'Ultimate' ballet set to take city by storm over weekend

By MARK STORY


Dancers from the Royal New Zealand Ballet descended on the Bay yesterday ahead of the weekend's "ultimate" ballet.

But before the real work starts for those performing in Giselle tomorrow night, a handful of dancers leapt into Napier's CBD for a some welcome retail therapy.

"Actually we're still shopping," principal dancer Antonia Hewitt told Hawke's Bay Today. "It's lovely over here and we're enjoying spending a bit of time out and about in this city."

While she had danced as Giselle many times before, she would not dance the lead during the Napier stopover but would perform other roles at opening night tomorrow.

The Wellington-born dancer, described by one critic after her performance in Pinocchio last year as "the ultimate Blue Fairy, all willowy grace", was no stranger to Napier, having performed at the Municipal Theatre in various roles since joining the company in 2007.

So how does she sum up Giselle? "It's the ultimate ballet. It's romantic, tragic, engaging ... it's everything."

The Giselle tour happens to coincide with the Municipal Theatre centenary - and a year-long celebration of events, shows, exhibitions, competitions, specials and activities throughout next year.

The history of the theatre dates back to early 1912, when Australian architect William Pitt designed a sophisticated Italian Renaissance theatre, which was completely destroyed in the 1931 earthquake. Following extensive planning and construction, the 1154 seat capacity Art Deco-inspired theatre rose majestically from the rubble.

Client relations manager Ian Reid, who has been with the theatre more than 20 years, was looking forward to celebrating the centenary milestone.

"Over the years we have seen some wonderful developments at the theatre and I'm delighted to be involved with celebrating 100 years," Mr Reid said. "We've planned a full calendar of events and an exciting celebration programme for 2013 as we take a walk down memory lane to celebrate the Municipal Theatre's wonderfully rich heritage."

The Royal NZ Ballet will stage three shows of Giselle at the Municipal Theatre this weekend; tomorrow at 7.30pm and Sunday at 1.30pm and 6.30pm.

Tickets are available online from www.ticketek.co.nz.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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