The New Zealand School of Dance Diploma in Dance Performance (Level 7)

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This Level 7 diploma offers students a range of diverse experiences both within the School and externally

This diploma sits on Level 7 on the NZQF, the same as a bachelor’s degree. Students must have completed the Level 6 New Zealand Diploma in Dance before enrolling in the Level 7 Diploma in Dance Performance.


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 up to twelve weeks of term time. Dancers gain industry knowledge and contacts through these secondments, which often lead to professional contracts.

In recent years NZSD students have seconded to professional companies and choreographers such as Australian Dance Theatre, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Leigh Warren and Dancers, West Australian Ballet, Daniel Belton and Good Company, Dancenorth, Tasdance, Singapore Dance Theatre, The New Zealand Dance Company, Footnote, Java Dance Company, Shaun Parker & Company, Sarah Foster, Expressions, Sydney Dance Company and Queensland Ballet.  

Partner Schools

Classical students in their third year may have opportunities to train at other dance institutions for 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
  • The Royal Ballet School
  • Houston Ballet Academy
  • San Francisco Ballet School

These visiting programmes allow students to experience different teaching methodologies, enjoy a fresh environment and extend their professional network.

Students have the opportunity to perform in the School’s Performance Season, and contemporary students to create their own choreography for the Choreographic Season. As part of this season, students collaborate with lighting designers, costume designers, production and stage managers from Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School.

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. They also receive advice on career planning.

Studies in Tikanga Māori, Māori history, language and culture, and Haka Pōwhiri continue throughout the third of study.

Practical and theoretical classes are regularly reviewed through formal and informal assessments. Promotion into the third year of training is based on achievement.  

Entry into the third year of the School is not automatic but is based on achievement and commitment demonstrated throughout first and second year.

NZSD Qualifications

The New Zealand Diploma in Dance and the New Zealand School of Dance Diploma in Dance Performance sit at Level 6 and Level 7 respectively on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework. The New Zealand School of Dance Diploma in Dance Performance sits on Level 7 on the NZQF, the same as a bachelor's degree.

The programme is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under section 439 of the Education and Training Act 2020, and New Zealand School of Dance is accredited to provide it under section 442 of the Act.

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.

The NZQA conducted an external evaluation and review (EER) of the School in 2021. The report states that NZQA is “highly confident” in both the educational performance and capability in self-assessment of the New Zealand School of Dance. This is the highest rating given by NZQA.

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