Classical Ballet & Contemporary Dance Professionals
Garry Trinder MNZM
Head of Classical Ballet
Born in England, Garry Trinder trained at The Royal Ballet School, Rambert School of Ballet and Maurice Béjart’s MUDRA. As a dancer, he worked with Scottish Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal and London City Ballet.
Garry’s extensive career includes six years as artistic director of Hong Kong Ballet and two years as director of dance at South Africa’s NAPAC Dance Company. He was appointed director of the New Zealand School of Dance in 1998. Garry holds a master’s degree from the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and an Advanced Diploma in Education from Newcastle University. In addition to his role at NZSD, he is associated with many international ballet competitions including the Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland, the Japan Grand Prix in Tokyo and the Youth America Grand Prix in New York. Since 2011 Garry has assumed the role of President of the Jury for the Asian Grand Prix ballet competition in Hong Kong. Garry was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2013, for his services to dance.
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.
Classical Ballet Tutor
Head of Associates
Christine Gunn was born in South Africa to English parents. She attended Elmhurst Ballet School from the age of 13, then went on to the Royal Ballet School Teacher Training Course under the directorship of Valerie Adams. Christine spent six years in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, travelling extensively conducting workshops and refresher courses on the Art of Teaching. Christine performed with the Associacao do Ballet do Rio de Janeiro, becoming a soloist and later Ballet Mistress. Christine started as a full-time tutor at the New Zealand School of Dance in January 1980 and became head of the Associates Programme in 2001. Christine is also a Practical Teaching Supervisor for the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) and was honoured with the RAD President’s Award in 2004.
Contemporary Dance Tutor
Gina began dancing in her hometown of Nelson. As well as vocational exams she completed IDTA Associate level teaching exams in both ballet and modern jazz. In 2009 Gina graduated from New Zealand School of Dance.
After graduating, she freelanced around New Zealand, working with a wide range of creative artists and performers such as Java Dance Theatre and World of Wearable Art Awards.
Her time spent in the health and fitness industry as a barre fitness instructor and Club Manager provided valuable insight into exercise prescription, individual needs analysis and a holistic approach.
Gina teaches in many dance schools across the Wellington region, and regularly supports NZSD Associates and Scholars programmes. More recently her interests have led her to complete a 200hr Yoga Teacher Training course, which aligns beautifully with contemporary dance teachings.
Classical Ballet Tutor
Born in France, Medhi studied at the Paris Opera Ballet School. Once his studies were completed, he was invited by the director of the English National Ballet in London to join the company where he danced as a soloist. He joined the Royal New Zealand Ballet and worked with the company for five years, adding more soloist and principal roles to his repertoire. In 2013 Medhi joined the Nice Opera Ballet as a soloist. While in Nice, Medhi continued to dance iconic classical roles such as James in “La Sylphide” along with works by neo-classical and contemporary choreographers.
Medhi has toured to many countries during his career, including Russia, China, Italy, Spain, and Australia. Dancing and living abroad has given him valuable insight into the ballet industry across the globe and has enabled him to develop an adaptable coaching style to understand and work effectively with students from all backgrounds.
Seventeen years after starting his ballet career, he made the decision to devote his time to teaching and coaching dancers and gained his ballet teaching qualification when back in France. He worked with students from The Paris Opera Ballet School, Cannes Rosella Hightower Ballet School and The Royal Ballet School in London before joining the New Zealand School of Dance in January 2021
Contemporary Dance Tutor
Xavier is a Sāmoan dance artist, with a Master of Dance Studies from the University of Auckland.
He was awarded the Prime Minister’s Scholarship for Asia twice – initially to train for a semester as an undergraduate in modern dance at Hanyang University in Seoul, South Korea and then to conduct his Masters research in Taipei and Taitung, Taiwan. His educational and artistic journey is strongly influenced these travels as well as his studies in choreography at the Taipei National University of the Arts.
He has led a his project-based dance collective ‘MANU’ to represent Oceania at the Macau International Dance Festival in Macau, China and the Asia Pacific Dance Festival in Hawai’i.
Xavier was awarded the People’s Choice Award and DANZ Emerging Choreographer Award in 2016 and has choreographed works for several festivals both locally and internationally.
He is currently the Pacific Policy Advisor at Universities NZ Te Pōkai Tara in Te Whanganui a Tara, serves on the NZ Dance Company board and is an advisory board member on the Asia NZ Foundation leadership network.
Classical Ballet Tutor &
Sarah originally studied dance in Sydney with Joy Ransley, Lois Strike, Christine Keith and Kim Traynor before going to the Royal Ballet School in London. A Genee Finalist, she was then invited to join the Royal Ballet Company at Covent Garden. Whilst with the company, she toured throughout the UK and United States, and had the privilege of performing works by Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Sir David Bintley, Sir Frederick Ashton and many other prolific choreographers. Her performing career continued back in Australia with Darc Swan Dance Company, Opera Australia and the Australian touring cast of Phantom of the Opera for which she was also Assistant Choreographer in South Africa.
