Summer Intensive 2021

Thank-you to all the talented and enthusiastic participants of the School’s inaugural Summer Intensive. We thoroughly enjoyed starting the new school year with you!

Save the dates for Winter School 2021, where we hope to dance with all of you again: 12 – 16 July 2021.

All photography below by Julia Forsyth of Joyful Dance Photography.

Associate Auditions

The New Zealand School of Dance Associates Programme identifies classical ballet and contemporary dance students from all over New Zealand who have a talent for a career in dance performance. Students aged 13 – 16 are chosen by audition, ensuring those with aptitude can take class with similarly talented dancers.

Join the Associates Programme

Step 1: Apply to join – click here

Step 2: Attend one of these auditions

WellingtonTe Whaea12 Sept, 2020
AucklandWellesley Studios13 Sept, 2020
ChristchurchNASDA20 Sept, 2020

AHA Award Winners

The 2019 Alana Haines Australasian Awards (AHA Awards) were held over the Easter weekend, Thursday 18 – Monday 22 April, at the Opera House Wellington, New Zealand.

The competition, which is held biennially, saw 600 Australasian contestants competing for prizes totaling $460,000 cash and scholarship awards, including recipient airfares paid by the AHA Awards. Scholarships are sponsored by international dance schools from UK, USA, Canada, Europe and Australasia, and the event is judged by an international jury.

Seven NZSD full-time classical ballet students recently participated in the prestigious Alana Haines Australasian Awards. In the 15-18 year age group, we were well represented too amongst our Associates & Scholars. It was an outstanding achievement to see Timothy Ching as a finalist, Sook Meng Lim placed 2nd and Rench Soriano receive 1st place and the Audience Choice Award.

Rench Soriano (1st place and Audience Choice Award)
Sook Meng Lim (2nd place)
Timothy Ching (finalist)

Images by Amber Griffin Photography.
Cover image, from L: Sook Meng Lim (2nd place), Rench Soriano (1st place) and Jemima Scott (3rd place and a student of Mount Eden Ballet Academy)

Scholarship available for a male dancer in NZSD’s Scholars programme

The New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) and the Royal Academy of Dance‘s (RAD) Project B are proud to announce a new available scholarship for an aspiring male dancer wishing to take part in the 2019 NZSD Scholars programme.

The scholarship is a new initiative created by both organisations to assist talented young male dancers who wish to extend their training. The underlying criteria for the scholarship supports male applicants aged 10-16 who would not otherwise be able to afford this extra training. The value of the sponsorship is $600.00, which covers annual fees and/or some travel.

Applications are now open to apply for this scholarship. Applicants can apply to use this scholarship as either a National or Wellington Scholar.

Applicants will audition either via video or in Wellington on 11 November 2018 alongside other Scholar applicants. A scholarship committee will assess applications and notify successful and unsuccessful applicants post audition.

How to apply:
Please contact NZSD’s Head of Scholars, Sue Nicholls at

Applications close 2 November 2018.

Read more about the Scholars programme

Celebrating 20 years of directorship at NZSD

In 2018, we acknowledge Garry Trinder’s 20-year anniversary as Director of the New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD). Garry began his directorship with the New Zealand School of Dance on 15 January 1998. Over his twenty-year tenure, Garry has extended the School’s professional training reputation globally including forging relationships with acclaimed international classical ballet competitions and exchange programmes with top dance training schools.

“There has been no ‘one moment’ that makes me feel gratified to be the School’s director, rather a series of moments where I see successful alumni of the School realise their dreams through dance. It is watching and teaching our students training to be the absolute best that they can be.”

Garry Trinder has seen the School through significant milestones and successes including the School’s move from its waterfront premises to its current location Te Whaea: New Zealand National Dance and Drama Centre, to the School’s 40th and 50th anniversaries, and to the launch of the New Zealand School of Dance Foundation.

Garry Trinder was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the Queen’s Birthday Honours, in recognition of his services to dance.

Garry 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. 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.

The School thanks and acknowledges Garry for his tireless dedication to the ongoing success and excellence of dance training in New Zealand and his ongoing belief in his students’ abilities to excel.

New Zealand School of Dance Launches Foundation

Building on a legacy of 50 years at the forefront of dance training in New Zealand, the New Zealand School of Dance Foundation supports the vision of lifting up the dancers of tomorrow.

“The New Zealand School of Dance can shape lives. Each day we continue to give the students our love and support as they go from strength to strength. We welcome you to join us as the School enters a new era and the beginning of the next 50 years” – Garry Trinder MNZm, Director New Zealand School of Dance

The Foundations primary objective is to provide scholarship for students in financial hardship, ensuring that these exceptionally talented students have access to training regardless of their financial situation.

Donations received by 30 September 2018 will receive ‘Inaugural Patron’ acknowledgement. We are seeking donations from $1,000 to $10,000+

Image: Alanna Main in ‘The Bach’ costume. Choreography by Michael Parmenter. Photographed by Stephen A’Court.

Reunion and Events for 50th Anniversary

This year we celebrate 50 years since the School was established in 1967.

Many people have shared its journey and contributed to personal and collective achievements.

As Garry Trinder said in his speech on the anniversary, 6 March 2017; “We know that the New Zealand School of Dance can shape lives… The passing of the baton happens constantly. The rich tradition continues in the studio through every step, every phrase, every variation, every muscle twitch. It is the lifeblood through which this art form is fed.”

We invite all with a connection to the School to join with us at this half-century milestone for a series of special events in Wellington.


