Last month, Dance Aotearoa New Zealand (DANZ) celebrated its 20th anniversary, so in commemoration FishHead caught up with one of New Zealand’s greatest ballet icons, Sir Jon Trimmer. The ever-courteous dancer kept the FishHead team giggling and amused, performing some of the mime actions he’s been teaching to children in Kapiti.
If it’s been a hard week at work and I’m in need of a drink I’ll be at… The Jimmy at St James Theatre to start with. And there is also a lovely new place just along Dixon Street called Lazeeza, next door to the Dixon Street Deli. In Paekakariki, where we live, are two favourite places – the Beach Road Deli and the Perching Parrot. Both are lovely for coffees, lunch and morning tea. There is also Finn’s across the road. They have a very nice evening meal menu.
Then the next day if I need a slap-up feed and a cup of Wellington’s finest coffee I’ll be at… Nikau Café in Civic Square at City Gallery. It’s got lovely, lovely food.
I always find if you need some culture you can’t go past… goodness me! Usually Circa has something fantastic on in one of its two theatres. BATS occasionally has something really good, too. I like the little Lighthouse cinemas as well. We also have a very nice little cinema here in Paekakariki. It’s part of Finn’s restaurant bar and has excellent movies.
My favourite Wellington landmark has to be… seeing I was born in Petone, I might have more than one. When you’re coming into town on the train there’s always Mt Victoria, so it really is the main landmark that I adore. But also I like the Cenotaph. That little collection of Parliament buildings, the Beehive and the Old Government Buildings, that’s a nice complex. Petone itself has a lot of lovely memories for me, but I think about the artesian fountain in particular. It’s there for people to collect water in bottles if they want to.
The Wellingtonian I would take to a pub quiz is… I think I would like to take Ray Henwood, and his wife if she wants to come along too. He’s a great character and a wonderful actor. I think he would be a laugh to go along with: he would have a lot of witty lines.
I am most ashamed never to have visited… Zealandia! I always mean to, and on top of that Kapiti Island. I haven’t been there and I have lived here [in Kapiti] for about 30 years now.
In light of the 20th anniversary of DANZ, my best memory of dance in the last 20 years is… I don’t think I can pick out one best memory. I think what I like about DANZ is that it’s still there. It’s iconic now and it’s got to keep going.
As a spectator I am most excited to see… any new talent that’s coming along, whether it’s acting, singing or dancing in any of its forms: classical ballet, modern dance, kapa haka, Indian dance. I’m excited when there’s a nice bright new talent shining through from the others in a group.
My favourite ballet character to play is… when I was younger it was the leading male role in Giselle, but seeing as I can’t do those sort of things now, I think possibly what is coming up next year is Coppélia. I’ll be playing the doctor, the old mad doctor. I like playing mad roles, it’s good fun.
I’m still dancing at 74, so the advice I would give for a long and successful career is… to keep persevering. If people try to pull you down, don’t let them. Just keep enjoying what you’re doing, and once you stop enjoying, then stop. I’ve told the powers that be at Royal New Zealand Ballet that I do intend to keep performing until I’m 80, even if I’m on a Zimmer frame, but that the Zimmer frame will have to have sequins all over it. I’ve got to sparkle somehow!