Reviews of the Royal New Zealand Ballet.
I don’t know what these dancers looked like before Mr. Stiefel got his hands on them, but they’re spruce now, with pleasing manners and crisp classical technique. Where Mr. Millepied catches the music, they do, too. The women look particularly good: the springy Lucy Green, the sweet Tonia Looker. It’s telling that they do not pale in the presence of a world-class ballerina dancing flawlessly: the Ballet Theater principal, guest artist and fiancée of Mr. Stiefel, Gillian Murphy.
If the three ballets on the bill on Wednesday are any indication, he is wisely aiming for a wide range of styles and genres in the company's ever-expanding repertory. Not only that, but his dancers proved to be eminently capable of both classical and contemporary works. The first offering of the evening, "28 Variations on a Theme of Paganini", was choreographed by Benjamin Millepied in 2005 for students at the School of American Ballet. Five couples, the ladies in pointe shoes and pastel mid-length tutus and the gentlemen in complementing hues, all had star turns as well as ensemble work with a hint of Balanchine.