Kiwi dancers make history with routine in Antarctica

A London-based Kiwi choreographer has become the first person ever to create a dance video on the Frozen Continent.

Antarctica: The First Dance hopes to celebrate the continent - and warn against the immediate threat of climate change.

Choreographer Corey Baker came up with the idea three years ago, the February shoot fulfilling a lifelong dream.

"I've always thought of it as a fairytale, this magical place," he told Newshub.

"And to actually be able to go and create work, and do what I love - and create it for a cause I'm passionate about - is the best thing that's ever happened to me."

Starring Royal New Zealand Ballet dancer Madeleine Graham and released to celebrate Earth Day, the film carries a serious environmental message: in the time it takes to watch the four-and-a-half-minute video, 860,000 tonnes of Antarctic ice will melt.

"That was a really hard thing to emotionally balance," says Baker, "to be like, 'Oh my goodness this place is incredible' but also, 'It's going to go, and I'm helping affect that'."

Baker says he wanted to use dance to help people feel closer to a confronting subject.

"It's a bit daunting. Climate change can be a scary, even boring subject for people - so to get people to watch a dance film that's beautiful and celebrates Antarctica was my key job."

Baker's been in the UK since 2008, but he credits his hometown as part of his inspiration.

"Being from Christchurch, the gateway city to Antarctica, knowing about it growing up through the Antarctic Centre and Antarctica New Zealand, I had maybe more of a fascination of the place as a human," he says.

The challenging shoot took 12 days as the crew and Graham battled the elements.

"We could only ever do 10 to 20 seconds at a time. We'd need to put coats on, warm Madeleine and everyone else up, re-stage, re-do, and film again."

And Baker's not resting on his laurels - his next project will be on Mt Everest.