Described by Dance Aotearoa New Zealand as ‘a creative tour de force’, Loughlan Prior is an award-winning choreographer based in Aotearoa, New Zealand.
He is the Artistic Director of Lo|Co Arts, Creative Director of Prior-Visual, a project-based film / digital media collective, and Choreographer in Residence at the
Royal New Zealand Ballet.
Image: Garth Badger
After graduating from the New Zealand School of Dance in 2009, Loughlan joined the Royal New Zealand Ballet and rose to the rank of Soloist, performing landmark works by Forsythe, Balanchine, Kylián, Cranko and Ekman.
He began to develop a choreographic practice alongside his performance career and distinguished himself as a considerable talent in 2015, when he became the first recipient of the Ballet Foundation of New Zealand’s Harry Haythorne Choreographic Award. Prior was awarded Creative New Zealand’s Tup Lang Choreographic Award in 2016 and travelled to Toronto to stage his work at the Assemblée Internationale in 2017.
Loughlan was appointed as Choreographer in Residence with the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 2018.
In 2019 Loughlan retired from the stage to pursue a full-time career in choreography and creative practice. His first full length production, Hansel & Gretel, premiered to critical acclaim across New Zealand. In the same year he created The Appearance of Colour for Queensland Ballet and delivered creative masterclasses to dance communities across New Zealand and Australia.
Prior’s cinematic and unifying approach to choreography, concept and visual storytelling is a key feature within his works. In 2021 Transfigured Night (Chamber Music New Zealand, BalletCollective Aotearoa, New Zealand String Quartet) captivated audiences with sublime beauty and his re-imagined production of The Firebird (Royal New Zealand Ballet) was hailed as one of the companies finest, most daring and honest.
Together, with composer and artistic collaborator Claire Cowan, Loughlan directs Lo|Co Arts, an ensemble of mixed genre artists working to create engaging contemporary experiences.
Loughlan holds choreographic relationships with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Queensland Ballet, BalletX, Singapore Ballet, Ballet Unleashed, Grand Rapids Ballet, Ballet Collective Aotearoa, Chamber Music New Zealand, New Zealand School of Dance, Palucca Hochschule für Tanz Dresden and the New Zealand Youth Ballet.
He has created numerous live and digital works for a diverse range of local Kiwi companies, festivals and creative partners, including Te Papa National Museum, Auckland Arts Festival, Dunedin Arts Festival, Tempo Festival, iD Fashion Week, Vogue Australia, WGT LUX Light Festival, Zambesi, the New Zealand String Quartet and TV3’s Dancing with the Stars.
Prior’s dance films have enjoyed screenings at the New Zealand International Film Festival, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, BalletX Beyond, #60secondsdance Denmark, San Francisco Dance Film Festival and the Short Film Corner of the Cannes Film Festival.