To celebrate the 125th Anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand, The Royal New Zealand Ballet is presenting their new production Strength and Grace featuring work from four female choreographers, this August.

The choreographers commissioned for Strength and Grace are Sarah Foster-Sproull from New Zealand, Danielle Rowe from Australia, Penny Saunders from the United States and Andrea Schermoly from South Africa. The production follows RNZB’s critically acclaimed tour of Dancing with Mozart.

RNZB Artistic Director Patricia Barker says: “We are excited to have four acclaimed choreographers from three continents bringing their experiences and life stories to the stage in this performance.”


Andrea Schermoly (pictured above) is the former director of the contemporary department at The Marat Daukayev School of Ballet in Los Angeles. She danced with Boston Ballet before joining Nederlands Dans Theater, where she worked with leading choreographers while developing her personal style that saw her win the Outstanding Choreographer award twice at Youth America Grand Prix as well as and the Emerging Choreographer award.

Sarah Foster-Sproull is a Professional Teaching Fellow at the University of Auckland and also teaches at Unitec and The New Zealand School of Dance. She has worked with all of New Zealand’s major dance companies either as a dancer, choreographer or rehearsal director and has had works performed at festivals both locally and internationally.

Danielle Rowe is the Associate Artistic Director of SF Dance Works in San Francisco. She is a former principal artist with The Australian Ballet where she won the People’s Choice Award twice as well as a Helpmann Award in 2010. Danielle became a principal dancer at Houston Ballet before joining Nederlands Dans Theater in 2012 where she made her choreographic debut in 2015.

Penny Saunders is Choreographer in Residence at Grand Rapids Ballet and is a former member of Ballet Arizona, Cedar Lake Ensemble and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. Penny won Hubbard Street’s International Commissioning Project in 2011 which launched her choreographic career and is the recipient of the New York City Ballet Choreographic Commissions Initiative and Princess Grace Choreographic Fellowship.


Strength and Grace will be performed at Wellington’s Opera House on Friday 17 and Saturday 18 August. Tickets from