Tutus and twirls for male students' big ballet routine

The country's oldest ballet troupe is entertaining audiences this week as part of Otago University's annual Capping Show.

Fifty male students from Dunedin's Selwyn College are putting on dresses and make-up for their big routine.

It's a long and proud tradition and one the students love being part of.

This is the 89th year of the Selwyn Ballet. It's all about guys in tutus, but they still take the dancing seriously.

"You know, the wow factor is that actually we put in all this effort, and actually we are really good at it," second-year ballerina Jack Manning told Newshub.

Sofia Kalogeropoulou has choreographed the Capping Show routine for the last nine years, and admits it is hard work.

"It's always challenging, getting a bunch of boys and turning them into prima ballerinas. But the boys have been absolutely fantastic," she said.

For some of the guys, there's a lot to live up to, following in the footsteps of family members.

"My Dad was part of it back in the 1980s, in 1981. So that was a big motivation for me to really push these boys to get them down to training, and also get myself down," second-year ballerina Harry Legget said.

Leo English's uncle went to Selwyn College - although Prime Minister Bill English apparently didn't join the ballet fun.

For these lads, it's been a big commitment: three rehearsals a week for the last month and a half.

"But we all came in with the willingness to learn and a positive attitude. And it's really paid off," Leo said.

While it's an all-guy affair, the girls get involved as hair and make-up artists to the stars.

"Honestly I think they've actually done so well. Like it's actually a really impressive performance," hair and make-up artist Maddy Muldowney said.

There are two more shows to go before they hang up the tutus.