Practice makes for perfect plies and pirouttes

About 20 aspiring ballerinas enjoyed a lesson with the Royal New Zealand Ballet Company this week.

Royal NZ Ballet dance educator Hannah Kaye taught St Matthew's dance students a range of moves from their current dance tour.

They were a mixture of creative dance and traditional ballet, with the girls doing pliés, sautés and pirouettes.

The visit is part of the Royal NZ Ballet education in schools programme, a series of creative dance workshops across the country which aim to increase students' awareness of Royal NZ Ballet.

Miss Kaye, who has worked for Royal NZ Ballet for about three years, said the company teaches about 30 schools each season and does three seasons a year.

"We're just trying to generate interest in the ballet company, generate more audience and just be more involved with the community and schools in the community," she said.

The classes are all about making ballet more accessible and are not just aimed at girls. Boys in schools are being taught as well, she said.

"It's usually received really, really well, which is good."

St Matthew's Collegiate School dance teacher Doug Davidson said the workshops allowed his students to interact with the ballet company.

"A lot of them are aspiring, of course, to be ballerinas so it's just contact with the ballet company really."

He said the girls were often taken to watch the ballet as part of the curriculum. "They go to watch the ballet but they don't get the nitty gritty like they do in a class like this and it's someone else to teach them," Mr Davidson said.


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