Although we’re in rural New Zealand, far away from the large population centres, we were delighted to see that the Royal New Zealand Ballet was touring and appearing at a town close by. So today we drove into Kerikeri to attend the NZ Ballet’s production of Pinocchio, choreographed by Toby Behan.

Royal NZ Ballet performance in Kerikeri, March 2011

The first thirty minutes of the performance was devoted to classical ballet. The young dancers’ athleticism and precision dancing was on show, but I find it very hard to get past my discomfort at the men’s costumes! (Am I the only one who finds this difficult with classical ballet?)

Royal NZ Ballet at Kerkeri, March 2011
The first part of the ballet production was a demonstration of classical ballet to the music of Verdi.

When Pinocchio started, we were enthralled by the costumes, enchanted by the story and completely entertained until the very end. This was the first time that our girls had heard the story, so I had to explain some of it to them, but the story was so well-told in dance form so that it was easy to follow.

Royal NZ Ballet in Kerikeri, March 2011
Pinocchio was played by the French dancer Medhi Angot who joined the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 2008. (In the background, Luminati — Pinocchio's conscience — watches as Pinocchio departs with the bully Lampwick.)

Royal NZ Ballet in Kerikeri, March 2011
When the donkey appeared on stage, it was an immediate sensation.

Royal NZ Ballet in Kerikeri, March 2011
The scenes involving the giant whale Monstro were a fantastic recreation of underwater life. It is inside the belly of this whale that Pinocchio and Geppetto are reunited.

Royal NZ Ballet performance in Kerikeri, March 2011
The dancers who played Fox and Cat, the two unscrupulous swindlers, were a favourite.

At the end of the evening, we stayed the night where we were parked outside the performance center. It was a fabulous evening of entertainment for our whole family, and no doubt it will lead to a lot more imaginative play in the days to come!