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Kiwi choreographer’s debut in Antarctica

27 March 2018

Internationally acclaimed Christchurch choreographer Corey Baker has showcased our city’s link with Antarctica and set new world records by creating and staging the first dance in Antarctica.

Baker’s choreography work sees him creating accessible dance experiences across a range of outdoor and unusual locations, the UK-based artist says a life-long dream to dance on the Antarctic ice brought him back to Christchurch where he was born and raised.

“As a Christchurch boy, I am very thrilled to be partnering with ChristchurchNZ on a work that has been a dream of mine for a very long time,” Baker says.

“I remember going to the Antartic Centre for the first time when I was around the age of 6 years old, I suspect this experience and learning had a far greater impact on me then I released at the time."

Antarctica: The First Dance will premiere on British TV on 22 April 2018 and will be released online.

A story on Corey Baker and his project was broadcasted by TVNZ’s program Sunday on 25 March 2018.

Baker says staging the first dance in Antarctica has been a complete privilege and an experience of a life time.

“To do what I love, creating dance in adventurous locations that also raises public awareness of the current immediate issues relating to climate change is an honour and I couldn't be prouder to be doing this in partnership with ChristchurchNZ,” Baker says.

Antarctica: The First Dance is a four-minute dance film designed to celebrate the beauty of dance and the beauty of Antarctica while we still have it. Baker has cooperated with director of photography Jacob Bryant for this project and the film features Royal New Zealand Ballet star Madeleine Graham.

Baker has been granted rare access through the prestigious Antarctica New Zealand Cultural Outreach 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 & environmental protection activities in Antarctica.

ChristchurchNZ partnered with Corey Baker to support his Antarctic dance debut and his mission to use this art project to educate people about climate change, environmental sustainability and the important role Christchurch can play.

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 also like to say that Christchurch is the leaping off point to pioneer and explore 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."

Christchurch has an important historic and current role in supporting international and New Zealand Antarctic science as our city is home to several national and international Antarctic agencies.

Christchurch also has a wealth of Antarctic history and artefacts, and hosts and provides logistic support to a range of international Antarctic programmes.

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."

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