Official School of the Royal New Zealand Ballet

22 December 2014

The New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) has been formally recognised as the 'Official School of the Royal New Zealand Ballet'.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed this month between the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) and the New Zealand School of Dance, committing renewed energy to the relationship between the two national arts organisations. While there are a number of strategies embracing the sharing of resources, and initiatives to provide greater crossover, a significant benefit lies in the NZSD being identified as the 'Official School' of the Company.

“When I was a dance student myself at La Scala in Milan, Italy it was my dream to become a professional dancer with the company. I believe very strongly in the importance of the relationship between New Zealand School of Dance and their national ballet company. I will do my very best to help nurture NZSD students and together with the NZSD help the students realise their dreams”, said Francesco Ventriglia, artistic director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

The New Zealand School of Dance was founded in 1967 to train dancers for the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Despite changes in the NZSD's course structure, programmes and direction in the intervening years, the professional association between the School and Company has remained strong. This move signals greater collaboration as the NZSD approaches its 50th anniversary in 2017.

“The signing of this document reflects the original manifesto of the New Zealand School of Dance", said the School’s director Garry Trinder. "The aspiration both organisations share is to present young New Zealanders with a legitimate career path through entry to the School and into the Company. Our primary wish is to see more New Zealanders remain in the country and play pivotal roles shaping our national dance culture."

The close ties between the NZSD and RNZB are evidenced by the huge number of dancers trained at the School to have joined the company and ongoing initiatives such as the Todd Scholarship. Supported by the Todd Corporation since 2001, this scholarship provides for a graduate from the NZSD to enter the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Elisabeth Zorino has been named this year's Todd Scholar, and will be joining the Company in January 2015.

Photo: Elisabeth Zorino performing in New Zealand School of Dance Graduation Season, photographed by Stephen A'Court

For further information please email the NZSD Marketing Manager or phone +64 4 381 9216