A Kiwi ballet star has credited a Royal New Zealand Ballet production of Swan Lake for inspiring him to tread the boards.
Ty King-Wall is now a principal artist with The Australian Ballet, but said seeing a RNZB show at the age of seven prompted him to take up dance.
The Katikati man is set to take to the stage for this winter season's production of the famous Swan Lake ballet.
"One of the first ballets I ever saw was the Royal New Zealand Ballet performing this very production of Swan Lake, when I was seven-years-old," he said.
"Ou Lu was dancing the role of Prince Siegfried and I can remember thinking, 'when I grow up I want to be up on stage doing that'. To be coming home and dancing Prince Siegfried in the same ballet, where it all began, will be very special for me."
He will join Amber Scott, who plays Odette/Odile and is also a principal artist at The Australian Ballet, on stage.
Ethan Stiefel, artistic director of the RNZB, said he is looking
forward to the new season.
"I am pleased to include two pairs of international guest artists, as part of our Swan Lake season," he said.
"I believe that both sets of accomplished artists, alternating with superb casts from within our ranks, will inspire and entertain our audiences.
"I am especially happy that Ty King-Wall, a native New Zealander and rising star at The Australian Ballet, shall make his New Zealand performing debut, as a professional, with the RNZB."
Sharing the lead roles with King-Wall and Scott will be Carla Körbes and Karel Cruz from Pacific Northwest Ballet.
"I always hear about the beautiful landscapes and the wonderful people that live in the country [New Zealand]," said Korbes.
Körbes and Cruz have previously been paired in the leading roles of Odette/Odile and Siegfried, with international critics saying that as dance partners they have "an intensity and honesty that's difficult to fake".
RNZB is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year.
The Vodafone season of Swan Lake opens in Wellington at the St James Theatre on Thursday July 18 and tours nationally to seven other centres including Dunedin, Christchurch, Invercargill, Takapuna, Auckland and Palmerston North, closing in Napier on September 1.
For more information, including dates and venues, click here.