A season of new solo dance works created by graduates for the 2017 students … Read more

Graduation weekend 24 – 26 November 2017

50th Anniversary Graduation Season performances at St James Theatre

Reunion morning at the School

Bookings for these events

In addition the School has published a book by graduate Turid Revfeim looking back at the first 50 years … Read more

We encourage alumni to connect with each other during the Graduation weekend

One group has already organised a programme of activities – Visit the event on Facebook

Please email us with any other events being organised.

Accommodation Partner

QT Museum Wellington, our accommodation partner, has generously provided 15% discount for those visiting for the Graduation Season weekend (23 – 27 November 2017)

To book, email QT Reservations and quote the code NZSD50.

Other accommodation discounts for NZSD guests

InterContinental Wellington has offered a 10% discount off the best flexible rate – Use the code DAN when booking. Book Now

CQ Hotels Wellington have offered a discounted rate for 23-26 November – To book, email CQ Reservations or phone 0800 643 131 and quote the code NZ Dance.

Bookings are subject to availability

Image: Mary Jane O’Reilly who was one of the first students in 1967 with Olivia Moore, our youngest first-year student in 2017.

Book Launched as part of 50th Birthday Celebrations

The anniversary celebrations for the New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD), previously known as the National School of Ballet, begin with the publication of a book.

Launched at the National Library of New Zealand as the School turned 50 on 6 March 2017, the limited edition book is a stunning collector’s item. It highlights alumni, choreographers and teachers, who have passed through the school and played a significant part in shaping New Zealand’s unique dance culture.

The book represents an impressive collaborative achievement. Award-winning book designer Neil Pardington has worked with striking images by renowned photographer Stephen A’Court and historical photos from the School’s archives to create an illuminating portrait.

Written by NZSD graduate Turid Revfeim, a former soloist and Ballet Mistress with the Royal New Zealand Ballet and now tutor at the School, the book provides personal insight into the life of the School. ‘The training I received prepared me for a career dancing in Europe, as well as here with the Royal New Zealand Ballet, performing in both contemporary and classical works.’ said Turid.

Regardless of whether you have passed through the School’s doors as a student, teacher, or enthusiastic lover of dance, NZSD’s stunning new book uniquely celebrates an important and enduring part of our cultural history.

Available to libraries and schools through Wheelers and UBS

We thank our sponsors and supporters for helping us realise this project

Sponsors: Neil Pardington, Format Print and Stephen A’Court

Supporters: Tim & Fiona Arbuckle, Paul & Sheryl Baines, Fenella Bathfield Dobson, Monique van den Blink, Bushell Charitable Trust, Richard Chen See, The Emery Family, Peter and Margaret Fairhead (née Reese), Merenia Gray, Sandra Greig MNZM, Christine Hofkens, E.Prof Les Holborow, Rob Hole & Sue Batley, Sheryl Lowe, Penelope Ryder-Lewis of Bartlett Law, Judge Heather Simpson, Catherine Usher

Tickets are on sale now for the 50th Anniversary Graduation Season at the St James Theatre in Wellington on 24-25 November 2017

International dancer/choreographer James O’Hara joins the team

Distinguished international performer, teacher and choreographer James O’Hara has accepted a full-time role at the NZSD as a contemporary dance tutor.

‘I’m so happy to be immersed in this wonderfully engaged and supportive environment, sharing with these immensely creative, curious and talented young people every day. Full of personality and with a unique identity, NZSD is quite the inspiring home.’ – James O’Hara

Originally from Fremantle, Western Australia, James has worked with renowned companies around the world with his recent career based largely in Europe. James began his career as a member of Ballet Junior de Genéve. Recipient of a Princess Grace Foundation Bursary in 2004, he has since worked with Ballet Preljocaj (France), Mathew Lutton and Chrissie Parrott (Malthouse Theatre Melbourne) and Ross McCormack (Muscle Mouth, NZ).

Dancing as guest artist with some of the world’s leading dance companies James has performed at some of the most prestigious venues in the world including with The Paris Opera Ballet at the Palais Garnier, The Bolshoi Theatre Moscow and at Sadler’s Wells theatre in London. Since 2006 James has worked extensively with Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui in Belgium and more recently in London with the National Youth Dance Company at Sadler’s Wells.

Having previously taught at NZSD as a guest, James makes a welcome return in a full-time capacity and it is of huge significance to the School to have on hand James’s experience of international companies and choreographic methods. This month James is performing at the Auckland Arts festival with Natalia Osipova in choreography by Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui. He then travels to Europe to work with Paris Opera Ballet before returning to NZSD. The students are fortunate to learn from a tutor of such international acclaim.

Ballet Foundation Supports Aspiring Young Dancers

The Ballet Foundation of New Zealand has announced it will be providing support for the New Zealand School of Dance’s 2017 Associates Programme.

This national programme provides tuition for secondary school students who aspire to a career in dance performance. Students are chosen by audition, and the programme is free of charge, ensuring access is based on talent rather than the ability to pay.

Associates travel to Wellington for four weekends of tuition at the School each year. This year 65 promising young dancers from across New Zealand, Warkworth to Invercargill, are taking part.

The Ballet Foundation exists to support, promote and advance classical ballet in New Zealand. With their support, the NZSD Associates Programme can continue to help young dancers take their first steps on the path to becoming professional dancers.

Saul Newport performed on 7 March at The Ballet Foundation fundraiser in Auckland, alongside NZSD graduate Laura Saxon Jones who is now dancing with the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Saul was an Associate for several years before becoming a full-time student at the NZSD.

“The Associates programme gave me excellent training and inspiration to pursue a career in dance. Without the Associates programme I wouldn’t be here today and I believe it was a crucial stepping stone to my development as a dancer.”  Saul Newport