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Sir Jon Trimmer and The Royal New Zealand Ballet

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Sir Jon Trimmer has been a dancer with the Royal New Zealand Ballet for 50 years. He has been a tireless role model, promoter and worker for the company as it struggled in its very early days through to today where the RNZ Ballet is a renowned international dance company.

Sir Jon came from an artistic family and his sister Pamela, who ran a dance school in Lower Hutt, initially taught him to dance. He was invited to join the RNZ Ballet in 1958 by the company director, Poul Gnat and after a year won a scholarship to train in London.

He returned in 1962 and married Jacqui Oswald in 1963. She was also a dancer with the RNZ Ballet. For 7 years they toured with the Australian Ballet and the Royal Danish Ballet before returning to New Zealand in 1970. They had several opportunities to travel with other international ballet companies but chose to stay and support the RNZ Ballet. Sir Jon is now 68 and still performs for the company. His gift is not only for dancing but also for acting and he now plays character roles, such as Don Quixote in the RNZ Ballet production in 2008. He was knighted in 1999.

The Royal New Zealand Ballet is a company of approximately 40 dancers who perform a wide range of choreographic works in New Zealand and overseas.
They perform nineteenth century classical ballets and contemporary works, which provide enough variety to keep their many supporters interested and keen to see the productions.
The New Zealand Ballet was formed in 1953 by Danish Royal ballet dancer Poul Gnat.
(The right to include "Royal" in the title was granted in 1984.)
The early days of touring were very challenging.
The dancers performed night after night, travelling during the day. They had to unpack and repack the set each night, rig the lighting, iron costumes and be billeted out each night with members of the local communities in which they were performing. In 1967 a huge fire destroyed equipment and costumes, which almost put the company into financial ruin.
However, the company fought back and has now developed a reputation for staging full-length dramatic works and major ballets of the twentieth century.
In January 1998 the Royal New Zealand Ballet moved to its first ever purpose-built premises in Wellington at the Westpac Trust St James Theatre.

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