Illuminating the stage, Lightscapes promises to be an extraordinary celebration of the RNZB’s 70-year legacy and a testament to the company’s vibrant future.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) is set to commemorate its 70th anniversary with a special program entitled Lightscapes.

David McAllister, the Interim Artistic Director of RNZB, expressed his excitement about the anniversary, stating, “For 70 years, the Royal New Zealand Ballet has reflected our place in the world, presenting unique works that tell our stories while also staging the most exciting works from around the world to delight our New Zealand audiences.”


Lightscapes pays tribute to the RNZB’s rich heritage of innovation by featuring a diverse range of performances. The program includes Moss Te Ururangi Patterson’s powerful new work inspired by his Māori cultural heritage, George Balanchine’s modern classic Serenade, and pieces by talented female choreographers Alice Topp and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa.

Te Ao Mārama, a world premiere by Moss Te Ururangi Patterson, takes centre stage as a remarkable addition to the RNZB’s repertoire. Drawing inspiration from haka, the traditional Māori dance form, and showcasing the strength of the male dancers, this New Zealand ballet masterpiece promises to be a captivating and enduring work.

Patterson shared his vision for Te Ao Mārama, explaining, “I’m interested in exploring our connection to place, the landscapes that have informed how we connect to this land.”

Serenade, originally staged by former Artistic Director Una Kai in 1975, holds a special place in the hearts of dancers and audiences alike. A plotless yet profoundly meaningful ballet, Serenade fills the stage with exquisite movement and deep emotion. It celebrates the joy of ballet and the limitless possibilities that arise when music, movement, light, and space come together.

The second half of Lightscapes features two NZ premieres by globally renowned choreographers. Annabelle Lopez Ochoa’s Requiem for a Rose, originally created for Pennsylvania Ballet in 2009, explores the themes of romantic and idealized love versus lasting and genuine affection.

In addition, Alice Topp, an alumna of the RNZB, presents Logos, a work she created for The Australian Ballet in 2020. Logos transports viewers to a world of pure physicality, accompanied by mesmerizing music and audacious design. Reflecting on the storms we all face, including fears, conflicts, darkness, and personal demons, Logos concludes the 70th Anniversary program with clarity, purpose, and hope for the future.

Topp described Logos as a story of internal conflict and navigating a world filled with storms. She emphasized the timely nature of revisiting this work, given the turbulence and conflicts experienced globally. Topp expressed her delight and honour to be part of the celebratory season, praising the RNZB’s courage and tenacity throughout its 70-year history.

Lightscapes will travel to Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington (27 to 29 July), Ōtautahi Christchurch (5 to 6 August) and Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland (10 to 12 August).

Photos | Ross Brown.