Our Work

Our Work

The RNZB Foundation makes donations to fund a diverse range of dance related projects each year to benefit our communities and also pursue artistic excellence.  Please read on to learn more about the work we are pleased to support this year, and also our past projects.

2022

Wanaka Festival Commission 2023 – Cho. Loughlan Prior
$15,000 – Supported by the Auckland En Pointe Patrons

RNZB Artistic Director Patricia Barker has commissioned Loughlan Prior to create a brand new 30 minute piece for the Wanaka Festival of Colour in 2023.  The RNZB are so excited to have the opportunity to return to this festival and to provide this audience with a very special premiere.  

Musical Moves 2022 (Dance Workshops with live musicians featuring NZ Composer Claire Cowan)
$8,000 – Supported by the Auckland En Pointe Patrons
August 2022 around RNZB’s Cinderella, in Auckland and Wellington 

A unique opportunity for intermediate and secondary school students in Auckland to experience and understand the special working relationship between music and dance. Included in this package is a curriculum-linked workshop with an RNZB Dance Educator, accompanied by a group of musicians from the Auckland Philharmonia, and tickets for a current production. 

Given the support received from the Auckland EPP’s towards Claire Cowan’s spectacular new score for Cinderella, this will be the musical focus of the project.  Claire Cowan will share her experience and expertise in characterisation through music, for dance. The $8K donation means that this programme will be FREE for the 100+ students taking part – it would cover the music arrangements for the musicians, and fully subsidise the ticket of the students attending the ballet performances in addition to helping with the dance educator’s travel expenses.

Ballet in a Box
$9,000 – Supported by the Auckland En Pointe Patrons
Performance dates: Monday 15 & Tuesday 16 August, 2022. 

Three FREE Ballet in Box events and Dance Workshops, consisting of one Relaxed Performance also Sign Language interpreted, one performance in Te Reo Māori and one in English. This programme also includes some FREE dance workshops to low decile schools and Adapted Dance Workshops for disabled children.   

Ballet in a Box is a one-hour, free performance for school students, introducing them to the world of ballet with classical and contemporary dance highlights, and an entertaining and informative commentary by an RNZB dance educator.  This partnership with the Vodafone Events Centre and low decile schools in South Auckland will provide performances and workshops for a range of young audiences. Reaching under privileged school students and children with disabilities who may not previously had access to our performances, this project is an important component of the RNZB accessibility programme.

RNZB Return to the St James – capital refurbishment project: 

Digital Editing Suite
$10,000 – Supported by Sam Coster, Jo and Terry Gould and Rosie and Mark Dunphy

The RNZB cannot wait to return to the St James in August 2022 for the opening night of Cinderella on 3 August – it will be a fitting occasion to mark their return home. 

There are many facets to the upgrade, but an innovative and necessary new element in today’s world is the creation of a bespoke editing suite, which will connect our artists to audiences globally and professionally via state of the art equipment and enable the creation of digital dance content as an artform. 

Enhanced changing rooms and facilities for the dancers
$23,700 – Supported by the Wellington En Pointe Patrons

The refurbishment will double the space, and number of showers and toilets in each changing room that were previously available to the dancers.  This will vastly improve the functionality of the dancers’ daily working lives in a tangible way.  The RNZB has outgrown the existing facilities, and is now a Company that needs to house 40 dancers comfortably.  There will also be additional bathrooms added between studio two and three for increased convenience for dancers, artistic staff and studio visitors. The new design and increased facilities will also allow more supporters at studio events and insight evenings.   

DANCE WITH ME Residency, Auckland
Supported by Andy Coster

A collaboration with the Vodafone Events Centre in Manukau involving 100+ students from 3 to 4 schools low decile schools in the Auckland Region: 

  • Prospect School (Decile 2)
  • Redoubt North School (Decile 2)
  • Stanhope School (Decile 4)

The project is a series of weekly dance workshops delivered by two RNZB Dance Educators scheduled in the second half of 2022 culminating in a shared performance on stage of the Vodafone Events Centre. Free to all the participants.

Royal New Zealand Ballet Foundation Scholarship
Supported by Anonymous

This Scholarship supports a young Kiwi dancer at the Royal New Zealand Ballet as they work to realise their potential in this most demanding of professions. The Royal New Zealand Ballet Foundation Scholar sits alongside the two Friedlander Foundation Scholars and the long-standing and prestigious Todd Scholar, expanding the pathways available for talented young New Zealanders to pursue professional careers in dance in Aotearoa.

The 2022 Royal New Zealand Ballet Foundation Scholar is Monet Galea-Hewitt.

2021

Cinderella Score, created by Claire Cowan
$30,000 – Supported by the Auckland En Pointe Patrons

The Auckland En Pointe Patrons very generously supported the creation of Claire Cowan’s score the RNZB’s brand-new Cinderella by Loughlan Prior. This will be a thrilling new production and we are pleased to support Claire’s creative process through this initiative.

