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Culture People July 8, 2016

Five Minutes with Tonia Looker

Verve talks to Tonia Looker, a dancer with the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Tonia will be performing with up to eight RNZB dancers as part of Auckland Live’s FREE Pick & Mix programme on:

  • Saturday 23 July at ASB Theatre, Auckland City performance at 10.30am Workshop: 11:30am
  • Sunday 24 July at Bruce Mason Centre, Takapuna, performance: 10.30am, Workshop: 11:30am.

Following this community event Tonia will be part of the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s upcoming classical production Giselle (pictured here) at the ASB Theatre, 31 August – 3 September.


Why did you decide to become a dancer?

I love to move! I originally wanted to be a singing and dancing Broadway star. I love the stage and I love absorbing myself in a character through movement.

What has been your career highlight so far?

I have been incredibly fortunate enough to have had many! One would be performing as Aurora in The Sleeping Beauty and as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet. Another would be working with the incredible Liam Scarlett as Titania in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. I’m still pinching myself that I had such a rare and amazing opportunity.

What would your dream role be?

My dreams have become reality on a few roles for which I am forever grateful in regards to Juliet, Aurora, Cinderella, Giselle, Titania and the Sylph. I dream of being able to visit those roles again!

 What is every dancer’s nightmare?


From where do you draw inspiration?

I draw inspiration from my family and friends and the inspirational energies that the world surrounds me with.

Name a lesson you’ve learnt the hard way?

How to mentally deal with injury when you are unable to dance.

What is the best advice you’ve been given?

You are the only person who can truly take care of YOU! Love yourself!

What is on your to-do list for the next year?

Learning to drive, getting a dog, buying a yacht, becoming a millionaire… you know, the usual!

What is your favourite meal?

Potato fries!

Where do you get your morning coffee?

From my trusty stove top percolator.

Favourite place?

Anywhere my friends and family are, preferably on an adventure camping, or some other fun outdoor activity.

What makes you laugh?

A good British comedy movie.

What do you do when not dancing?

Singing, baking, writing, reading, and spending time with my loved ones.

If you weren’t a dancer…

Oooooo…maybe an actor or singer. Or maybe I would fulfil one of my lifelong fascinations and become an archaeologist.

Advice to aspiring dancers? 

Work hard, focus, and never ever be afraid to get lost in the movement.

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