The New Zealand School of Dance full-time training programme prepares dancers for a career in professional dance performance.
Two or three-year intensive training programmes are provided for dancers between the ages of 16 and 20.
Students major in contemporary dance or classical ballet, while maintaining a strong grounding in both subject areas.
Certificate in Dance Performance
The New Zealand School of Dance Certificate in Dance Performance is a two-year course designed to prepare students for a performance career in dance.
The first year focuses on the foundation of classical ballet and contemporary dance technique. It also introduces a range of allied subjects, both practical and academic. In the second year, students continue to refine their technical strengths, develop performance skills and dance in regular performances.
The classical programme consists of classical ballet technique, contemporary dance technique, pas de deux, classical variations and pointe. Separate men's classes focus on the physical strength, power and brilliance of male dancing with particular emphasis on elevation, pirouettes and batterie.
The contemporary programme consists of contemporary dance technique, classical ballet technique, contemporary repertoire, partnering, yoga, choreographic practice and improvisation.
Students enrolled in the NZSD Certificate in Dance Performance also study subjects that complement their time in the studio: nutrition, dance history, career planning, anatomy and music studies.
First Year students usually have the opportunity to perform at end of term studio performances and in the World of WearableArt show. Second Year students usually have the opportunity to perform in both the NZSD Choreographic Season (contemporary students only) and the NZSD Graduation Season.
Diploma in Dance Performance
The New Zealand School of Dance Diploma in Dance Performance focuses on performance skills, offering students a range of diverse experiences both within the School and externally.
Students must have completed the Certificate in Dance Performance (see above) before enrolling in the Diploma, which entails one additional year of study.
Secondments and professional placements are an important part of the final year of training, providing the opportunity for students to work with a dance company for a period of up to ten weeks. Dancers gain industry knowledge and contacts through these secondments which often lead to professional contracts. NZSD students have seconded to professional companies and choreographers including:
Australian Dance Theatre, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Leigh Warren and Dancers, West Australian Ballet, Daniel Belton and Good Company, Dance North, TasDance, Singapore Dance Theatre, Raewyn Hill, Human Garden Productions, Footnote Dance, Java Dance Company, Shaun Parker, Sarah Foster, Expressions, Sydney Dance Company, Queensland Ballet
There are opportunities for classical students in their third year to train at other dance institutions for a several weeks. New Zealand School of Dance partner schools include:
- Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet School
- The Australian Ballet School
- Canada's National Ballet School
- Royal Ballet School, UK
- Houston Ballet's Ben Stevenson Academy
- San Francisco Ballet School
These visiting programmes give the student an opportunity to experience different teaching methodologies, enjoy a fresh environment and meet important dance-world contacts.
Third year students have the opportunity to perform in the New Zealand School of Dance Graduation Season and contemporary students to create their own choreography for the school's Choreographic Season. As part of this season, students collaborate with lighting and costume designers, production and stage managers.
Throughout the third year, all students maintain their studies in classical and contemporary technique and learn a diverse range of repertoire in readiness for the industry. In addition, third year students receive advice on career planning.
Both academic and theoretical classes are regularly reviewed through formal and informal assessments. Promotion into the third year of training is based on achievement.
The School is funded by the Ministry of Education through the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) and is registered with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) as a private training establishment.
In 2009 the New Zealand School of Dance Certificate and Diploma were raised to Level 6 and level 7 respectively on the National Qualifications Framework. Level 7 being equivalent to an undergraduate degree allowing the possibility of postgraduate study and many career pathways.
Most graduates of the New Zealand School of Dance enter careers in dance performance, with on average 80% of students gaining contracts within six months of graduating. New Zealand School of Dance alumni also work in related fields such as physiotherapy, dance teaching, pilates instruction, arts administration, research, dance notation, dance photography and journalism.