RNZB Dancer News December 2019

The Royal New Zealand Ballet welcomes new talent and bids some fond farewells.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet is pleased to welcome new dancers who will join the company at the beginning of the 2020 Season and bids a fond farewell to company members who are moving on to new adventures.

We welcome Christchurch born dancer Callahan Laird as the Todd Scholar, securing him a place in the RNZB for 2020. The Todd Scholarship funded by the Todd Corporation is awarded annually to an outstanding graduate of the New Zealand School of Dance.

We congratulate our 2019 Todd Scholar, Teagan Tank on her appointment as a full company member in 2020. Teagan, trained in Christchurch before studying at the New Zealand School of Dance and is a wonderful addition to the company. 2019 apprentices Calum Gray and Vincent Fraola, both trained at the New Zealand School of Dance, also join us in 2020 as full company members.

We are excited to announce the addition of two new scholar positions for 2020. The Friedlander Foundation Scholar positions are made possible with the generous support of the Auckland-based Friedlander Foundation. 

The inaugural Friedlander Foundation Scholars are Lara Flannery who grew up in Wellington and trained at the Wellington Dance Academy  prior to full-time training at the New Zealand School of Dance and Jamie Delmonte, trained at The Australian Ballet School. A recent Queensland Ballet Jette Parker Young Artist in 2019 and enjoying his recent debut in Loughlan Prior’s The Appearance of Colour for Queensland Ballet’s Bespoke program. Both Lara and Jamie have had the opportunity to dance with RNZB during our current season of Hansel and Gretel. 

RNZB Principal Allister Madin renews his contract for the second year of his two year extended leave period from Paris Opera Ballet where he enjoyed critical acclaim during his 14 years with the company.

Kihiro Kusukami and Laurynas Vėjalis are promoted to the rank of Soloist. Kihiro and Laurynas both joined the RNZB in 2018 and have thrilled audiences around New Zealand with their dynamic and skillful performances. Both are currently performing leading roles in Hansel & Gretel.

Kihiro hails from Japan and trained at The Australian Ballet School, joining the RNZB after spending 2017 as part of the Queensland Ballet’s Jette Parker Young Artists Programme.

Laurynas was born in Lithuania, joining the RNZB last year after three years with the National Ballet of Canada. Laurynas trained at the Royal Ballet School in London and prior to that studied at the Austrian Ballet School in Tokyo.

We welcome Cuban-born Ana Gallardo who has been a member of the West Australian Ballet since 2017. She was a member of Cincinnati Ballet and a trainee at Boston Ballet School and Miami City Ballet School and the Cuban National Ballet School in Havana.

Annaliese MacDonald, who performed with the RNZB as a guest in our production of Bold Moves earlier this year and joins the company full time in 2020 from The Australian Ballet.

Jack Lennon joins us from Ballet San Antonio, where he has danced since 2017. Working with such choreographers as Val Caniparoli, Penny Saunders, Bruce Wells and Mario Radacovsky. 

Levi Teachout joins us from Seattle, USA. Levi is currently dancing with us during our Hansel & Gretel season. He is a former member Los Angeles Ballet and the Grand Rapids Ballet. Having trained on full scholarship at the Pacific Northwest Ballet School, Houston Ballet, Ballet Austin and Ballet Chicago. Levi’s has danced works by, George Balanchine, Gerald Arpino, Paul Taylor, Penny Saunders, Val Caniparoli, and Olivier Wevers.

Following the success of the RNZB Apprentice position, established in 2019, we are happy to announce the continuation of the position into 2020. Maggie Bryan, who is a Queensland Ballet Jette Parker Young Artist 2019 and trained at Queensland Ballet’s Pre-Professional Programme and Senior Programme, Dance Fusion Studio. With recent success in Queensland Ballet’s Bespokeprogram, joins us as an Apprentice in 2020.

We say farewell to Soloists Fabio Lo Giudice, Fabio, takes up a position with the West Australian Ballet. He joined the RNZB in 2014 and has danced title roles in The Nutcracker (2018) solo roles with distinction in works such as Adrian Burnett’s Don Quixote, Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort and Francesco Ventriglia’s Romeo and Juliet. We wish him the very best in the future

Massimo Margaria who joined the RNZB in 2015 will be taking an extended break from RNZB and return home to Italy to concentrate on developing his musical career, having produced the electronic score for RNZB Choreographer in Residence Shaun James Kelly’s 2019 work The Ground Beneath Our Feet along with numerous other works in Europe. He has danced iconic roles with the RNZB including George Baines in The Piano: the ballet, Mercutio in Francesco Ventriglia’s Romeo and Juliet, the central duet in Alexander Ekman’s Episode 31, the Chief Bandit in Carmen by Roland Petit and Frédéri in Petit’s L’Arlésienne

We look forward to following Massimo’s continued success.

We officially say goodbye to Yang Liu, who joined the RNZB in 2010 and has been on maternity leave for the past two years. She has decided to resign her position to continue her life as a full-time parent. Yang trained at the Beijing Dance Academy before joining the National Ballet of China and has danced numerous works during her time with the RNZB including a Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, Peasant Pas de Deux in Giselle and William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated.

Canadian-born, Kiara Flavin joined the RNZB in mid-2018, having previously danced with England’s Northern Ballet. She leaves to take up a new position with Les Grands Ballets Canadiens in Montreal, but will continue her association with the RNZB into 2020, choreographing a new ballet, Wayward, which will premiere as part of Tutus on Tour in March 2020. 

Minkyung Lee, who also joined the RNZB in mid-2018 as an extra dancer from training at Canada’s National Ballet School, will be leaving the RNZB to pursue new opportunities overseas.

2020 Season_1080 x 1080px_TutusLockup Image credit: Ross Brown