburg Festival to mark the 200th anniversary of Mozart’s death, and the light-hearted Sechs Tänze.


New Zealand born choreographer Corey Baker was inspired by Jiří Kylián more than any other artist and performed Petite Mort while dancing in Europe. Baker harnessed all of his entrepreneurial and adventurous spirit to travel to Antarctica with RNZB dancer Madeleine Graham in February. Together they created a dance film to highlight climate change, commissioned by UK television network Channel 4 and digital development organisation The Space supported by the BBC and Arts Council, England. It acts as the basis for The Last Dance which sees its world premiere in Dancing with Mozart and features Mozart’s unfinished Requiem.


Dancing with Mozart premieres in Wellington on May 31 and tours to Christchurch, Invercargill, Dunedin, Blenheim, Palmerston North, Napier and Auckland until July 8.

Mozart Main RNZB dancers Mayu Tanigaito, Alexandre Ferreira, Kohei Iwamoto and Massimo Margaria. Photo by Ross Brown