Full Time Auditions Update

All of us at NZSD have been hopeful that the full-time auditions could go ahead as planned in Auckland. Regrettably we are no longer able to make the trip to Auckland for live auditions as the Level 3 lockdown in Auckland, Northland and parts of the Waikato continues.

Therefore we will be accepting digital auditions from applicants in these regions and look forward to receiving these as early as possible (31 October at the latest).   This applies to those interested in our full-time programme and anyone wanting to join our Associates. Comprehensive Digital Audition Guidelines have been prepared.  Please click on the button to view and download them. 

We recognise that lockdown is a stressful time for everyone.   But even in these uncertain times, although we are physically apart, we are in this together.  Kia kaha Aotearoa!

Scholars & Associates Programme Auditions

The health and well-being of all our students, supporters and staff remain at the forefront of our planning.  After careful consideration, we have decided to postpone auditions for our Scholars and Associate Programmes

The postponement is to allow applicants the opportunity to spend as much time as possible in studio to prepare themselves before audition day.

Scholars Auditions: 30 October 2021, Wellington. Times to be confirmed

Associate Auditions:

  • 30 October – Wellington
  • 31 October – Auckland
  • 7 November – Christchurch
  • Times for all auditions to be confirmed


Sir Tīmoti Karetū, New Zealand’s first Māori Language Commissioner and a respected exponent of the spoken and performing arts, has gifted the New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) the phrase ‘Kia kōrero te katoa o te tinana’. Sir Tīmoti’s words, translated by Te Taura Whiri i te Reo Māori, the Māori Language Commission, as ‘Let the body do all of the talking’, embodies the philosophy of the School and recognises its commitment to honouring Te Ao Māori as a central tenet in educating young dancers.

Chair of the NZSD Board of Trustees, Peter Mersi feels strongly that the School needs to wear proudly its commitment to Māori kaupapa, explaining, “As New Zealand’s national dance school, we want all our students to feel they can bring their whole selves to the School, to recognise where we have come from, and to honour Te Tiriti o Waitangi. Sir Tīmoti’s gift to the School speaks to the heart of what our students strive for.”

The School will incorporate this taonga into its identity as it enters a new era. In 2021 NZSD students will be among the first to study towards the NZ Diploma in Dance. This new qualification includes credits covering Tikanga Māori, Māori history, language and culture, and Haka Pōwhiri, complimenting the practical training in ballet and contemporary dance that the School excels in.

The NZSD has a strong tradition of embracing tikanga Māori, with all students learning Kapa Haka and welcoming guests with powhiri. For NZSD Director Garry Trinder this is important; “The School’s Board, staff, students and alumni are ready to ensure their kaupapa has depth and integrity. The weight is considerable, with everyone assuming responsibility in every breath and every step to represent history, lore, culture and tradition”.  

Video Trailer

2020 Performance Season

From 18 – 28 November, 2020 the New Zealand School of Dance presents alternating performances of ballet and contemporary dance. Ticket sales here.

There & Then | Here & Now:  two spirited dance programmes showcasing the full-time students’ outstanding talent and the School’s creative diversity. 

The national institution’s end-of-year performance seasons have become a fixture of the New Zealand arts calendar.  This year NZSD breaks with its long-established format of performing in the theatre at Te Whaea: National Dance and Drama Centre by staging the performances in the studio where the students train – providing the audience with an informal, first-hand experience of the School and its dancers.

The season opens with Here & Now: an anthology of enthralling newly-created and current contemporary dance works.  This is followed the next evening by the classical ballet programme, There & Then: a collection of much-loved, iconic ballet repertoire. Performances will alternate throughout the season.

Here & Now includes the established contemporary work Be Yourself by Garry Stewart, Artistic Director of Australian Dance Theatre.  NZSD is the first tertiary institution to be granted permission to perform this work.  One of the highlights of this unique season is the creation of four new works by local choreographers including School alumnae Victoria Colombus and Holly Newsome along with award-winning choreographer Elijah Kennar and NZSD tutor Daniel Jaber (previously Australian Dance Theatre). 

There & Then includes popular favourites such as the Pas de Douze from Swan Lake, Act I and the Pas de Deux from Concerto coached by Stuart Cassidy.  Highlights of the classical programme are the commissioning of a Flamenco work by Catarina Mora of the John Cranko School, Stuttgart and a thrilling performance of La Sylphide, Act II, coached by Sir Jon Trimmer and re-created by NZSD tutors Turid Revfeim, Nadine Tyson and Qi Huan.

