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Remarkable Men’s Ballet dancer Bert Haines, centre, is surrounded by, clockwise
from centre front, Euan Spijkerbosch, Craig ‘Ferg’ Ferguson, Dave Mahoney, Mike
Thurston and Matt Schneider.

The world-famous-in-Queenstown ballet troupe’s putting the finishing touches on the performance for this year’s Christmas show, being streamed online from Sunday.

This year’s men’s ballet theme’s being kept tightly under wraps, but Ferguson says it may, or may not, involve nose clips.

Christmas show ready to rock

By CASS MARRETT

Queenstown’s had a year riddled with disappointing cancellations, but Santa’s helpers have been pulling some strings to make sure the annual Christmas show was never going to be one of them.

In October, a decision was made to move the show, called A Rockin’ Christmas, online, as an “insurance” it could go ahead regardless of what Covid settings might be in place.

“I think it’s just a real event in the family calendar for so many people with young children, and also for our young performers as well, says director of the show, Lisa Clough.

“There’s not a whole lot of opportunities for them to get on stage an learn about performance and to express their amazing talents, so we really wanted to be able to do that and to just ultimately spread a bit of Christmas joy in a difficult year.”

Clough says people can expect this year’s event to be just as magical as previous years, with the added bonus of a wider reach and being able to personalise the experience, so it fits the family Christmas plans.

“The positive side of having the show online means that people that wouldn’t be able to travel to see the show, for example, people from overseas, grandparents, and family members will be able to see the show.

“One of my friends is hiring Arthur’s Cinema in Cromwell and inviting her friends and their kids to come and watch it … personally, my family, we’re going to watch it on Christmas Day because it’s available till the 26th.”

The show features performances from Queenstown Gymnastics Club, Wakatipu Conservatoire of Classical Ballet, DEVOS dancers and the infamous Remarkables Men’s Ballet toupe.

 

Leader of the latter, Craig ‘Ferg’ Ferguson, says the group of 10 are going in a different direction with their performance this year, under the tutelage of choreographer Anna Stuart, but is giving little away, other than to say, “the Russians are very good at it”.

He has revealed there’s an “aqua” theme and, for that reason, the troupe won’t be doing the traditional Ballarat Street flash mob performance tonight.

“Lake Whakatipu’s too cold,” he laughs.

“I think because of the quality of the group they’d want to go the whole hog, so it was Lake Whakatipu or nothing, so it’s going to be nothing.

“It is disappointing.

“We love the flash mob – it’s a great chance to front something for those who don’t get to see it, those normal Friday afternoon revellers, but it’s just not possible this year, sadly.”

Going virtual: The cast of A Rockin’ Christmas prepares to perform for virtual audiences this year

The show follows four kids – JJ (Paige Gawn), Max (Scarlett Hamilton), Tama (Felix Nicol) and Tia (Evie England-Hall) – who, while rehearsing for their family’s Christmas show, are interrupted by a commotion in the front yard.

Santa’s been in a sleigh accident and as a result is suffering amnesia, doesn’t know who he is and wanders off.

The kids, joined by Santa’s elf (Helena Hornbacher) and Granny (Margaret O’Hanlon), go on a mission visiting all of Queenstown’s hotspots to find Santa and the musical spirit of the Whakatipu.

As for the rest, “you’ll have to wait and see”, Clough teases.

This year the show’s supporting Queenstown’s new arts and cultural hub Te Atamira, and donations are accepted at the time of booking

A Rockin’ Christmas is available for streaming on Vimeo from December 12-26, registrations are open now at https:christmasshow.co.nz

cass.marrett@scene.co.nz