A life-long love of the stage
Kerry-anne Gilberd MNZM may have hung up her pointe shoes but her passion remains.
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.