Shona McCullagh says she is excited to bring the New Zealand Dance Company to Nelson next month. Photo: John McDermott.

Dance connection ahead of world-class show


Well-known local dance teacher Peta Spooner will be watching with pride when her former student, and now the leader of one of the country’s most prestigious contemporary dance companies, takes to the Theatre Royal stage next month.

Shona McCullagh, artistic director of the New Zealand Dance Company, was taught by Peta as a teenager and the two have remained connected ever since.

The NZDC is in town on May 9 as part of the ‘Kiss the Sky’ national tour – a triple bill described as a constellation of original dance, live music and design from Aotearoa, Korea and Australia.

In the show, Shona has combined the physicality of Korean choreographer and composer KIM Jae Duk in his work Sigan, the vibrant aesthetic of New Zealand’s Victoria Colombus in her world premiere work The Fibonacci, along with the powerhouse choreography of Australian choreographer Stephanie Lake in If Never Was Now.

Shona says she has fond memories of Peta being her dance teacher back in the early 1980s at the Deirdre Tarrant Dance School in Wellington.

“She was a really positive part of my childhood, I’m very grateful to her.”

Peta says she remembers Shona “standing out in class” and knew she would go on to big things.

“She was capable, confident and had a certain air about her. She was quite a force, and I have followed her all this time.”

Shona, who has also coordinated the summer schools the NZDC have run in Nelson over the last two summers for emerging talent, says she is excited to bring ‘Kiss the Sky’ to the Top of the South.

“We’ve had rave reviews and packed houses everywhere we’ve been, and we’re really looking forward to coming to Nelson.

The dance community there is so supportive and its always one of our favourite places to visit.”

‘Kiss the Sky’ is on at the Theatre Royal on Thursday, 9 May at 7:30pm. Tickets are selling fast, so be sure to get in quick. Tickets are available online from TicketDirect. Head to their website for all ticket options for the ‘Kiss the Sky’ show.