Month: October 2013

Getting to the POINTE! On the road!!

Our journey began, trundling along in a bus. Destination- Carterton. Tutus on Tour tradition holding fast, we stopped by the Carterton town sign for a company photo, geared up to create new memories.

Carterton Events Centre! A newly spruced up little theatre and it’s looking absolutely lovely. Dancer bodies stretched out in the hot, sunlit courtyard near the stage, tour was off to a shining start.

With only 2 and half hours to complete class and fit in some spacing rehearsals for the evening show plus other rehearsals of different casts for upcoming shows, it was straight to business. With eight little mirrors to share between 16 dancers and a costume rack acting as a privacy screen between the males and females, Paul Simon’s- Grace Land hummed through my speakers as we all huddled around free mirror space to get ready.

What I enjoyed about this venue was the intimacy of the audience to the stage. You could hear every gasp, whisper and giggle. We were not only performing to the audience, but with them. A close-knit community sharing in the whole experience. Maybe they could hear our huffing and puffing from the stage too.

Now, we head on through Auckland, different casts making their debut! I must admit, I am a little nervous about my upcoming Flower Festival debut. It’s a piece that I have always longed to learn and now I am so excited to have the opportunity to perform it. I know many other dancers are also experiencing similar nervous/excited feelings about their upcoming debuts in other roles. Those famous Fouette turns from Don Quixote coda are spinning round our rehearsals, one of the most challenging movements to master.

As each show draws to a close I can’t wait to get out on stage again! Looking forward to taking on the challenges and delights of this tour.

 Tonia 🙂

Tweet, tweet, quack, quack!

A picture really can tell a thousand words! Make those pictures into live movement and you have a story. In the case of Brendan Bradshaw and Catherine Eddy’s new version of Peter and the Wolf, it’s a vibrant, funny, chic and wonderfully entertaining story.

This is definitely a ballet for all ages. Toys come to life and a kiwi twist makes everything sweet as! Our first week rehearsing in the theatre has not been without a minor drama or three. A few trips, falls and slides have provided some giggles as we all adjust to the lighting and new surroundings of the stage. Dramas overcome as stage rehearsals continue it’s all looking fantastic! I can’t wait to begin performing this show. With just 2 days remaining until opening night in Wellington and final touches underway, let the countdown begin!

A sneak peak side stage coming soon!

Tonia 🙂

Rehearsing in Black and White!

Tomorrow heralds the first day of rehearsals in the theatre! It’s time to get our thinking caps on, remember all of our spacing notes and set our movements to the stage. The first few days on stage are usually the most difficult. Certain steps may need to be adjusted to look more appropriate to the stage setting and concentration needs to stretch into the late evening. The count down to opening night begins!

Above are some rehearsal photos I have taken of the first half of the Tower Tutus on Tour programme. My camera is so full of my colleagues wonderful studio work. Peter and the Wolf pictures are in particular abundance. I shall post those fun images very soon!

Enjoy and thanks for stopping by , Tonia 🙂

Strike a pose!


There’s nothing quite like a little glitz, glitter and yellow and gold glamour on a Friday afternoon to duck dive into the weekend! This afternoon fellow dancer Kat Grange and myself had the pleasure of meeting interviewer from The Wellingtonian, Amy Jackman, for a newspaper interview and photo. Posing in the incredible new Peter and the Wolf outfits. Kat as the Cat (looking like a super hero, Cat Woman goes ballet) and myself as the all that glitters Duck (rubber Ducky has come to life)! What an entertaining afternoon it created.

Sitting in The Jimmy cafe for our interview, questions and answers gathering over pots of tea, I found myself becoming distracted. What was Amy writing on her note pad? It looked like odd, hieroglyphic symbols from another world. I figured she was trying to write our answers quickly and had, therefore, developed shorthand symbols of her own. This woman is amazing, I thought. Upon asking I discovered that shorthand is something all journalists are taught and is just second nature. I realized that dance is the same. To Amy, the very specific mime gestures we use in dance are a completely foreign concept. To me, however, they make total sense and can be read easily, just as Amy reads her shorthand. Ballet mime is simply another language to be learnt. Here’s where a photo series could be a lot of fun! What do you think? A series of pictures detailing ballet gestures and what they mean.

I look forward to blogging again soon! Tonia 🙂

Tower Tutus on Tour: First Post!



Introducing the talented group of dancers I will be touring with this season.

This is it! The tour most talked about amongst the dancers at the RNZB. It’s the source of most of the many light-heartedly recalled stories and memories of company life that remain with us always and create the close-knit family that Tower Tutus on Tour always becomes.

One of the unique elements to a ‘Tutus on Tour’ season is that the company dancers are split into two groups. This allows us to travel the same production to many more venues around NZ than would normally be possible.

After weeks of rehearsals just under 3 remain until opening night in Wellington.

So here we are, early nerves kicking in and that upcoming show excitement beginning to infuse the air. A mixed show of little duets, lilting loveliness, classic Pas de Deux and the great entertainer- Peter and the Wolf.

This week we trialled newly tailored Peter and the Wolf costumes in studio. Time to get rid of the practice gear and my attempts to create a bird outfit using a mixture of dance wear and any loose fitting pyjama type pants and slippers I could find to achieve the most realistic quick change. Every character looks fantastic! Aside from sweating up a mini pool inside my chic, gold birdie jacket, I adored our first costume run. It’s the extra element that makes you feel like you really are the character you portray.

Stay tuned for photographs of the rehearsal process and the lead up to opening night! I hope you enjoyed my first blog of the season!

Tonia 🙂

Dancers in order from top left: Mac Hopper, Lucy Green, Oscar Hoelscher, Laura Saxon Jones, Tonia Looker, Harry Skinner, Matthew Slattery, Antonia Hewitt, Hayley Donnison, Qi Huan, Alayna Ng, Jacob Chown, Brendan Bradshaw, Yang Liu, Rory Fairweather-Neylan, Clytie Campbell.