photo: Stephen A'Court
"The Royal New Zealand Ballet’s ‘dream team’ of choreographer Loughlan Prior and composer Claire Cowan return with their largest and most ambitious project to date....
Developed collaboratively with set, costume and visual effects partners Emma Kingsbury and POW Studios Cinderella is cohesive, holistically crafted, and resoundingly spectacular."
Brigitte Knight, stuff.co.nz
"Cinderella is beautiful chaos. From the grace and professionality of the dancers, to the shine of the set, the costumes and the digital projection, time and effort has clearly been put into making this piece revolutionary."
Emma Maguire, The Wellingtonista
"Cleverly integrating music, digital animation and ligthing, it is a lively piece which shows off the excellence of the dancers."
Deborah Weiss, Dancing Times, August 2022 on The Appearance of Colour.
"Prior’s choreography is energetic, using the vocabulary of classical ballet in fast-moving, contemporary manner that particularly favours the group’s impressive men"
Teresa Guerrero, Culture Whisper
"Prior captures the desperation in choreography that is daring and frighteningly honest. The Firebird has it all, theatre magic, memorable performances and the most important message of our times."
Maggie Foyer, Seeing Dance
"There is no exaggeration when we say, ‘If you can only see one ballet this year, make it The Firebird — if we gave star ratings, this was a deserved 10 out of 10." - Jack Yan, Lucire
"Loughlan Prior choreographs meticulously to the music, using the dynamic shifts and changes as a scaffold for his innovative storytelling. Brave, innovative and welcome."
Lynn Pringle, The Dominion Post
"Developing as a signature amongst his diverse and prolific works, Prior’s creativity is matched by the intelligence of his approach to concept, musical interpretation and movement vocabulary."
Brigitte Knight, Theatre Scenes
"The Royal New Zealand Ballet finally managed to showcase Ultra Violet, a Loughlan Prior choreography initially slated to open at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden but halted by Covid-19. London’s loss was Wanaka’s gain, as a breathtaking piece explored how some non-human species see the world literally in a different light. Dancers fittingly flitted moth-like through light and shade, bare arms and legs flashing in the cool blue light of night as they paired and parted in delicate dream-like sequences set to Claire Cowan’s ethereal compositions. Every move seemed effortless, despite the difficult lifts and exacting precision required, particularly in group work. Otherworldly, complex, delightful, exquisite and memorable."
Nigel Zega, Otago Daily Times.
"A definitive and unique style that reflects a contemporary ethos is definitely apparent in the performance of Loughlan Prior’s Subtle Dances, a work reflecting the rituals of courtship and touching on the ambivalence of gender fluidity."
Jenny Stevenson, Theatre Review
"Hansel and Gretel is a wonderful production with imaginative choreography and a creative team at the top of their game."
Lyne Pringle, The Dominion Post
"From the moment it opens, Hansel & Gretel is a rich and delightful production."
Brigitte Knight, Theatre Scenes
"Hansel & Gretel is a true return to form for the Royal New Zealand Ballet, and its best holiday-season ballet in years."
Jack Yan, Lucire
"The movement becomes lively and crisp as a riot of colour floods the space – the dancers running across en masse to the rhythmic, orchestral score. Engaging all the senses, The Appearance of Colour was a stunning start to the programme."
Denise Richardson, Dance Australia
"Lark proved a masterwork. There’s little surprise in that since Prior has already earned considerable choreographic kudos. 78 year-old Trimmer’s presence on stage, before he even moves a muscle, reeks with the authenticity of a performer who deeply knows how dance works."
Jennifer Shennan, Michelle Potter… On Dancing
"The subtle ‘physical calligraphy’ of Verse said it all, the choreography embroidering on Junior’s fluid torso and arms while stretching his steely legs to the limit." Maggie Foyer, Dance Europe
"Prior's Eve was a series of polished vignettes involving extreme geometries of the limbs and innovative partnering, exploring the power of temptation and the struggle for redemption. The dancing, set to soaring operatic excerpts, solo piano and spoken poetry, created an aura of elegance and refinement."
