metropol » Ballet

Tag: Ballet

To the pointe: Muscle People

For ballerinas the world over it’s a much longed for moment; after years of watching “the big girls” – the time for learning to dance en pointe finally arrives. However, behind that stunning grace and beauty of a dancer en pointe is an incredible strength and technique.



Because adolescent growth is a time of rapid change, 12-year-olds vary in strength, so age alone does not determine whether a dancer is ready to train en pointe.

Classical ballet training places a force four times body weight through the foot, and this increases to twelve times when dancing en pointe.

Stiff ankles and feet can make it difficult to get onto pointe, putting added strain on muscles and joints. Hyper-mobile knees, ankles or feet mean muscles have to work harder to control the alignment that is required to avoid injury.

Dancing with poor posture, decreased strength or incorrect technique can lead to a higher risk of injury and decrease confidence.

Muscle People are proud to introduce their new Pre-Pointe Assessment: a series of tests and measures of a young dancer’s strength, balance, posture, and alignment.

Conducted by a physiotherapist, the assessment identifies if a dancer is ready to progress to pointe training and can reduce the risk of injury.

The team has developed a checklist of four items, based on the International Association of Dance and Medical Science Guidelines for Initiating Pointe Training.

The ballerina should:
• Be aged 12 years or over
• Be attending at least two ballet classes per week
• Have completed four plus years of ballet training
• Complete a pre-pointe assessment

Muscle People Physiotherapy has been providing world-class physiotherapy in Christchurch for over 20 years.

The extensive range of services includes preventive screenings to identify predisposition to injury for all sports, and provide a programme of techniques and therapy to help you avoid injury.


Dancing home, from afar

Forced to reimage dance in a contactless, Covid-19 world, Switzerland-based Sumner-raised contemporary dancer Emma Murray has been selected for Christchurch-based Movement Art Practice (MAP)’s residency, which will be run and shown digitally for the first time at the end of this month.



Emma found her feet as a dancer at six-years-old and went on to study at the New Zealand School of Dance, later earning a place at the Royal New Zealand Ballet Company.

She left New Zealand in her early 20s to dance across Europe.

She’s recently completed a Masters in Contemporary Art Practice at the Hochschule der Künste in Bern, Switzerland and was selected for the MAP residency by an impressive lineup of Kiwi judges including Cat Ruka, Paul Young and Pelenakeke Brown.

She tells Metropol about her journey as a dancer.

I was attracted early on to the work being made in Europe and the strong traditions of contemporary dance and theater there, despite having a strong classical training.

I left New Zealand in 1997, making my way around Europe auditioning for dance companies in France, Germany, Great Britain, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Czech Republic, Holland and Montreal, Canada.

Eventually I found work in a city theater in Innsbruck, Austria and from there, moved to Switzerland where I was engaged as a soloist at the Stadt Theater Bern (now Konzert Theater Bern). That work was some of the most demanding and exciting of my career – not least because during this time I became a mother juggling fulltime dance and childcare.

Developing my own projects has allowed me to diversify my skills in and out of the studio, on and off the stage, as well as straddle various artistic disciplines and work with other artists across cultural divides. I left the Konzert Theater Bern in 2008, and I’ve continued to travel for performing, residencies or workshops, festivals and teaching engagements.

Probably what I’m most proud of – and in all honesty a little amazed by – is that I’m still doing it! Still performing and making work, still engaged on projects – my own and with others – and still finding the funding to do it.

Because of Covid-19, artists have been quick to look for alternatives or solutions. For me, a drop in productivity (the closure of theaters, postponement or cancellation of festivals and performances) has meant more time for reflection and practice.

The MAP Research Exchange programme offers me an opportunity to re-think performance in the digital sphere and explore tactile possibilities for working with multi-media. I’ll be doing this alongside the critical theorist Giulia Palladini. I am looking to bring alive a conversation between written text and the body, the body and digital technology, digital technology and performing an archive.

Watch the three winning residencies broadcast their projects at


Ashburton: an all-rounder

When it comes to things to do, Ashburton is an all-rounder, with something for everyone. We’ve pulled together some of our favourite upcoming events.


Date: Saturday 15 February
Location: Ashburton Domain

If you want to go to an event that is both family-friendly and guilt-free (zero waste, alcohol free and smoke free) – this is the one for you.

Celebrate the diverse culture that is ever-growing in Ashburton.

Henna tattoos, local musicians and bands, market stalls, spot prizes and the unique experience of partaking in a Holi Festival… what’s not to be excited about?

Date: Saturday 14 March
Location: Ashburton Trust Event Centre

The Royal New Zealand Ballet presents Tutus on Tour 2020 – an event that is suitable for all ages.

The performance features tailor-made dancing created by local talent as well as world-class superstars.

With affordable tickets and only hour-long performances, this event is perfect to pass some Saturday spare time.

Date: Sunday 22 March
Location: Ashburton Trust Event Centre

How could you turn down a Tina Turner tribute – she’s simply the best!

The stage production will feature live vocals from Caroline Borole accompanied by a band, brass section, backing vocalists and dancers.

Don’t miss out on a night of Tina classic hits from the 60s, 70s, 80s & 90s.


In leaps and bounds

A 15-year-old contemporary dancer from Pegasus has just headed for New York this month to train at the prestigious Joffrey Ballet School.



Imke Koekemoer has adored dancing since she was three – her career now taking off in leaps and bounds. Accepted for a four-week intensive course, Imke is one of 14 dancers from Canterbury Ballet chosen from thousands worldwide who vied for places in three prestigious international dance schools this year.

Canterbury Ballet, co-directed by Lily and Alexis Cartright, is in partnership with Ao Tawhiti, which enables students like Imke to learn to dance full-time in tandem with studies; a big advantage on the competitive stage. Her gymnastic-style agility was honed during five years as a power tumbler from the age of eight.

“It’s really fun being upside down,” she laughs. “I am classical-ballet trained, but chose contemporary dance as my genre. It includes a wide range of styles, so I can really push myself.”

She was accepted for the Joffrey fulltime course, but her supportive parents, Deidre and Pieter, suggested moving to New York was better with another year or so under her belt. Imke appreciates the image of ballet is changing. “When I started I wasn’t toned or skinny, but it didn’t matter.”

Her dance idols include Misty Copeland and Michaela Deprince, who are changing stereotypes. “I believe to make it big you need to be versatile,” she says. So Ikme also masters other moves such as tap, hip-hop, lyrical and jazz – plus she sings, acts and does modelling. With feet pointed towards an action-packed future, she says, “I’d love to be on Broadway one day”.



On Pointe Training: Evolution School of Dance

When your child has the burning desire to learn ballet, naturally you want to make sure your school is giving you the best tutelage possible.



Evolution School of Dance knows this, which is why its teachers, Nicky Falloon, Azariah Selby and Angie Longman, have all been trained by the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD). With Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as their patron, the Royal Academy of Dance is the most prestigious ballet school in the world. Founded in 1920, it is regarded throughout the world for celebrating and showcasing every aspect of ballet, while focusing on building up the next generation of ballet dancers from around the world.

Nicky, Azariah and Angie strive 110 percent not only to uphold the Royal Academy of Dance’s sterling world-wide reputation, but to align themselves to the vision of RAD, which is passed through to Evolution School of Dance. Your child will be tutored personally by the professional membership body of dance teachers in a positive learning environment. Through a wide variety of classes and workshops, your child will be able to mix with likeminded passionate dancers who want to learn from the best, to achieve the highest possible level of excellence in ballet.

For more information about Evolution School of Dance, visit their Facebook page or call Nicky on 021 244 4131.