24 NOV - 10 DEC 2022
Dates & Booking
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Due to cases of COVID-19 in the company, all Auckland performances of VENUS RISING on December 8 - 10 have been cancelled.


Three extraordinary works.

Choreographed by inspiring and internationally celebrated choreographers, capturing the spirit and power of Venus Rising – brightest of stars, herald of the dusk and of the dawn.

Aurum by Royal New Zealand Ballet alumna Alice Topp glows with inner light and profound peace. Meditative and moving, this award-winning ballet, created for The Australian Ballet in 2018, is shaped by kintsugi, the Japanese art of healing cracks with pure gold – celebrating the beauty of the broken.

Royal New Zealand Ballet Choreographer in Residence, Sarah Foster-Sproull’s The Autumn Ball, commissioned in 2021 by the Wanaka Festival of Colour, dances through the circle of life with tenderness, grace and floor-filling fun.

Global dance legend Twyla Tharp brings this showcase of top-flight international dance to a climax with the New Zealand premiere of her Waterbaby Bagatelles. 27 dancers are sent spinning across the stage, sparkling in an ever-changing ocean of light.

This is a generous, glorious celebration of ballet and the joy of pure dance created by some of the finest choreographers working today.

Principals Sara Garbowski and Paul Mathews in Aurum by Alice Topp, photo by Stephen A'Court
"We too as humans can learn to look at our own fractures and scars with the same sense of illumination and transformation they do with Kintsugi and we too can become more beautiful than our original form if we start celebrating our uniqueness.”
Alice Topp
Choreographer - Aurum


Wellington Christchurch Auckland
St James Theatre
24 Nov
7:30 PM
25 Nov
7:30 PM
26 Nov
1:30 PM
Post-Matinee Q&A
26 Nov
7:30 PM
Warm Up, Curtain Up!
James Hay Theatre (new venue)
1 Dec
7:30 PM
2 Dec
7:30 PM
3 Dec
1:30 PM
Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre, Aotea Centre
8 Dec
7:30 PM
9 Dec
7:30 PM
10 Dec
7:30 PM

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Attend the ballet with friends?

“It has been a long while since I saw choreography so sincerely focused on emotional resonance and human connection.”
Chantal Nguyen, THE BACHTRACK REVIEW on Aurum, performed in New York, April 2019


Meet the Wāhine Toa choreographers behind Venus Rising

Alice Topp - Aurum

Meditative and moving, Alice Topp’s award-winning Aurum is inspired by the Japanese art of kintsugi, the practice of mending cracks in precious ceramics with gold, creating a new whole which celebrates the beauty of the broken. Bendigo-born and Resident Choreographer at the Australian Ballet, Topp started her career dancing with the RNZB, which holds a special place in her heart along with Aotearoa’s theatres and dance lovers.

Sarah Foster-Sproull - The Autumn Ball

The Autumn Ball, created by one of New Zealand’s brightest choreographic stars Sarah Foster-Sproull and commissioned in 2021 by the Wānaka Festival of Colour, dances through the circle of life with tenderness, grace and floor-filling fun. The driving rhythms of Eden Mulholland’s commissioned score will have the audience wishing that they could join in the dance.

Twyla Tharp - Waterbaby Bagatelles

Twyla Tharp is one of the world’s greatest living choreographers. In Waterbaby Bagatelles, created in 1994 and never seen in Aotearoa, 27 dancers leap and spin across the stage in an ever-changing ocean of light; the music flowing seamlessly as groups of dancers sparkle and glow.


Come behind the scenes of the Royal New Zealand Ballet
RNZB in class
Watch the dancers prepare for their day with their morning class.
Dan Wilson, Head of Lighting
A rare glimpse into the world of the backstage men and women in black.
Meet the RNZB Ballet Masters
Studios, schedules, spreadsheets and shoes!
Interview with Victoria Gridley, Head of Costume Props
Watch the props come together for Tane and the Kiwi
World Ballet Day 2021
Watch highlights from our morning class and daily rehearsal
Backstage with Mayu
Join principal dancer Mayu Tanigaito during the opening night of Giselle

Creative team

Meet the team behind this installation
Choreographer - The Autumn Ball
Sarah Foster-Sproull
Music - The Autumn Ball
Eden Mulholland
Costume - The Autumn Ball
Donna Jefferis/Sarah Foster-Sproull
Lighting Design - The Autumn Ball
Daniel Wilson
Choreographer - Waterbaby Bagatelles
Twyla Tharp
Staging - Waterbaby Bagatelles
Shelley Washington
Music - Waterbaby Bagatelles
Anton Webern, Astor Piazzolla, John Adams, Kevin Volans, Mickey Hart, David Lang, John Lurie
Design - Waterbaby Bagatelles
Santo Loquasto
Original Lighting Design - Waterbaby Bagatelles
Jennifer Tipton
Lighting Realisation & Design - Waterbaby Bagatelles
Randall G Chiarelli
Choreographer - Aurum
Alice Topp
Music - Aurum
Ludovico Einaudi
Design - Aurum
Alice Topp
Set & Lighting Design - Aurum
Jon Buswell
Lighting Realisation & Design - Aurum
Randall G Chiarelli
Choreography © Twyla Tharp. World premiere on 30 April 1994, premiered by Boston Ballet at the Wang Center.


A collection of PDFs with all the cast members


What do I need to know about attending the ballet?
Check out our Top Tips for your Trip to the ballet for details of general timing, lockouts, refreshments, transport and facilities.
What is the duration of the performance?
Approximately 2 hours, including two short intervals.
Where are my tickets?
If you’ve booked directly with the RNZB, your tickets will be mailed to you over the coming weeks, in order of performance date.  If you’ve booked via our approved ticket agencies (Ticketmaster, Ticketek etc) then your tickets will be issued as outlined in your booking. 
Who will be performing on the night I go to the ballet?
Principal casting details are published on RNZB website as soon as available for productions (generally from one week prior to opening night). Full casting for each performance is displayed on screens in the theatre foyers. You can also pick up a free printed cast sheet. Please note that casting is subject to change without notice.
Can I take photos or film the show?
We respectfully ask that you do not take photographs or make any kind of recording. It’s distracting and so potentially dangerous for the performers, as well as disturbing your fellow audience members. 
Are you running school matinee performances for Venus Rising?
Unfortunately we will not be offering a school matinee performance for Venus Rising.
What protocols are in place at the venue to protect against COVID-19?
The show must go on, so we will continue to work with our colleagues at venues across the motu to offer safe and enjoyable experiences for audiences, maintaining a high standard of cleaning and sanitising around performances. Patrons are most welcome to wear face masks while in attendance. If you are unwell, for your own comfort and that of those around you, please stay home.
Is there use of strobe lighting or visual effects in Venus Rising?
Yes, there will be lighting effects used during the performance.