Raewyn White, New Zealand Herald
"It’s difficult to classify Loughlan Prior’s Curious Alchemy. Its rigid formality and speedy limbs suggests classical discipline, but it feels like a contemporary dance piece. Whatever it is, It’s enjoyable to watch and its complex partnering was executed with precision and confidence by both couples."
Gerard Davis, Dance Europe
"Scribble, which Loughlan Prior choreographed and directed remotely from New Zealand, experiments with animation. As dancers move in a black void, their figures are traced in bright lines — hand-drawn by the artist Glynn Urquhart."
The New York Times
Loughlan's video links can be viewed here
Described by Dance Aotearoa New Zealand as ‘a creative tour de force’, Loughlan Prior is a multi-award winning choreographer based in Pōneke/Wellington, New Zealand. He is the Artistic Director of Lo|Co Arts, Creative Director of Prior-Visual, a project-based film and digital media collective, and Choreographer in Residence at the Royal New Zealand Ballet.
After graduating from the New Zealand School of Dance in 2009, Loughlan joined the Royal New Zealand Ballet and rose to the rank of Soloist, performing landmark works by William Forsythe, Jiri Kylián and Alexander Ekman.
He began to develop a choreographic practice alongside his performance career and distinguished himself as a considerable talent in 2015, when he became the first recipient of the Ballet Foundation of New Zealand’s Harry Haythorne Choreographic Award. Prior was awarded Creative New Zealand’s Tup Lang Choreographic Award in 2016 and travelled to Toronto to stage his work at the Assemblée Internationale in 2017.
Loughlan was appointed as Choreographer in Residence with the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 2018.
In 2019 Loughlan established LolCo Arts with his long-time artistic partner, composer Claire Cowan. The company is devoted to the seamless melding of choreographic and compositional practice, encompassing creative collaboration in dance, music, film and fashion.
In 2019, Loughlan retired from a full-time performance career, becoming a Principal Character Artist with the RZNB, and premiered the highly acclaimed Hansel and Gretel, his first full length production. The ballet included designs by stage and screen icon Kate Hawley and a specially commissioned score by Claire Cowan.
In the same year, Loughlan created The Appearance of Colour for Queensland Ballet’s ‘Bespoke’ programme and delivered creative masterclasses to dance communities across New Zealand and Australia.
Loughlan holds choreographic relationships with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Queensland Ballet, Singapore Dance Theatre, BalletX, Grand Rapids Ballet, Ballet Collective Aotearoa, Chamber Music New Zealand, New Zealand School of Dance, Palucca Hochschule für Tanz Dresden and New Zealand Youth Ballet.
His works have been presented in New Zealand, Australia, Germany, Singapore, the United States, Denmark and Canada and he has created numerous live and digital works for a diverse range of local Kiwi companies and creative partners, including Te Papa National Museum, iD Fashion Week, WGT LUX Light Festival, Tempo Festival, Zambesi, the New Zealand String Quartet and TV3’s Dancing with the Stars.
Loughlan’s dance films have enjoyed screenings at the New Zealand International Film Festival, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, BalletX Beyond, #60secondsdance Denmark, San Francisco Dance Film Festival and the Short Film Corner of the Cannes Film Festival.
For summer 2021 Royal New Zealand Ballet commissioned Loughlan to create a reimagined version of The Firebird which premiered to critical acclaim.
In 2021, Loughlan also launched his BalletCollective Aotearoa at the Auckland Arts Festival in March. In November 2021 he created a new work for Singapore Ballet and returned in November, 2022 to create The Sound was Our Ocean.
In August 2022, Royal New Zealand Ballet presented the world premiere of Loughlan's newest full-length ballet, Cinderella, a version with a contemporary twist that was hailed by the New Zealand press.