Scholars Guidelines for Entry

Wellington Scholars

The Scholars programme provides training for classical ballet students from the age of 10 (year 6 at primary school). The programme focuses on the principles of movement, incorporating the definitions of technique as required in ballet, while embracing musicality and artistry. Classes are small and the ballet training is supported by allied subjects such as body conditioning. The level of technique and the frequency of classes increase annually to the age of 16, in preparation for the School’s full‑time course.

The programme incurs term fees.

Auditions for a new intake of Scholars from the Greater Wellington area are held each December. Notice of the audition and application form are available from August. Students’ progress is assessed each year with a report given. Progression beyond Level 2, and at each level thereafter, is at the discretion of the School.

Having completed Scholars Level 6 and at least Level 1 of NCEA, it is expected Scholars will audition at the end of term three for full-time study at the New Zealand School of Dance. It is important to understand that while every opportunity and support to develop the dancers’ potential will be given throughout the year, at audition time there is no guarantee of a place on the full-time programme. While this may seem harsh, it is a practicality and reality of the industry. The Head of Scholars encourages meeting periodically to discuss future plans throughout the year.

From Level 4 students participate in the four weekends of the Associates programme. Achieving a place in Level 4 and above on the Scholars programme, ensures a position as a classical major on the Associate programme, as the two interrelate from Level 4.

The School actively encourages entry at Level 1. However, under special circumstances and at the discretion of the School, students may be invited to audition for entry into Scholars above Level 1. Various factors would be taken into consideration for this to happen, such as geographic relocation. Aptitude and potential for further training would need to be demonstrated, and the student should come with the recommendation and support of their teacher.

Year 12 students will not be invited to join or continue on the Scholars programme as it is deemed that by this age full-time training should commence.


National Scholars

While the Scholars programme focuses on the complimentary training of dancers from Greater Wellington, National Scholars allows for students from other regions to attend Scholars classes on a Saturday in Wellington, twice per term.

The programme incurs an annual fee.

Auditions are held annually in Wellington for Scholars and National Scholars. A video application may be accepted but it is preferable that tutors see and meet the student in person at the audition.

If progress is sustained, when entering Level 4 National Scholars have two pathways they might follow. They may wish to continue as a Scholar and in addition join as an Associate on their specific weekends. This would mean a commitment of three visits to Wellington per term. Through this pathway they would be accepted into the Associates programme by the same means as the Scholars in Wellington. Alternatively, they may wish to forego their position as a Scholar, and focus on being an Associate. This is acceptable given the time and financial commitment, but does mean students need to apply and audition for the Associates programme through the normal process.

Level 4 Scholars are automatically accepted into the Associates programme and will commence in Level 4 as a NZSD Junior Associate Classical Major. Students cannot be a contemporary major in the Associates Programme and a Scholar.  

Scholar and Associate Levels

NZSD Calendar


For more information about the Scholars programme please email Head of Scholars Sue Nicholls or phone 04 381 9252 ext 261