The Firebird, Schools’ Matinee Auckland
Supported by Andy Coster

Andy’s generous donation to this initiative meant that hundreds of students from low decile schools in Auckland were able to attend the thrilling performance of The Firebird at the Aotea Centre.  For many, this was their very first introduction to a ballet performance on stage.

Relaxed Sensory Friendly performance and workshop series
$11,000 – Supported by Fran Wyborn
Performance date: Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 August 2021

Presented at Manukau Vodafone Events Centre, this series included three performances and dance workshops including one relaxed performance, one narrated in English with accompanying sign language for hearing impaired and one in Te Reo. Prior to these performances, workshops were offered free for the schools attending to provide an all-round experience of the ballet and theatre for children. In 2021, the show was The Ugly Duckling.

Royal New Zealand Ballet Foundation Scholarship
Supported by Anonymous

This Scholarship supports a young Kiwi dancer at the Royal New Zealand Ballet as they work to realise their potential in this most demanding of professions. The Royal New Zealand Ballet Foundation Scholar sits alongside the two Friedlander Foundation Scholars and the long-standing and prestigious Todd Scholar, expanding the pathways available for talented young New Zealanders to pursue professional careers in dance in Aotearoa.

The inaugural Royal New Zealand Ballet Foundation Scholar was Jemima Scott.

Barbara Webster Memorial Scholarship
$10,000 – Supported by a bequest in memory of Barbara Webster

Establish in 2017, this scholarship provided $2,000 per annum to a classical ballet student studying at the New Zealand School of Dance, official school of the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

The 2021 recipient was Tsuyumi Wilson-Travis.

2020

New Commission – Cho. Loughlan Prior
$15,000 – Supported by the Auckland En Pointe Patrons

The Auckland En Pointe Patrons supported the commission, studio time and costume creation of Loughlan Prior’s new work Ultra Violet. Loughlan worked with the RNZB to create his new work, intended for premiere at the International Draft Works presentation at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in London. While that performance was cancelled due to Covid-19, RNZB Artistic Director Patricia Barker then selected the work to be presented at the Wanaka Festival of Colour in April 2021.

Wanaka Festival Commission 2021 – Cho. Sarah Foster-Sproull
$10,000 – Supported by the Auckland En Pointe Patrons

RNZB Choreographer in Residence Sarah Foster-Sproull was commissioned to create a new work to be presented at the Wanaka Festival of Colour in April 2021. Sarah’s work The Autumn Ball dances through the circle of life with tenderness, grace and floor-filling fun. It has also been included in the RNZB’s 2022 performances of Venus Rising.

Dance Workshops at the Auckland Region Women’s Corrections Facility
$6,000 – Supported by the Auckland En Pointe Patrons

World wide there is a growing move to provide prisoners with an experience of dance as a means of improving confidence, self esteem, and in many cases increasing self awareness. For all the participants, but especially the women, this is a unique opportunity to express themselves in a safe environment.

The RNZB’s work bringing dance into prisons was established in 2017 through dance workshops and continued with a partnership with Department of Corrections Ara Poutama Aotearoa.

Ballet in a Box
$7,000 – Supported by the Auckland En Pointe Patrons

A relaxed performance is specially tailored for those who will benefit from an informal performance environment. This includes people with an Autism Spectrum Condition, sensory and communication disorders or a leaning difficulty. At these performances there is a more casual approach to front of house etiquette and a more relaxed attitude to noise (voluntary and involuntary) in the auditorium. The aim is to minimise patrons’ anxiety and to ensure they have a safe and enjoyable visit theatre visit.

The hour-long performance was performed on two days. Each performance was followed by an opportunity for performers and audience to meet each other. In the run up to the free performance RNZB Dance Educators facilitated workshops in South Auckland schools, preparing and engaging with students for the performance. Tailored workshops for the students from Special Needs Schools were also offered.

Mount Eden Ballet Academy Awards
$4,000 – Supported by Anonymous

The Foundation was pleased to support the Senior Ballet Award at the Mount Eden Ballet Academy competition. Over 500 dancers aged between 5 and 20 years entered the competition. Turid Revfeim, Classical Tutor from the New Zealand School of Dance and Nadia Yanowsky, RNZB Principal Dancer and the 2020 Harry Haythorne Choreographic Award winner, judged the ballet section which was of an exceptionally high standard.

South Island Ballet Awards
$4,000 – Supported by Anonymous

The Foundation was pleased to give the Christchurch Ballet Society a $4,000 donation to be used toward the South Island Ballet Awards 2021. This major event is a highlight of the South Island competition dance calendar. The awards provide a pathway for South Island dancers to further their training towards a career as a professional dancer.

