Antarctic dance film highlights Christchurch's gateway status

The penguin-populated ice desert of Antarctica is the backdrop for the first ever dance film to be staged on the world’s last great wilderness.

Premiering on Earth Day, 22 April 2018, Antarctica: The First Dance is a four-minute film created and directed by Christchurch-born award-winning choreographer Corey Baker, in partnership with city promotions agency ChristchurchNZ.

Aimed at raising awareness about climate change, environmental sustainability and the important role Christchurch plays as one of only five gateway cities to Antarctica, The First Dance celebrates the beauty of dance and the beauty of Antarctica while we still have it.

ChristchurchNZ general manager of attraction Linda Falwasser says Antarctica: The First Dance is a great opportunity for Christchurch to celebrate our status as one of five Antarctic gateway cities globally.  

“Christchurch is an official gateway city for Antarctic research and operations,” Ms Falwasser says.

“We like to say that Christchurch is the leaping off point for exploration and research in extreme conditions and we’re thrilled to support projects like Corey’s which raise awareness for our city’s links with Antarctica on a global platform,” she says.

“Another great example of Christchurch’s link with Antarctica will be highlighted during Techweek’18 when our city hosts the inaugural Extreme Environments – from the Antarctic to Space event, bringing together local, national and international experts to gain insight into how Christchurch’s innovation and expertise can translate into climate change solutions for Antarctica.”

Ms Falwasser says Christchurch’s involvement in the Antarctic is an important source of social and economic benefits for the city - that stimulate positive growth in our local economy, including supporting logistic suppliers and the visitor economy as well as providing educational and research opportunities.  

“Our Council owned international air and sea port are important logistics hubs for the Antarctic and there is clear potential for greater engagement by residents and the business community with the Antarctic and to more strongly align Christchurch’s city profile with its role as an Antarctic Gateway,” she says

“Supporting projects like Corey’s are a fantastic opportunity for Christchurch to get behind innovative ways to promote the great work we do in Antarctica while creating awareness about the sustainable initiatives we have right in front of us to protect our environment - for us and our future generations.”

Baker has been granted rare access through the prestigious Antarctica New Zealand Community Engagement Programme to create an unforgettable performance in an extreme environment, with support of Antarctica New Zealand, the government agency responsible for supporting New Zealand's world leading scientific and environmental protection activities in Antarctica.

He has collaborated with director of photography Jacob Bryant for this project and the film features Royal New Zealand Ballet star Madeleine Graham. 

Antarctica: The First Dance will premiere on British TV on 22 April and will be released online. A 60minute documentary detailing Corey Baker and his dance team’s 15-day residence with scientists at Scott Base will be released in June.