Fairy Clare Battersby, one of Auckland’s most beloved child dance educators, will perform at the upcoming Parnell Festival of Roses, one of Waitematā Local Board's flagship events. Battersby has been performing at the festival since it began 25 years ago.
Waitematā Local Board member Richard Northey says that after a quarter of a century the festival has become a much-anticipated part of Parnell’s calendar. “It’s an event that celebrates our vibrant communities with entertainment that makes it perfect for a family day out. The local board is really delighted that Fairy Clare has been such a special part of the festival for a quarter of a century.”
“I love that it is really a family affair, everyone is welcome and there is something for everyone,” Battersby says.
The child dance educator choreographs and produces outdoor shows based on contemporary dance with themes of nature and environmental protection. In 2014, Battersby’s contribution to children’s education and the community was recognised with a Kiwibank New Zealander Local Hero of the Year Award.
“I’m passionate about connecting children to dance, play and the environment because I believe they will engage with wonderment and awe, bringing their true selves to our learning encounters as they develop their role as caretakers and decision makers for our planet.”
Battersby developed her Fairy Clare alter ego during the mid-90s when she was teaching at the Melbourne Botanic Gardens. In 1997, this work led to an invitation to present at the Dance and Child International Conference in Finland.
She then went on to develop shows performed in botanic gardens around the world including in Auckland. Called the Fairy Trails, they ran over school holidays and were attended by thousands.
These performances led to Battersby’s involvement in Parnell Festival of Roses which continues to this day. At this year’s Parnell Festival of Roses, Battersby will perform an interactive dance to protect the roses and invites participation from children and people of all ages.
“This year my fairy house is right up amongst the rose gardens. Only the children plus some extra strong water squirters will be able to save the day!”