News: NZ's biggest arts festival kicks off in capital

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NZ's biggest arts festival kicks off in capital New Zealand's biggest arts festival has opened in Wellington, bringing together artists and performers from this country and around the globe. http://festival.co.nz/yk-images/5c005aa666c773df44004cb77de205dd/listing/Parabelo+%26+Onqoto+%285%29+PIC+CREDIT+Jos%C3%A9+Luiz+Pederneiras.jpg 2012-02-25T00:34:03+00:00 2012-02-25T00:41:41+00:00 > TVNZ

Rebecca Edwards - TVNZ

New Zealand's biggest arts festival has opened in Wellington, bringing together artists and performers from this country and around the globe.

The New Zealand International Arts Festival is in its 26th year and attracts thousands of visitors over three-and-a-half weeks.

Brazilian dance group Grupo Corpo is in New Zealand for the first time, as one of the headline acts of the festival.

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"For us it's fantastic to be here it's really, for all of us dancers, and direction, it's really very, very good to be here," said Rodrigo Pederneiras of Grupo Corpo.

Combining salsa, rumba, tango and classical ballet, the work gives audiences a unique taste of Brazil.

"It's a very, very special way to dance. We use a lot of Brazilian sensuality," Pederneiras said.

The show is just one of 300 events taking place during the festival.

This year's programme includes nine world premieres and boasts an array of artists from as far afield as the Sahara Desert.

"One of the things that's exciting about this festival is it gives local artists the chance to pit their work against a high end international programme," artistic director Lissa Twomey said.

In 2010, the festival attracted nearly 300,000 people and this year organisers say ticket sales, particularly from out-of-towners, are looking good.

"There's over 15,000 tickets at less than $38, so anyone can come," Twomey said.

"There's also a lot of free events on offer during the festival."

The city is set to celebrate with galleries, theatres and spaces around the capital pulsing with artistic activity.

Watch the 6pm news bulletin that includes segments from Grupo Corpo's 'Onqoto' and 'Arcane' at TVNZ