Dance Bites - Kokomai Creative Festival 2015

"Pas de Deux" Charlotte Gleeson and Ben Crossley-Pritchard, photographed by Stephen A’Court

New Zealand Dance School performance at Kokomai

Tonight we were thrilled to attend "Dance Bites" a performance by students from the NZ school of dance to open the Kokomai Creative Festival. Held at the Carterton Events Centre, a sell out show this was an exhilarating start to the Festival - a privilege to witness such incredible talent. A selection of small dances, aptly named "Dance Bites" each performer told their short but poignant story so beautifully - Part 1 showcasing a range of traditional dances like "Sleeping Beauty", "Les Sylphides", "Paquita". Part two moving into modern & interpretive dance, the performers took us on an exciting journey through time.

The men's duo from "Swan Lake" by dancers Felipe Domingos & Yuri Marques superbly synchronised - strong but beautiful a dynamic match. The delicate fragility of "Les Sylphides" perfectly harnessed by dancer Emma-Rose Barrowclough, inspiring & emotional....delicate, captivating. But the pièce de résistance most definitely the Pas de Deux from "Concerto" by dancers Lola Howard & Luke Cooper so beautifully portrayed, taking the audience through a range of emotions this tender & romantic dance simply breathtaking.....a silent audience captivated by every swirl, lift & twirl.

Moving fluently into the modern & interpretive section was a delight, a new direction, the dancers transformed - a freedom to move & express not seen in the traditional roles & exhilarating to witness. The finale - "Dialogue", by third year students majoring in comtemporary dance - a show stopping performance choreographed by Victoria Columbus with the students - this collision of modern dance & music so thrilling to watch we could do it all over again, this was "edge of the seat" raw talent in action which left you wanting more. No encore but tempting as it was to request, the dancers had earned their rest. This evening was a kick start to Kokomai that will be difficult to top, but we've seen the programme & tell you there is much more talent to come. We are enthused, excited & anticipating the rest of the festival, make sure you attend as many events as you can, the arts are so incredible - visit the Kokomai official website here for the full festival programme:


New Zealand School of Dance students Georgia Rudd and Felix Sampson, photographed by Stephen A’Court.

About the NZ School of Dance

Chatting with NZ School of Dance marketing manager Celia Jenkins after the show, there's a vibrancy & enthusiasm that filters through when she describes the dancers. "We love Kokomai" Celia tells us, "we're here by invitation, our 2nd show for this festival with 23 dancers tonight!". The school is based in Wellington, training their students to become professional dancers, it's a full time commitment of of 2-3 yrs. The dancers graduate aiming to work with professional dance companies such as the Royal NZ Ballet. They are trained in both classical & contemporary dance, but major in one style.

The School is 48 years old & has an excellent reputation internationally. With students selected by audition its competitive, there are usually around 140 applicants from throughout NZ & Australia competing for 80 places. Constantly talent scouting there are programmes for younger dancers "they need to start young," says Celia "it takes time to get the body used to dancing all day every day! The students do Pilates, yoga & academic studies also".

Thanks to Celia, the dancers & Kokomai for an inspiring evening, we're off to see more of whats going on with the Festival today......stay tuned for more!

Yayoi Matches rehearsing in the studio at the New Zealand School of Dance, photographed by Stephen A’Court

The NZ School of Dance performers backstage at Kokomai

Trish Higginson & Karina Hailwood
Creative Directors
Martinborough Village
"Let us show you the magic of our town"

Copyright MV 2015
enquiries to karina@martinborough-village.co.nz


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