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When celebrated Czech choreographer Jiří Bubeníček and his production designer brother Otto arrive in New Zealand to prepare a ballet inspired by the film The Piano for the Royal New Zealand Ballet, the stage is set for a voyage into uncharted territory for everyone involved.
For the Māori advisor hired by the ballet company, the work epitomises cultural appropriation. His response challenges the concept of freedom of expression so important to the Bubeníčeks while raising questions about cultural representation in the arts. Meanwhile the dancers face challenges of a different kind as they come to terms with the characters and how to portray them.
As everybody works to bring Jane Campion’s famous story to the stage, themes from the original film – old world versus new, new relationships, new challenges – play out amongst those involved, and Jiří and Otto discover the responsibilities of storytelling in dance are more complex than they ever imagined.
This critically acclaimed documentary is well suited to senior secondary and tertiary students studying areas of dance, but would equally engage students from Years 10 to 12 involved in many areas of the creative arts, including any form of performance. A study of collaboration in staging a performance, it reveals a great deal about the roles of choreographers, set designers, musicians and costume designers as well as dancers in creating and staging a performance.
Running Time: 98 mins
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