Meet the 5 Kiwis joining us for Venus Rising

We are thrilled to welcome Macy, Josh, Saul, Jemima and Sophie back to their homeland to perform for their national company. Read all about them and give them a warm welcome when you see them on tour.

Macy Cook

For the Royal New Zealand Ballet, July 2020. Photo credit: Stephen A’Court.

Macy Cook was born in Wellington. She trained at Chilton Ballet Academy pre-professionally and was a Scholar and Associate with the New Zealand School of Dance. At age 13 she won the Supreme A section of the Alana Haines Australasian Awards, gaining direct entry to the Youth American Grand Prix Finals in New York in 2018 and a San Francisco Ballet School Summer Intensive scholarship. 

Macy was selected for the RNZB National Mentor Programme and completed an Internship with the RNZB in 2019, before joining Houston Ballet Academy’s Professional Program on a training scholarship. During this time she performed with Houston Ballet in Stanton Welch’s Nutcracker before returning to New Zealand to accept a short term contract with RNZB. 

Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson  

For the Royal New Zealand Ballet, July 2020. Photo credit: Stephen A’Court.

Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson was born in Christchurch, New Zealand. Josh holds a BFA in Dance from The Juilliard School and has danced with the Houston Ballet for the past three years. Josh’s love for all dance styles began at the age of four after seeing a tango on Shortland Street, and hasn’t let up since. A tap dancer for many years, he transitioned into ballet at 14 when he left New Zealand to study full time at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan. He has attended summer intensives at Nederlands Dans Theater, Springboard Danse Montréal, Axis Connect New York, and with Glen Harris at Southern Ballet.  

Josh was featured in the New Zealand documentary series Dare to Dream as one of six New Zealanders following their dream. He has received critical acclaim from the New York Times and Los Angeles Times for his performances in Paul Taylor’s Roses and Merce Cunningham’s Night of 100 Solos. He was recognised in both ballet and tap at the 2013 YoungArts competition. 

Josh has performed in works by Stanton Welch, Ben Stevenson, Martha Graham, Nacho Duato, José Limón, Jerome Robbins, Twyla Tharp, Tim Harbour, Paul Lightfoot and Sol León, with particular highlights being Aszure Barton’s Come In and Houston Ballet’s collaboration with Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars musical theatre production of Oklahoma!  

Josh has passions both in choreographing and teaching, and he has enjoyed teaching at dance schools around New Zealand. Joshua’s choreography was featured in Juilliard’s Choreographic Honours for three years, and he was selected to premiere works in Juilliard’s Choreographers and Composers Concert in 2015 and Juilliard’s Senior Production 2017. He was chosen to be a part of IMEE Dance Company’s blank | SLATE in February. 

Josh has returned home for the time being due to COVID-19 and is grateful to the RNZB for giving him a temporary home and the opportunity to fulfil a long-time dream of dancing around his home country. 

Saul Newport

For the Royal New Zealand Ballet, July 2020. Photo credit: Stephen A’Court.

Saul Newport was born in London, England and was raised in Rotorua, New Zealand. He began dancing at the age of six, under the direction of Anne Samson. Saul participated in the RNZB National Mentor Programme as well as the Scholars and Associates programmes with the New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD), before moving to the School full time in 2016. During his time at the School Saul represented the NZSD at the Assemblé International, in Toronto. After graduating from the NZSD in 2017 Saul was accepted into HBII, the junior company to the Houston Ballet, where he won the Houston Ballet Academy Award, in 2018. Saul joined the Houston Ballet main company in 2019 as an Apprentice, before being promoted into the corps de ballet later that year.  

Highlights at Houston Ballet include works from choreographers such as Stanton Welch, Ben Stevenson, Ronald Hynd, Alice Topp (HBII), Edwaard Liang and Oliver Halkowich.  

Jemima Scott

For the Royal New Zealand Ballet, July 2020. Photo credit: Stephen A’Court.

Jemima Scott trained with Wellington Dance and Mount Eden Ballet Academy in New Zealand before training overseas at the European School of Ballet, National Theatre Ballet School and the Bottaini Merlo International Center of Arts in Munich. Jemima was also a Scholar and an Associate with the New Zealand School of Dance. In 2018 she appeared as a guest dancer in the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s national tour of The Nutcracker

Jemima won the ballet section at the Performing Arts Competition New Zealand, came second in the Sir John Logan Campbell Ballet Award and was a finalist at the Sydney Eisteddfod. She gained her RAD Solo Seal in 2018 and was also a Genée finalist. In 2019 Jemima placed third at the Alana Haines Australasian Awards and in 2020 was selected to compete at the Prix de Lausanne. 

Sophie Williams

For the Royal New Zealand Ballet, July 2020. Photo credit: Stephen A’Court.

Sophie Williams began training at Ballet Arte Academy of Classical Ballet, in San Diego, before spending one year training in Miami City Ballet’s Pre Professional Division.  Highlights of her professional career include performing as the First and Second Violins in Concerto Barocco, Dark Angel in Serenade, and Gamzatti in La Bayadère while with BalletMet; in the corps de ballet of Balanchine’s Theme and Variations, with the Richmond Ballet; and in various full length productions, including Alicia Alonso’s Giselle, with Ballet San Jose, and Edwaard Liang’s Don Quixote and Cinderella, with BalletMet. She joined the Royal New Zealand Ballet as a guest dancer in July 2020.

JB9983 Five new dancers at the Royal New Zealand Ballet, July 2020. Photo credit: Stephen A’Court.