Barbara Webster Memorial Scholarship
$10,000 – Supported by a bequest in memory of Barbara Webster

Establish in 2017, this scholarship provided $2,000 per annum to a classical ballet student studying at the New Zealand School of Dance, official school of the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

The 2020 recipient was Chloe Jackson.

Harry Haythorne Award
Supported by the Harry Haythorne Fund

RNZB Principal Nadia Yanowsky was the recipient of the 2020 Harry Haythorne Award. EόN was Nadia’s first work with the RNZB. This classical ballet was developed at home during lockdown and Nadia completed the two pas de deux in the studios. The worked premiered at RNZB RAW in July 2020.

2019

Low Decile Schools Attendance Programme
$15,000 – Supported by various donors

Contributions to the Low Decile Schools Attendance Programme off-set costs for students at low-decile schools to attend the RNZB schools’ performances, by paying for transport and allowing the RNZB to give those students a discount to the ticket cost.

Barbara Webster Memorial Scholarship
$10,000 – Supported by a bequest in memory of Barbara Webster

Establish in 2017, this scholarship provided $2,000 per annum to a classical ballet student studying at the New Zealand School of Dance, official school of the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

The 2019 recipient was Tayla-Rose Frisby.

Harry Haythorne Award
Supported by the Harry Haythorne Fund

After a hiatus re-thinking the Harry Haythorne Award in 2018, in 2019 the Foundation Trustees sponsored choreographer Loughlan Prior in his creation of a new work for the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Hansel & Gretel.

Choreographic Research Project

The Ballet Foundation supported RNZB Choreographer in Residence Loughlan Prior on an international research project.

Loughlan wrote about his experience, “At the end of 2018 I was commissioned by the Royal New Zealand Ballet to create Hansel & Gretel, my first full length production. Excited and focused on the enormous scale of the task ahead, I took it upon myself to embark on a period of research and development abroad. My main focus was to strengthen my skills as a choreographer by observing and studying the work of other creative artists presenting narrative dance and theatre work in Australia, Singapore and the UK.”

2018

Low Decile Schools Attendance Programme
$25,200 – Supported by various donors

Contributions to the Low Decile Schools Attendance Programme off-set costs for students at low-decile schools to attend the RNZB schools’ performances, by paying for transport and allowing the RNZB to give those students a discount to the ticket cost.

Corey Baker Scholarship
Supported by various donors

Barbara Webster Memorial Scholarship
$10,000 – Supported by a bequest in memory of Barbara Webster

Establish in 2017, this scholarship provided $2000 per annum to a classical ballet student studying at the New Zealand School of Dance, official school of the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

The 2018 recipient was Isaak McLean.

Sponsorship of the New Zealand School of Dance Associates programme
$10,000 over 2017 and 2018

The Associates programme identifies classical and contemporary dance students from throughout New Zealand who have the talent for a career in dance performance. Each year they have 4 weekends of tuition at the New Zealand School of Dance in Wellington. The Foundation’s funding assisted in the delivery of this programme.

New Zealand School of Dance Ballet Foundation Scholarship

This Ballet Foundation scholarship was awarded to a classical ballet student at the New Zealand School of Dance to support their fees.

The 2018 recipient was Cadence Barrack. Cadence joined the RNZB in at the end of 2018.

2017

Barbara Webster Memorial Scholarship
$10,000 – Supported by a bequest in memory of Barbara Webster

The Ballet Foundation was pleased to honour the memory of support Barbara Webster, through a scholarship for a classical ballet student at the New Zealand School of Dance. The scholarship provided $2,000 per annum to a classical ballet student studying at the New Zealand School of Dance, official school of the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

The 2017 recipient was Mali Comlekci.

Harry Haythorne Award
Supported by the Harry Haythorne Fund

The finals of the 2017 Harry Haythorne Choreographic Awards were held at the Royal New Zealand Ballet studios in Wellington with five emerging choreographers – Jo Funaki, Laura Saxon Jones, Shaun James Kelly, Sarah Knox and Loughlan Prior – presenting new works created on the company.

First place went to Auckland-based choreographer Sarah Knox for her work Between There and Now, which featured nine dancers and was set to music by Rhian Sheehan.

The audience choice award was won by Japanese choreographer and former RNZB dancer Jo Funaki for his work So Ko Ka Ra Na Ni Ga Mi E Ru?, featuring eight dancers and the music of Lajkó Félix És Zenekara.

Partner a Dancer – Harry Skinner

The Foundation continued to support the RNZB through the Partner a Dancer programme. Harry left the RNZB at the end of 2017 to pursue full time university study.

Sponsorship of the New Zealand School of Dance Associates programme
$10,000 over two years

The Associates programme identifies classical and contemporary dance students from throughout New Zealand who have the talent for a career in dance performance. Each year they have 4 weekends of tuition at the New Zealand School of Dance in Wellington. The Foundation’s funding assisted in the delivery of this programme.

