Kelly Makiha is the Rotorua Daily Post's head of news

Review: Well worth giving spell-binding ballet a twirl

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Jacob Chown (Lion), Loughlan Prior (Scarecrow,) Lucy Green (Dorothy) and Massimo Margaria (Tin Man) explore the Emerald City. Photo / Stephen A'Court.
Jacob Chown (Lion), Loughlan Prior (Scarecrow,) Lucy Green (Dorothy) and Massimo Margaria (Tin Man) explore the Emerald City. Photo / Stephen A'Court.

You're more likely to see me up the front at a Guns N' Roses concert than at a Royal New Zealand Ballet performance but it's something I can now tick off - and say with pleasure.

The ballet came to Rotorua on Saturday night as part of its nine-city New Zealand tour that started on May 4 and will end in Napier on June 12.

Rotorua is a city that is often criticised for not supporting the arts - so much so that some touring concerts and plays have previously given us a miss. So it was thrilling to see the sold out sign and the Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre chocka on both levels.

Sell-out shows for this ballet has been echoed around the country with only a few shows in Auckland this week still with tickets.

The calibre of the show is such, it's no wonder they are sold out.

The Wizard of Oz was created by the Royal New Zealand Ballet's artistic director Francesco Ventriglia in Florence in 2010.

But the two-act ballet based on L. Frank Baum's much-loved children's story was never performed.

Fast forward six years and the show is finally touring with set designs that make us wonder if we are really sitting in our Rotorua theatre and costumes that made the girlie girls among us go wow.

I ambitiously took along my 5-year-old daughter who is quite taken with Emma the Yellow Wiggle.

I wondered how she would go sitting quietly and watching for two hours (with a break) but the group dances and wow factor moves were enough to lengthen her attention span.

Standout performers were Lucy Green who made the perfect Dorothy and Mayu Tangigaito who was astonishing as the evil Witch of the West.

Admittedly I struggle to stand on one leg for 20 seconds so there's much appreciation for these dancers who can hold elegant poses with poise without the slimmest of grimace.
Bravo all round.

About:

* What: The Wizard of Oz - Royal New Zealand Ballet

* Where: Sir Howard Morrison Performing Arts Centre

* When: Saturday night

- Rotorua Daily Post

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