Tauranga dance: Gillian Cook reviews “Where in the World is Wally”


For anybody agonizing over the decision of where to go for their next overseas travel, you may have been helped by going to the recent ballet production of “Where in The World is Wally” the 2016 end of year production of Dance Institute School of Ballet and Modern Dance.

The music was carefully chosen to demonstrate the feeling of the country. The three-tiered stage was back-dropped with a huge screen depicting each country and was supported by smaller screens either side of the stage in the foreground.



It beats me how two women teach and choreograph over 150 children with ages ranging from four to eighteen. One word comes to mind of Shireen Breebaart and Sarah McBride and it is “dedication”.

The fabulous cast

The fabulous cast

Each scene – and there were over 30 of them – and each requiring a whole new wardrobe were pulled together by another dedicated team of sewers and collective imaginations.

Behind the stage there was more and the sound direction, provided at Bethlehem College was excellent along with the venue that is up there with the best of auditoriums.

I’d score the content of the show at 100 percent for showcasing dancers’ skills to their families.

Except for a little more imagination to engage the story with the audience I couldn’t help but think this show could have engaged a cold audience and also won them over.

Dominic Pearson, playing Wally, featured in almost every scene as he travelled from one country to another. This teenager has been dancing for around two years, yet his composure and movement scream talent ready and waiting to be advanced. Often he was accompanied on stage by Rowan Wathen as Odlaw, an outlaw and mischievous character. They did their best to tie and engage the scenes that would challenge any professional at the best of times. Accolades must be given to these two youths.

On top of the cuteness factor of seeing the littlies dance, one of my favourites was a scene called Jasmine Flower – it broke from the traditional formation to use large fans to create a flower that opened and closed. The sound of their movement added to the magic and to capture nature to a degree, the crowd spontaneously cheered throughout. The girls epitomized elegance in their black and petal skirts.

India was another of my favourites as talent was stretched to one-handed somersaults in addition to authentic Indian movements and music.

Spanish ballet group

Spanish ballet group

As much as an audience likes to be entertained, it also appreciates the beauty of the classics – in this case La Bayadere (Kingdom of the Shades) 1877. With a back-drop of a full moon, one by one the troupe of white tutu clad dancers entered and descended as the illusion of spirits in the castle in the sky. The pace slowed, the audience breathed and basked before coming back in time to the up-beat next scene, the Can Can.

La Bayadere

La Bayadere

A special saved to the end was the 2016 Leavers. Three dancers: Monique Channer, Nathalie Guernier and Briar Hudson drew admiration and inspiration by their final performance with The Dance Institute School of Ballet and Modern Dance. It may have been sad for them but it was also a time for them to shine.

Adult ballerinas

Adult ballerinas

If anything represented community, this production did, right down to the audience of family and friends who knew darn well how much time, work, pain and pleasure this show represented.

01 Gillian Cook 5th Aug 16Gillian Cook: Tauranga based children’s author Gillian Cook has a background in journalism and newspaper editing. A member of Tauranga Writer’s Inc. Gillian is a published author who has other work ready to go. Take a look at Gillian’s interview with ARTbop Literary Editor Sam Woodward about her sci-fi young adult fiction.


donotleavemehangingbyathreadsecondseries2016-003Do not leave me hanging by a thread: a spoken word – poetry YouTube project to support the work of Medecins sans frontieres MSF  – Doctors Without Borders.     You can see Tauranga locals reading their work at the Creative Bay of Plenty Gallery.  Read the promotional article here online.



4 – 17 January 2017 

Remains of the Day. 

Deborah Forkert has recently again been a finalist in the Tauranga Art Gallery Miles Award. Her unusual medium may surprise you.  More than five years’ practice-based research with one this medium has resulted in a very polished exhibition.

Artist Deborah Forkert

Artist Deborah Forkert

20 Jan – 20 Feb 2017

The Bee Appreciation Society AGM. 

Paintings by Katherine Steeds. A unique and painstaking installation of tiny portraits, in homage to the humble bee.

Anne Stråtveit’s  ART SCHOOL exhibition’s limited edition fine art prints are available now and will continue to be available through the gallery for the foreseeable future.  

During exhibitions the Gallery’s usual opening hours: 11am – 4.30pm every day except Mondays.

But visitors are welcome to browse the gallery outside these hours. Please simply phone for an appointment.

The Cottleston Gallery 

128 Oropi Road, Greerton, Tauranga.  

Contact Katherine Steeds 578 5242 or 0204783337



0204 STEEDS (0204 783337)

Cottlestongallery website 



Miranda Farm Gallery

Miranda Farm Gallery

Hello from Miranda Farm Gallery,

The Summer show is now up and open for viewing. There are some
sculptures out doors in the orchard, and many beautiful paintings,
prints, ceramics and sculptures in the gallery.

Artists this year include Michael Smither, Fatu Feu’u, Neil
Miller,Christine Hellyar, Warren Viscoe, Clovis Viscoe, James Wright,
Uli Christofferson, Samantha Lisette, Suzy Dunser.

We will be open on all the public holidays through the Summer, and the
farm shop/cafe also.

Annie Wilson

Miranda Farm Gallery

1107 Miranda Rd

09 238 2608


Open 8-4pm every day





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