Wellington dancer debuts on tour

Wellington dancer debuts on tour

Wellington Dancer, Ngaere Jenkins debuts in the New Zealand Dance Company's national tour "Kiss the Sky". Photo: Caroline Bindon

A young Wellington dancer has debuted with the New Zealand Dance Company in its national tour of ‘Kiss The Sky’.

The Auckland-based company presented a trio of pieces; Sigan choreographed by KIM Jae Duk: The Fibonacci by Victoria Columbus; and If Never Was Now by Stephanie Lake.

Ngaere Jenkins, 21, who has danced with the company for three months, has appeared in all three pieces. She understudied for Sigan, the first piece, and was promoted after another dancer fell injured.

“It was a bit stressful suddenly having to rehearse a piece I thought I didn’t have to focus hugely on before my first show with the company.”

Jenkins of Seatoun, said it was a strenuous piece and her fitness wasn’t yet up to the role so “nearly died” afterwards.

This is despite training eight hours, five days a week. Training consists of technique class, then remounting and rehearsals.

“The first half is highly technical in the way that it requires slow control, balance and precision without showing any tension.

“The second half is then kinda HIIT [high intensity interval training], running on for 5 seconds of short, sharp movements then running off and running around the back of the stage to run back on 4 seconds later but looking cool, calm and collected.

“The last five minutes is just non-stop movement back and forth down the stage interrupted by some, way too slow, jumps on the spot which kills your thighs.”

She said the lack of routine made being on tour difficult, as well as being hard on your body.

“I think it’s the lack of routine which makes it hard, for example, not spending the time stretching and rolling out like I would at home.”

She said it was particularly hard in Wanaka and Invercargill because of the cold weather and freezing theatres. “We would go from dancing really hard out to stopping and all our muscles would seize up because it was so cold.”

Jenkins began her training at 10, with the Step Out Dance Company and Wellington Dance Academy. She then studied at the New Zealand School of Dance and won scholarships and overseas performances on behalf of the school.

She was involved with The New Zealand Dance Company in youth schools and short-term assignments.

“Shona McCullagh the director then came to our graduation performances in my third year and then offered me a contract after that.”

The New Zealand Dance Company describes the show as an “Asian-Pacific constellation of original dance, music, and design, reflecting on the themes of nature and time.”

A review by Jorden Lahood of the Lake Wanaka performance of Sigan said “We are immediately drawn in by a mysterious siren beat and a deliberate stillness for Ngaere Jenkins’ opening solo… the performance fluctuates between order and chaos, pause and attack.

“NZDC is abundant with highly creative movement, emotion, flow and strength. Contemporary dance at its finest.”

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Article by Rachel Moore

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