Royal New Zealand Ballet preparing for first nationwide tour since COVID-19

The Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) company is getting ready to celebrate as their first show and nationwide tour since COVID-19 kicks off this month.

They will be one of the first ballet companies in the world to get back on stage again and will be doing so with a modern ballet called Venus Rising.

Forget classical pirouettes and arabesques, the RNZB are taking their first show post COVID-19 up a notch.

Venus Rising is made up of four short ballets with a contemporary twist.

"Think of the show as stories, four short stories - each work connects with a different part of your emotions," artistic director Patricia Barker told Newshub.

The RNZB began rehearsing for the tour back in January but everything was put on hold when COVID-19 hit. 

But despite the setback, Barker said they're luckier than most and they may now be the only ballet company in the world who will be able to tour this year.

"We're carrying the flag for our artform, we are the only company that is going to get on stage at this point in time," Barker said

Katherine Skelton has been a ballerina with the company for 11 years and said everyone is keen to get back to live performance.

"The thing we wanted to do since we were little is to go on stage and perform and provide that escapism for people to come and watch us in the theatre, and we are very excited to go and do that again," Skeleton said.

The cast of Venus Rising spend 6 hours per day, five days a week rehearsing the dances and perfecting their technique, the end result being a show they'll take all over New Zealand.

And that six hours is only a minimum - practice can go up to 10 hours per day but Skelton said for her and her colleagues, it's more of a lifestyle as opposed to work.

"I just love ballet I love coming in and doing my daily ritual of my pliés and everything in the morning, and then seeing what's in store that day because it’s always changing," Skelton said.

The curtain will rise for the first show in Wellington in just over a week, on August 20, before the company tours and twirls around New Zealand, bringing ballet back at a time when it's never been wanted more.