The New Zealand School of Dance has been formally recognised as the ‘Official School of the Royal New Zealand Ballet’.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed this month between the Royal New Zealand Ballet (RNZB) and the New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD), committing renewed energy to the relationship between the two national arts organisations.

The bond between School and Company is important said Francesco Ventriglia, Artistic Director of the Royal New Zealand Ballet; “When I was a dance student myself at La Scala in Milan, Italy it was my dream to become a professional dancer with the company. I believe very strongly in the importance of the relationship between New Zealand School of Dance and their national ballet company. I will do my very best to help nurture NZSD students and together with the NZSD help the students realise their dreams.”

The New Zealand School of Dance was founded in 1967 to train dancers for the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Despite changes in the School’s course structure, programmes and direction in the intervening years, the professional association between the NZSD and RNZB has remained strong. This move signals greater collaboration as the School approaches its 50th anniversary in 2017.

“The signing of this document reflects the original manifesto of the New Zealand School of Dance”, said the School’s director Garry Trinder. “The aspiration both organisations share is to present young New Zealanders with a legitimate career path through entry to the School and into the Company. Our primary wish is to see more New Zealanders remain in the country and play pivotal roles shaping our national dance culture.”

Photo: Elisabeth Zorino who is joining the RNZB in 2015, performing in New Zealand School of Dance Graduation Season. Photographed by Stephen A’Court