A book chronicling the career of New Zealand dance legend Sir Jon Trimmer, from Paekākāriki, is being released.

Over the course of a few years Roger Booth has written Why Dance? in conjunction with Sir Jon.

The book idea had been in the pipeline for many years, especially after Roger got to know Sir Jon while working for the Qualifications Authority.

"I was the development officer responsible for the visual and performing arts, and Jon was on the dance panel."


After Roger wrote a book about actor Bruno Lawrence, he started writing a book about surviving in the arts featuring Sir Jon, Malvina Major, Ginette McDonald and Dick Frizzell but the book didn't eventuate as life got too busy.

But when Sir Jon celebrated 50 years in the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Roger said to him "it has to be a book on you".

The first part of Why Dance? follows Sir Jon's journey through the fledgling years of New Zealand Ballet, his training in London's Royal Ballet School, international performing with Sadler's Wells, Australian Ballet and Royal Danish Ballet, performances alongside Dame Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev, not to mention his, as well as wife Lady Jacqui Trimmer's, long association with the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

And in the second part Sir Jon gives various tips to dancers of all ages, while the last chapter features some comment from one of Sir Jon's mentors, Russell Kerr, who lives in Christchurch.

"He writes about Sir Jon in a way we couldn't do," Roger said.

Sir Jon, who lives in Paekākāriki, was reading the book for the second time.

"I'm thoroughly enjoying it."

Roger said apart from being an entertaining read, the book was "also an important historical record".


"Jon is a legend in New Zealand dance and that has to be recorded.

"It would be hard to find anyone in the world who has spent 65 years in international dance companies.

"So Sir Jon is unique."

Roger also praised a local publishing company.

"It's hard to get books published now," he said.

"We tried some publishers who were keen but nothing happened.

"But then Paraparaumu company Spectro Print came onboard and have done a cool job and we've also had it edited."

Why Dance? can be ordered via www.sirjontrimmer.com