Royal NZ Ballet brings Russell Kerr's Swan Lake back to the St James — 03.07.13

When it premiered at the St James Theatre in Wellington in 1996, Russell Kerr's opulent production of 'Swan Lake' received critical acclaim and had audience members on their feet applauding.

In just a few weeks, Swan Lake, the beloved ballet returns to the theatre where it was first staged to begin an eight centre national tour in celebration of the Royal New Zealand Ballet's 60th birthday. Joining the company for its anniversary celebration is none other than choreographer and former Artistic Director Russell Kerr ONZM QSM.

"In this anniversary year, I felt it appropriate to present a ballet that would encapsulate the RNZB's history, as well as one that is an important work for any ballet company to perform regularly. I could think of no better way to capture this idea than to have Swan Lake performed. A production created by two celebrated New Zealand icons that have made such important contributions to the RNZB over the years: Russell Kerr and Kristian Fredrikson," says Ethan Stiefel, Artistic Director of the RNZB.

Russell Kerr was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2000, and in 2003 was recognised with The Arts Foundation Icon Award, an award which celebrates living icons of New Zealand arts. He is humbled to see his production of Swan Lake showcased this year. "This 60th anniversary offers the Royal New Zealand Ballet and the country the opportunity to mark the occasion with performances of the company's own production of Swan Lake and also offers dancers and chorographer the opportunity to relive the art that passes between them: the act of giving and receiving." says Russell Kerr.

Complementing Russell Kerr's impeccable choreography are extravagant costumes and spectacular sets designed by the late Kristian Fredrikson, often described as a genius, who went on to become one of Australasia's most experienced and sought-after designers. Fredrikson worked alongside Kerr and the RNZB for many years designing costumes and sets in his signature elaborate and richly textured style.

The Vodafone Season of Swan Lake opens in Wellington at the St James Theatre on Thursday 18 July and tours to seven other centres including Dunedin, Christchurch, Invercargill, Takapuna, Auckland and Palmerston North, closing in Napier on 1 September.

The Vodafone Season of Swan Lake tour dates:

  • Wellington: St James Theatre 18 - 27 July
New Zealand Symphony Orchestra
  • Dunedin: Regent Theatre 30 July
  • Christchurch: CBS Arena 3 August
Christchurch Symphony Orchestra
  • Invercargill: Civic Theatre 8 - 9 August
  • Takapuna: Bruce Mason Theatre 17 - 18 August
  • Auckland: The Civic 21 - 25 August
Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra
  • Palmerston North: Regent on Broadway 28 August
• Napier: Municipal Theatre 31 August - 1 September

Approximate running time: 3 hours, including two intervals.

Casting note: As with all RNZB productions, there are several casts.
Audience members are advised to check the RNZB's website for up to date cast lists.

For more information visit Royal New Zealand Ballet

Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB):
Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2013, the RNZB is an intrinsic part of New Zealand's national heritage, and has the largest following of all New Zealand performing arts companies. The RNZB enjoys a reputation for strong and unique interpretations of full-length dramatic works. To this base have been added the masterworks and major ballets of the 20th century, such as Balanchine's works and the Stravinsky ballets, and the company has an enviable track record in commissioning new works from New Zealand and international choreographers. The RNZB regularly represents New Zealand on the international stage, with recent tours to the UK, Australia and a tour to China in April of this year. Filming of the third series of hit reality television show ‘The Secret Lives of Dancers' commenced in early 2013 and will be on screen later in the year. The New Zealand Film Commission are funding a major motion film directed by Toa Fraser (No 2 and Dean Spanley) based on the RNZB's 2012 season of Giselle for general release in late 2013.

Content Sourced from

Swan Lake, performed by the Royal New Zealand Ballet, 2002. Choreography: Russell Kerr (after Pepita/Ivanov).   Image by Stephen A'Court, courtesy Royal New Zealand Ballet