100 per cent pure Ethan, with a dash of Johan

Ethan Stiefel, the next artistic director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet has given his first interview signalling his plans for the company when he takes over on September 1.

Speaking in New York with Judith Mackrell of The Guardian, Stiefel, 38, said he is planning a new Giselle, in collaboration with Johan Kobborg, a principal dancer of the Royal Ballet.

They plan to strengthen the storytelling, “perhaps elaborating on the tension between Albrecht and Hilarion” and develop the character of Myrtha, Queen of the Wilis.

His first mixed bill will be an all-American evening, including a Balanchine ballet and piece by Benjamin Millepied.

Stiefel will choreograph new work for the company as will Kobborg.

Stiefel told Mackrell that Kobborg convinced him to apply for the NZ job.

“When I got it,” he told her, “I rang him up and said, ‘Look what you got me into, man! You got to help me out.'”

By the way, Mackrell quotes New Zealand-raised choreographer, Mark Baldwin, as saying there are 70 million sheep in New Zealand, a figure that the sub editor of The Guardian liked so much he/she used it in the intro to the article.

There were 70 million sheep, once. Now there are 34 million.

One Comment

  1. PJ Church Lynn
    Posted February 5, 2016 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    We were so honoured to have three wonderful years with Ethan Stiefel and Gillian Murphy from August 2011 to August 2014 here at the Royal New Zealand Ballet – Giselle and Swan Lake ballet productions were spectacular. The grand finale was when we saw American Ballet Theatre with Gillian as Odette/Odile perform in Brisbane celebrating their 75th birthday. Kevin Murphy was sitting in the row behind us and we had the privilege of extending our thanks for such a beautiful rendition of Swan Lake and seeing Gillian perform twice that weekend in Swan Lake.

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Ethan Stiefel

Ethan Stiefel, photo © Nelson Kepley