Media release

At the end of a tumultuous year for everyone in the arts and events sector, it is with great excitement that the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) has announced their 2021 promotions and named scholars.  

RNZB Artistic Director Patricia Barker says, “Our 2021 company is an exceptionally talented team of dancers who have shown resilience in 2020, with grace and poise – many navigating one of the hardest years in their careers.” 

Principal promotions 

Joseph Skelton: Originally from Auckland and trained at the Royal Ballet School in London, Joseph is a long-time favourite with audiences. His portrayal of Romeo in the 2017 season of Romeo and Juliet highlighted his virtuosity with romantic roles. For Joseph, 2021 will mark ten years with the company. 

Sara Garbowski: Sara joined the company in 2017. She was promoted to Soloist in 2019 and will become a Principal in 2021. Along with her current roles as Aurora and The Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty, Sara is perhaps best known for her physical, dynamic work Forsyth’s In the Middle Somewhat Elevated, and as the emotional White Swan in Radacovsky’s Black Swan White Swan. 

Kate Kadow: A former Principal with State Street Ballet in California, Kate joined the RNZB in 2018. Her recent success as Princess Aurora in RNZB’s new production of The Sleeping Beauty has endeared her to audiences across Aotearoa and she has fast become an audience favourite. 

Laurynas Vėjalis: Laurynas joined the company in late 2018 from the National Ballet in Canada. Promoted to Soloist in 2020 and Principal in 2021, Laurynas has wowed audiences since his arrival with his bravura leaps and exciting technique. 

Soloist Promotions

Katherine Skelton: Originally from Tauranga, Katherine is a graduate of the New Zealand School of Dance and a former Todd Scholar. She is currently the RNZB’s longest serving female dancer having joined the company in 2010, and is currently performing Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty. 

Caroline Wiley: Caroline joined the company in 2018 and is currently appearing as Carabosse and the Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty. Her solo roles include works as diverse as Penny Saunders’ So to Speak, Jiří Kylián’s Petite Mort, The Nutcracker by Val Caniparoli in which she appeared as Marie and the Black Swan in 2019’s Black Swan, White Swan by Mario Radacovsky.

Ana Gallardo Lobaina: Ana joined the company from West Australian Ballet in 2020 and is also playing Carabosse and the Lilac Fairy in The Sleeping Beauty. 

New appointments

Christchurch-born Joshua Guillemot-Rodgerson was grounded at home in New Zealand as a result of the global pandemic and is currently appearing with the RNZB in The Sleeping Beauty. He trained at The Juilliard School in New York City and for the past three years has been dancing with Houston Ballet in Texas USA. 

Also new to the company in 2021 will be Christian Renforth, joining the company from Cincinnati Ballet; Edward Smith, joining from Australian Ballet; and Harry Peterson, joining the company from San Francisco Ballet School. 

Promotions to Company Dancer

All the below have been promoted to the position of Company Dancer for 2021. 

2020 Todd Scholar, Callahan Laird; 2020 Friedlander Foundation Scholar, Lara Flannery; 2020 Friedlander Foundation Scholar: Jamie Delmonte; and apprentices: Ella Chamber, Georgia Baxter and Maggie Bryan. 

Scholar positions for 2021

The RNZB has also announced the recipients of four prestigious scholar positions – the Todd Scholar, two Friedlander Foundation Scholars, and a new Ballet Foundation Scholar. 

The 2021 Todd Scholar has been awarded to Dane Head. His early training was at Bays School of Dance and Mt Eden Ballet Academy. He placed third at the New Zealand National Young Performers Awards and was a finalist at the Asian Grand Prix in Hong Kong in 2018. Dane joins a long list of Todd Scholars who have gone on to have illustrious careers with the RNZB. 

The 2021 Friedlander Foundation Scholarpositions, now in the second year and made possible with the generous support of the Friedlander Foundation, have been awarded to Macy Cook, a former RNZB intern, born and raised in Wellington, who has studied at both Chilton Saint James Academy and Houston Ballet Academy USA; and Christchurch-born George Thomson who has been training and performing with the Australian Ballet School since the age of 12. 

The inaugural Ballet Foundation of New Zealand Scholar is Jemima Scott. Originally from Wellington and having trained at the Mt Eden Ballet Academy, Jemima also studies at the National Theatre School in Melbourne and in Munich, Germany, at the prestigious Bottaini Merlo International Centre of Arts. 

The RNZB also says farewell to two wonderful dancers whose talented contributions have been an integral part of the artistic success of the company.  

The RNZB bids a fond adieu to Principal Allister Madin, who joined the company on a two-year sabbatical from his previous role as a Soloist with the Paris Opera Ballet.  

RNZB also bids farewell to Dunedin-born, Tauranga-raised Olivia Moore who joined the RNZB in 2018. Olivia will leave the company to undertake tertiary study.  

The RNZB thanks both dancers for the many memorable performances they have given during their time with the company, and wishes them every success in their next adventure.  

Principal dancer Nadia Yanowsky, who is expecting her first child this month, will be on maternity leave. The RNZB wishes Nadia and her fiancé Pete every happiness as they prepare for their pas de deux to become a pas de trois!  

For more information on the 2021 season and the full company roster, please visit  


For further information, images and interview, please contact Siobhan Waterhouse, Publicist, on 022 126 4149 or  

The Sleeping Beauty Principals Laurynas Vejalis and Kate Kadow, The Sleeping Beauty, 2020. Photo by Stephen A'Court