This week’s small pleasures #117

So here we are again…another week, another round of small (and one big) pleasures at the start of summer for those of us down here in the Southern Hemisphere.

Well, basically, good weather again…after some pretty awful days of rain at the start of the week. It has been hot, we’ve had thunder and I have heard the first cicada.  The floral cakes are really beginning to take shape in the Botanic Gardens, there are cherries for sale everywhere and we are enjoying summer fruits.

Monday afternoon
Dragon flower
Apartamentos Casablanca: dragon flower

But the biggest pleasure this week was the classical students graduation season performance at The New Zealand School of Dance.  The six pieces chosen really showed off what the dancers can do, and the evening was a glorious celebration of the students’ hard work and dedication.  The evening began with La Sylphide pas de deux and grand divertissement, and it was clear that the students had the Bournonville coach Henning Albrechtsen as a residency at the school last year.  This was followed by a brilliant bravura performance of Balanchine’s Tarantella and a new classical piece from 1986, Sfumto, choreographed by Betsy Erickson.  And then came the highlight of the evening – Christopher Wheeldon’s After the rain pas de deux.  A beautiful piece, and so lovingly interpreted on the night I was there by Sook Meng Lim and Isaak McLean, two dancers who I feel will go far.  The third part of the evening was a piece especially choreographed for one of the male dancers by Australian Louise Delour, which was followed by Christopher Hampson’s Saltarello, originally first produced by the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 2001.  This was an energy filled perfect ending to the evening.

Garry Trinder, who has been director of the school for twenty years, should be rightly proud of the students coming out of the school. Three of the classical students will head over to the Royal New Zealand Dance next year, and three more have jobs with overseas companies.  Some of the contemporary students have also been offered jobs already.  I will be honest and say that I much preferred the classical evening to the contemporary evening of the week before, one reason being the actual works themselves.  The classical students had world class pieces to dance (Bournonville, Balanchine, Wheeldon), while the contemporary students had pieces made on them by different choreographers, which did not give students a chance to show their ability to dance different schools or styles of contemporary dance.  Anyway, both evenings were excellent.

Graduation Season

Finally, we lit our first Advent candle on Sunday, so it really now feels that Christmas is round the corner.

First of Advent

Thanks to Mani over at A New Life Wandering for the original idea.

You can find Thistles and Kiwis on Facebook, and also on Instagram@thistleandkiwis.  As for Twitter….am totally inactive these days.  If you want to get in touch, email me on

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