Aspirational Programme Provides A Strong Start

Two students have graduated from the New Zealand School of Dance’s aspirational Scholars programme into the School’s full-time course.

Sophie Arbuckle and Megan Wright are both studying towards the Certificate in Dance Performance in 2014, and achieving success among their peers, having reached Level 6 of Scholars, a part-time programme for ballet students from age 10.

“Being a Scholar was a huge confidence boost for me, I loved being in the environment of a full-time school”, says Sophie, who is a first year classical student. “The experiences I gained set me up well for the audition, and I was a lot more prepared from having the extra classes provided by the programme”.

Second year student Megan was chosen for a lead role in the NZSD’s 2013 graduation programme, and both Megan and Sophie are currently learning George Balanchine’s ‘Concerto Barocco’, which will feature in this year’s Graduation Season. The two girls were also chosen to spend a month on exchange at NZSD partner school, Canada’s National Ballet School in Toronto, in January 2014.

During their time as Scholars, one of two Aspirational programmes run by the School, the girls participated in Insight Studio Performances and had specialised Pilates programmes to follow. Scholars receive regular feedback and an annual assessment. Alongside training with their private sector teachers, Bronwyn Bennett of Chilton Dance Centre and Paula Hunt at what is now Wellington Dance Academy, the girls had opportunities to learn from NZSD tutors and to experience at first hand, life at the School.

“The Scholars programme was a wonderful stepping stone in my path towards joining a ballet company – I would recommend it to any aspiring young dancer”, says Megan.

Photo: Sophie Arbuckle in Insight Studio Performance 2014, photographed by Stephen A’Court