RNZB dancer to perform leading role with The Australian Ballet

Gisborne born, Pukekohe raised Royal New Zealand Ballet dancer Joseph Skelton will dance the leading role of Albrecht in The Australian Ballet’s production of Giselle in October as a guest principal artist.

“This is the first time a RNZB dancer has been invited to guest with The Australian Ballet and it’s a wonderful opportunity for Joseph and the RNZB to fly the New Zealand flag – he will make a great dance ambassador,” says RNZB Artistic Director Francesco Ventriglia.

Joseph will not be the only Kiwi on stage however; he’ll be partnering Karen Nanasca who was born in Auckland and who joined The Australian Ballet School in 2006 and the company in 2009.  She’ll be dancing the title role of Giselle, and Joseph will be her leading man, visiting three centres in New South Wales.

Albrecht is a role he knows well and one he is currently performing in Ethan Stiefel and Johan Kobborg’s internationally acclaimed production of Giselle, created for the RNZB in 2012 and touring New Zealand until 9 September.

“I’m so excited! I’ve never danced professionally in Australia or for another ballet company.  It’s a real honour to be chosen and I felt very proud when I told my family.  The role of Albrecht is one of my favourites and I’d like to thank everyone involved for this incredible opportunity,’ says Joseph Skelton.

Joseph, who started dancing when he was 4, has been with the RNZB since 2011 after studying in the United Kingdom at Elmhurst School of Dance and the Royal Ballet School.  In his time with RNZB he has danced a number of solo roles in Don Quixote, Salute, as Zoltan in Coppélia.  Liam Scarlett created the role of Lysander on him for A Midsummer Night’s Dream (2015) and he was the Wizard in the RNZB’s recent sell-out The Wizard of Oz. He made his debut as Albrecht in Giselle during the RNZB’s European tour at the end of 2015.

Joseph’s first appearance with The Australian Ballet will be on 12 October as part of their regional tour.

“I’d like to thank David McAllister, Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet and I look forward to further collaborations between the two national ballet companies,” says Francesco Ventriglia.

The RNZB’s own tour of Giselle continues to Napier (19 August), Christchurch (23&24 August), Dunedin (28 August), Auckland (31 August – 3 September), Rotorua (6 September) and Palmerston North (9 September).

Joseph Skelton bio:

Born in Gisborne and raised in Pukekohe, Joseph Skelton started dancing at the age of four. He trained in the UK at the Elmhurst School of Dance and the Royal Ballet School. He returned to New Zealand to join the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 2011 and toured the South Island in Tutus on Tour. In 2013, Joseph performed in the Act I Pas de Trois from Swan Lake in the historic surroundings of the Legislative Council Chamber at New Zealand’s historic parliament buildings in Wellington, in a special event to mark the RNZB’s 60th birthday. In 2014, Joseph took on the role of Zoltan in the RNZB’s Coppélia, and has followed this with solo roles in A Christmas Carol, Don Quixote and Salute.   He created the role of Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and most recently performed the role of Albrecht in Giselle during the company’s tour to UK and Italy.  Joseph is supported by Gibson Sheat through the RNZB’s ‘Partner a Dancer’ programme.

Joseph Skelton in Giselle rehearsal - credit Stephen A'Court Wellington, NZ. 30.06.2016. For The Royal New Zealand Ballet. Photo credit: Stephen A’Court. COPYRIGHT ©Stephen A’Court