A passion for teaching led her to complete the Australian Ballet School’s Advanced Diploma of Teaching and receive RAD teacher registration. Sarah taught in Sydney at the McDonald College and Brent Street Studios before becoming a full time classical tutor at the New Zealand School of Dance in Wellington in 2001.
To complement her teaching, Sarah trained as a Pilates instructor with the PhysicalMind Institute of New York and also became a Licensed GYROTONIC® Trainer. She currently combines teaching ballet, rehabilitation and GYROTONIC® at the New Zealand School of Dance with running her own Pilates/GYROTONIC® studio.
GYROTONIC EXPANSION SYSTEM® and GYROTONIC® are registered trademarks of Gyrotonic Sales Corp and are used with their permission.
Contemporary Dance Tutor
Holly is a dancer and choreographer originally from Taranaki. She graduated from The New Zealand School of Dance in 2016.
Holly’s dance journey began when she joined the NZSD Associates Programme as one of its very first contemporary dance
students. Shortly thereafter she became a full time student of the School, majoring in contemporary dance. After her graduation Holly was awarded the Toi Poneke Dance Residency, where she created and staged her work Incognito.
Since then she has established a projected-based dance company, Discotheque. She continues to create dance works for the company, and Discotheque received the Most Promising Emerging Company and most Best in Fringe awards in the 2020 Wellington Fringe awards.
Holly is a commissioned choreographer, creating works for both Footnote NZ Dance (national tour of The Rebel Pink) and for the 2020 NZSD Performance Season. In addition she has worked as an assistant choreographer, dancer and lead role for the World of Wearable Arts for the past few years.
Apart from creating new works, Holly is passionate about teaching and guiding the next generation of movers to feel the utmost joy art can bring to others.
Head of Scholars
Sue Nicholls originates from Wellington, is a Distinguished Graduate of the New Zealand School of Dance, and a former dancer with the Royal New Zealand Ballet and London Festival Ballet (now ENB).
Career highlights include guesting with RNZB for the 21st Anniversary production of Sleeping Beauty in 1978 (Chatfield). Dancing with Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev in L’après midi d’un Faune (Nijinsky), and touring grand productions to New York and Paris. Ballets performed that stand out as favourites include Romeo & Juliet (Nureyev), Rosalinda (Hynd), Echoing of Trumpets (Tudor), Etudes (Lander) & La Sylphide (Schaufuss).
Sue has restaged several productions for past NZSD graduations including Les Sylphides & Paquita, and choreographed solos for students.
Sue teaches throughout New Zealand and internationally, she is a Dual Examiner for the Royal Academy of Dance, and tutors for various training courses for the RAD. Qualifications include the RAD Professional Dancers’ teaching Diploma (Distinction) and a 1st class Bachelor of Philosophy (Hons) in Ballet and Contextual Studies.
Classical Ballet Tutor
Born in Auckland, Turid began dancing in Taupo and Auckland. She was accepted into the National Ballet School (now NZSD) in 1979. After graduating, and touring with the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) in ‘Nutcracker’ and ‘Giselle’, she headed to Europe. There she spent four years as a soloist with the Theater der Stadt Koblenz in Germany. She also danced at the prestigious Bayreuther Festspiele each summer from 1982-86. Turid re-joined the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 1986, and was promoted to soloist in 1993. She completed a Bachelor of Arts while dancing with the company, and in 1997 worked as rehearsal assistant and stage manager for the Eric Languet Dance Company. She retired from dancing in 1999, becoming Artistic Coordinator with RNZB. The company has performed four of her works; ‘Si Supieras’ in 2004 & 2005, ‘Three over Four’ and ‘Bernarda Alba’s House’ in 1999, and ‘Kleines Requiem’ in 2000. In 2003 she was appointed RNZB Ballet Mistress, making her mark in the role for 11 years. Most recently, Turid Revfeim authored ‘New Zealand School of Dance: 50 Years 1967 – 2017’, which was published in 2017 to mark the School’s 50th anniversary.
Classical Ballet Tutor
Nadine Tyson graduated from the New Zealand School of Dance in 1991. Nadine first worked with the Royal New Zealand Ballet during her second year at the NZSD and was awarded a Shell Scholarship the following year. In 1995 she became a permanent member of the RNZB. In 1997 Nadine was named ECNZ young dancer of the year and used the award for a six week study tour in 2000 to visit leading companies in the USA and Europe including Rambert Dance Company, English National Ballet, Netherlands Dans Theatre, Dutch National Ballet and Bayeriches Staatsbalett. Nadine performed many principle roles during her time with the company. Career highlights include being coached by Janet Vernon for the lead in The Protecting Veil, Dinna Bjorn and Charles Mudry for Sylph in La Sylphide and Patricia Ruanne for the title role of Raymonda. Nadine Retired from the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 2004.