New Zealand School of Dance Ballet Foundation Scholarship

This Ballet Foundation scholarship was awarded to a classical ballet student at the New Zealand School of Dance to support their fees.

The 2017 recipient was Saul Newport. At the end of the year Saul took up a position at Houston Ballet II, the junior company of Houston Ballet. In 2021, he returned to New Zealand and joined the RNZB.

2016

Harry Haythorne Award
$1,500 – Supported by the Harry Haythorne Fund

The Harry Haythorne Choreographic Awards were held in November 2016 at a special in-studio event for RNZB Dress Circle members and Friends. A panel of judges, including RNZB artistic staff and guests, awarded the Judges’ prize of $1,000, and audience members voted for the Audience prize of $500.

Shaun James Kelly won the Judges’ Award for his work Blanc, which he choreographed for fellow RNZB dancers Madeleine Graham, Tonia Looker, Katherine Minor, Marie Varlet, Leonora Voigtlander, Alexandre Ferreira, Shih-Huai Liang and Paul Mathews.

RNZB dancer Laura Saxon Jones won the Audience Award for her work Alpha, which she choreographed for Madeleine Graham, Katherine Minor, Alayna Ng, Kirby Selchow and Leonora Voigtlander.

Partner a Dancer – Harry Skinner

The Foundation continued to support the RNZB through the Partner a Dancer programme.

Born in Invercargill, Harry Skinner trained under Paula Hunt in Wellington and at the Australian Ballet School. He performed in the Australian Ballet’s productions of Don Quixote and Destiny. Harry joined the RNZB in 2008 and his early roles included Peter’s Shadow in Peter Pan (2009) and Fritz in The Nutcracker (2010).

2015

Harry Haythorne Fund
Supported by various donors

Harry Haythorne MBE (1926 – 2014) was the Artistic Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet from 1981 – 1992. Before his death, he made a generous donation to the Foundation. Upon his death in November 2014, in lieu of flowers, and in accordance with his wishes, his executors asked for donations in his memory to be made to The Ballet Foundation of New Zealand.

Harry Haythorne Award
$1,500 – Supported by the Harry Haythorne Fund

The Ballet Foundation decided, in partnership with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, to support a choreographic season in his name and held the inaugural Harry Haythorne Choreographic Award.

Loughlan Prior was the winner of the inaugural Harry Haythorne Award. He took both the choreographic award selected by a panel of five judges and the audience prize for his piece Eve, danced by Laura Saxon Jones, Kirby Selchow, Bryn Watkins, William Fitzgerald and Loughlan himself.

Loughlan was delighted with the win. “I am so proud and humbled to be the recipient of the Harry Haythorne Award. Having a platform to create on the talented artists of the RNZB, and then to showcase a work to the public, has been an invaluable moment in my artistic development. I would like to sincerely thank everyone who has supported me on this journey.”

Partner a Dancer – Hayley Donnison

The Ballet Foundation continued it’s support of Hayley Donnison through the RNZB’s Partner a Dancer programme. Hayley left the company for her next adventure in 2016.

2014

DAVID dance film – Cho. Loughlan Prior
Supported by the Rule Foundation

Showing its commitment to support working choreographers, the Ballet Foundation was pleased to support Loughlan Prior to create a new dance film.

Set against a backdrop of the New Zealand coastline, across two parallel story lines, David examines his young life and those he has come to share it with. The creation of DAVID was a collaborative project between the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Zambesi and Prior Visual. With kind thanks to the support of The Ballet Foundation of New Zealand, The Rule Foundation and Wallace Media. The film screened at the Short Film Corner of the Cannes Film Festival 2015.

The film featured RNZB dancers William Fitzgerald and Laura Saxon Jones, as well as Loughlan Prior himself.

Partner a Dancer – Hayley Donnison

The Ballet Foundation made its first grant to the RNZB through the Partner a Dancer programme.

Born in Hamilton, Hayley Donnison moved to Invercargill as a toddler and started ballet when she was six. At age ten while dancing at Shelley E Coutts Dance Academy, Hayley moved to Melbourne with her family where she continued her training with Christa Cameron School of Ballet. At 15 she was accepted into the Australian Ballet School and graduated in 2012. While at the ABS Hayley received the Level 5 Award for Excellence and was selected to visit The National Ballet School of Canada and The School of American Ballet on exchange.

Hayley joined the RNZB as an apprentice in January 2013, becoming a full company member in September 2013.

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Principal Sara Garbowski (centre) as the Lilac Fairy, with fellow RNZB dancers, in The Ryman Healthcare Season of The Sleeping Beauty, 2020. Photo: Stephen A’Court.