2020 is a year that will be etched into our collective memories for generations to come.  Like so many dance companies and training institutions across the globe, all NZSD scheduled performances were cancelled this year.  A great number of companies and training institutions are yet to return to the studio and stage, and the arts industry as a whole has been shaken.  NZSD staff and students therefore feel privileged to be presenting performances to live audiences at this time.

NZSD Director Garry Trinder and the NZSD faculty have worked hard to mentor and support the development of ballet and contemporary dance students into the skilled young artists performing at Te Whaea this November.  The There & Then | Here & Now season demonstrates the incredible range of creative talent of the young people of Aotearoa.

Made possible with support from The Australian High Commission, The Lion Foundation and The Four Winds Foundation

A professional career in dance begins at NZSD

Students’ personal impressions of the School

Watch as four of our current students share what they love about the School, what inspired them to apply for a place here and their tips for success at the School audition.

Classical ballet students Tayla-Rose Frisby and Dane Head and contemporary dance students Kiki Miwa and Luke Romero talk about their personal impressions of the School’s nurturing environment, their audition experience and why the School is so special to them.

We hope you enjoy watching this video as much as we enjoyed making it. Please leave us your comments and share the video with your friends 🙂

Filming and editing by Jeremy Brick

Special thanks for contributions by Tabitha Dromboski and Loughlan Prior, Tessa Karle, Zachary Healy and staff.

Winter School Update

With regret, the New Zealand School of Dance 2020 Winter School has been cancelled due to the impact of Covid-19.

We understand this decision will come as a great disappointment to many.   Please know that our decision has been taken in the best interest and safety of students and staff.

We are looking optimistically to 12- 16 July 2021 inc, when we plan to bring Winter School back again, offering you world-class teaching by the New Zealand School of Dance artistic staff as well as a host of guest teachers.

We thank you for your ongoing support during this challenging time.

How the move to Level 2 affects NZSD

New Zealand will move to Alert Level 2 from Thursday 14 May

The New Zealand School of Dance will reopen its doors to welcome back our full-time students and Scholars on Monday 25 May.   Our studio timetable is expected to be reduced and very cautious, with strict protocols around hygiene and distancing. 

The NZSD staff will principally be working from home and our range of online classes is to continue until 30 June (end of Term 2).

At Alert Level 2, we will not be offering any open classes or adult ballet classes.

Take care everyone and more soon. 

Perfomance & Event Dates

In response to the COVID-19 situation and in accordance with all government health and safety advice we will be postponing some of the School’s performances and community events. The health and wellbeing of the community, students, scholars, associates and staff are our top priority.

Where possible we are looking alternative ways of hosting some events and hope you will bare with us as we put on all the finishing touches.

We’ll keep you up to date right here about how you can participate in the coming weeks and months, and look forward to connecting with you in person in the near future.

You can also find updates by visiting our Facebook and Instagram pages or subscribing to our newsletter.

  • CHOREOGRAPHIC SEASON: Postponed to late Spring
  • WINTER SCHOOL: Postponed to later in the year
  • TOOLS FOR TEACHERS: Dates to be confirmed
  • PATHWAYS: Dates to be confirmed

Image credit: 2020 3rd Yr contemporary dance students Otto Kosok and Caspar Ilschner. Photography by Stephen A’Court

Coronavirus update from NZSD

Following the latest annoucement from the Government to raise the Covid-19 Alert to Level 4, NZSD will suspend all face-to-face teaching classes from Tuesday 24 March. This applies to our full-time students and outreach programmes.

The School has already outlined scaleable procedures to manage events of this type. Pastoral care is provided to all students, and we are in communication with our halls of residents with regard to student accommodation at this time.

To read our health plan for novel coronavirus Covid-19, please click here.

We will keep you updated regularly.

Updates &Tips

New students welcome

We begin every year with a pōwhiri to welcome new students and staff to our whānau. We welcomed Daniel Jaber, contemporary dance tutor, and the 1st Yr students on Wednesday the 29th of January. Here are photographs taken of the event.

We wish all our new and returning students and staff an invigorating, inspiring year ahead.