New Zealand School of Dance Contemporary Dance Faculty
Paula Steeds-Huston Head of Contemporary Dance
Paula Steeds-Huston has spent 17 years as a freelance dancer, teacher and choreographer in Australia and New Zealand. She was a principal dancer with Missevich Youth Ballet in Christchurch, then joined Wellington-based contemporary company Footnote Dance for four years. Paula worked with acclaimed New Zealand choreographers including Michael Parmenter, Shona McCullagh and Douglas Wright. Since passing her Royal Academy of Dance Teachers Certificate with Distinction, Paula has taught contemporary technique, ballet and hip hop at workshops around New Zealand. She has directed and choreographed for Original Scripts Theatre Company, renowned for producing quality children’s theatre. Paula has also worked in film and television as a choreographer and performer, including Lord of the Rings, The Lost World, a promotional DVD for Cook Islands Tourism and several music videos.
Victoria Colombus Contemporary Tutor
Victoria Colombus graduated from the New Zealand School of Dance in 2002. She has performed and toured with Black Grace Dance Company, Australian Dance Theatre, Michael Parmenter Commotion Company, The World of WearableArt and Muscle Mouth. A tutor at the New Zealand School of Dance since 2010, she directs the annual Choreographic Season, which has toured to Tempo Dance Festival and The Body Festival. In 2009 Victoria assisted Ross McCormack on the creation of ‘Nowhere Fast’ for Dancenorth. She has choreographed on Footnote Dance company and has toured her work with the NZSD to New Caledonia. In 2012 she was appointed to the role of principal choreographer for the World of WearableArt (WOW) and toured the production to Hong Kong. Victoria is rehearsal director for company Muscle Mouth, and staged the work 'Age' for the 2014 New Zealand International Arts Festival.
James O’Hara Contemporary Tutor
James O'Hara has worked as a dance performer, teacher and choreographer. A member of Ballet Junior de Genève and recipient of a Princess Grace Foundation Bursary in 2004 he has worked with Ballet Preljocaj (France), Matthew Lutton and Chrissie Parrott (Melbourne), Ross McCormack (Muscle Mouth, NZ), Michael Keegan Dolan, Yang Liping, Marina Mascarell, Damien Jalet and Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui (Eastman, Belgium). James has performed as a guest with Cedar Lake/Ohad Naharin, The Australian Ballet/Gideon Obarzanek, Paris Opera Ballet, Norwegian National Ballet and Bolshoi Theatre Moscow. He has given classes and workshops with Transformation and Danse a la Carte Montreal, Bangarra, Sydney Dance Company, Akram Khan Co and WA Academy of Performing Arts, where he created 'The Roaring Silence…' alongside Balázs Busa. James worked extensively with Steps Youth Dance Company and as assistant to the artistic director of National Youth Dance Company, Sadlers Wells London. James has been nominated for Helpmann, Green Room and Australian Dance Awards and is recipient of a West Australian Dance Award.
Helen Winchester Contemporary Tutor
Helen Winchester is a 1988 graduate of the New Zealand School of Dance and has a graduate diploma in tertiary dance training from QUT. During her first year at NZSD she was invited to join the Royal New Zealand Ballet for their season of ‘Giselle’, and at the completion of her training became a founding member of Michael Parmenters’ Commotion Company. Helen has trained and performed in North Carolina at the American Dance Festival, at the Hawkins and Cunnimgham studios in New York, and in London and Paris. She has performed, taught and co-created work with Douglas Wright Dance Company and numerous New Zealand freelance companies. She has taught for touring companies and tertiary training institutions in New Zealand and Australia. Helen began her teaching relationship with NZSD in 1991. She joined the faculty in 1996 and has taught for the school, in between raising two children, ever since.
Luke Hanna Contemporary Tutor
Luke Hanna, born and bred in Petone, Wellington, graduated from the New Zealand School of Dance in 2006. Since graduating he has worked for leading dance companies and choreographers such as Black Grace, Australian Dance Theatre, Dance North, New Zealand Dance Company, Douglas Wright, Shaun Parker, Malia Johnston and Ross McCormack. Luke has danced his way across Australasia, Europe, Asia and America. In 2009 he was nominated for the prestigious Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative, and last year was shortlisted for the Vodafone World of Difference fellowship. Luke has tutored at the New Zealand School of Dance and Scots College, and facilitated and led the NZSD's Tū Move programme in 2014. Since returning to Wellington Luke has co-founded a new initiative, the Brothers and Sisters Collective, with whom he created and toured his first full-length work, 'eye'.