A life-long love of the stage

Kerry-anne Gil­berd MNZM may have hung up her pointe shoes but her pas­sion re­mains.

The Wellingtonian - - Front Page -

You cur­rently work for Or­ches­tra Welling­ton as the spon­sor­ship man­ager, what does that en­tail?

My job is to man­age client re­la­tion­ships with cur­rent spon­sors and donors and to cultivate new re­la­tion­ships. I love work­ing with our or­ches­tra. This job also gives me the free­dom to work on and de­velop my clas­si­cal bal­let coach­ing.

How im­por­tant is it for you to share your knowl­edge and pas­sion for the arts with young tal­ent?

I feel priv­i­leged to be able to coach and men­tor our young up­com­ing dance tal­ent in this beau­ti­ful coun­try. It is of the ut­most im­por­tance to me that I give ev­ery stu­dent that I coach the op­por­tu­nity to be­come the best pos­si­ble dancer that they can be. In the past four years I have trav­elled twice to Amer­i­can Bal­let Theatre in New York to study their Na­tional Train­ing Cur­ricu­lum.

Where did your in­ter­est in the arts ini­tially come from?

My mother loved bal­let and took me to my first dance les­son at the age of six years. I was very quiet and hardly ever talked. My head was al­ways in a book as I loved read­ing. Once I started danc­ing I dis­cov­ered the joy of be­ing on stage, cen­tre stage in the lights and re­alised at a young age how im­por­tant mu­sic was to me.

You were a bal­le­rina with the RNZB for many years, what was it like to be in­volved in such a pres­ti­gious com­pany?

I was for­tu­nate to be a mem­ber of the RNZB in the 1970s, 80s and 90s. We toured in­ter­na­tion­ally to Aus­tralia, Amer­ica, Europe and China. I worked un­der three artis­tic di­rec­tors over this time and per­formed a range of dif­fer­ent reper­toire. We were one large fam­ily and looked af­ter each other’s backs. In my time we danced com­mand per­for­mances for Queen El­iz­a­beth, Prince Charles and Lady Di­ana and Prince Ed­ward.

What has been one of your ca­reer high­lights to date?

My re­tire­ment sea­son in Oc­to­ber 1994 in my favourite role as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet with Ou Lu as Romeo. Ou Lu was an in­cred­i­ble dancer. As a part­ner he never over­shad­owed me, yet main­tained the qual­ity of our part­ner­ship. This gave me more con­fi­dence and free­dom which en­abled me to re­ally be­come ‘Juliet’.

Can you tell me a lit­tle about Or­ches­tra Welling­ton’s up­com­ing In­vi­ta­tion to the Dance con­cert?

This stun­ning pro­gramme of dance mu­sic by Ravel, Grieg and Weber will take me back to my danc­ing days. This year the or­ches­tra’s sea­son has been ded­i­cated to the Rus­sian im­pre­sario Di­aghilev who in­spired com­posers to cre­ate bal­let mas­ter­pieces many of which I have danced to in my ca­reer.

Can you de­scribe a per­fect Satur­day?

A chance for a sleep in, read­ing a good book, pre­par­ing a spe­cial meal to have with a glass of wine and time with those I love.

If you could in­vite four peo­ple to din­ner, who would they be and why?

Im­pre­sario Sergei Di­aghilev, Ru­dolf Nureyev, Edgar De­gas and Billy Con­nolly. ❚ Or­ches­tra Welling­ton presents In­vi­ta­tion to the Dance, Septem­ber 9, 7.30pm at Michael Fowler Cen­tre, tick­ets at or­ches­trawelling­ton.co.nz.

LOOK WHO’S TALK­ING Left, Kerry-anne Gil­berd danc­ing in the New Zealand Bal­let Com­pany’s pro­duc­tion of Ser­e­nade in 1975, above, in her cur­rent role at Or­ches­tra Welling­ton.

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