RNZB dancers represent company on world stage

Royal New Zealand Ballet dancers Mayu Tanigaito and Joseph Skelton will be performing as international guest artists with the Greek National Opera Ballet this week.

Mayu and Joseph will dance the leading roles of Giselle and Albrecht in the Greek National Opera Ballet’s production of Giselle on 16 and 18 December, at the Olympia Theatre in Athens.  The opportunity was arranged by RNZB Artistic Director Francesco Ventriglia and Andonis Foniadakis, Ballet Director at the National Opera Ballet in Greece.

“I’m very grateful to have this international opportunity – my first as a guest dancer with another company. I feel very proud to be dancing Giselle in Athens and representing the RNZB” says Mayu.

“This is an awesome way to end to the year. To have had the opportunity to dance Albrecht for the RNZB in New Zealand, then to be the first New Zealander to guest with The Australian Ballet and now to be dancing in Athens is an incredible experience. I feel I’ve grown a lot in the last year thanks to Francesco and the RNZB”, says Joseph.

RNZB Artistic Director Francesco Ventriglia is proud to have two of his dancers in the international spotlight.

“The Ballet Director of the Greek National Opera, Andonis Foniadakis, worked with the RNZB in Wellington in October last year, when we were preparing for our UK / Italy tour. He was impressed with the quality of our dancers and it is wonderful that Mayu and Joseph are able to share their performances with a new audience in Athens. I know that they will represent the RNZB, and New Zealand, with great pride.” says Francesco Ventriglia

Andonis Foniadakis says:  “I was very excited when Francesco invited me to work with the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 2015. They are a very strong company, with a tremendous energy in both classical and contemporary work, and I am looking forward to introducing two of their leading dancers to our audience in Athens.”

Following a well-earned Christmas break, Mayu and Joseph will return to the Royal New Zealand Ballet in early January to begin rehearsals for Roland Petit’s Carmen and L’Arlésienne, the first time that the company has performed works by the legendary French choreographer. Two ballets by Roland Petit: Carmen, with L’Arlésienne, will open an eight-centre national tour in Christchurch, on 16 February 2017.

Mayu Tanigaito’s bio:

Mayu Tanigaito trained in her native Japan, Antwerp and the USA, and joined the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 2012. She has danced leading roles in Coppélia, Giselle, Don Quixote and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, including performances in the USA, the UK, Italy and Hong Kong. She received acclaim for her powerful performances in William Forsythe’s In the Middle, Somewhat Elevated, earlier this year, part of the RNZB’s landmark Speed of Light programme.

Joseph Skelton’s bio:

Born in Gisborne and raised in Pukekohe, Joseph Skelton trained at The Royal Ballet School in London and at Elmhurst School of Dance, returning to New Zealand to join the RNZB in 2011. The role of Albrecht in Giselle, one of the most demanding in classical ballet, is fast becoming a signature role for the 26 year old: he made his debut as with the RNZB during the company’s UK/ Italy tour at the end of 2015 and, following performances of Giselle with the RNZB in New Zealand, was invited to appear as Albrecht with The Australian Ballet. During the RNZB’s sold-out performances of Liam Scarlett’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Hong Kong, Joseph appeared as both Lysander and Oberon, repeating both roles in Wellington last month.