National Scholars and Associates programmes

These programmes provide the best foundation on the path to becoming a professional dancer and for students aspiring to train full-time at the New Zealand School of Dance.

Students are chosen from all over New Zealand by audition, ensuring those with aptitude can take class with similarly talented dancers. Classes complement the student’s current dance training while providing first-hand experience of the School’s teachers, training style and facilities.

Auditions for Associates 2020 are concluded.

Applications to audition for Scholars 2020 are closed.

9 Nov: Scholars auditions (Wgtn)
2.30pm – 5.30pm
Venue: Te Whaea National Dance & Drama Centre

Project B Scholarship 2020 applications are closed. For more information, please contact us directly.


The Scholars programme provides training for classical ballet students from the age of 10 (year 6 at school).

The programme focuses on the principles of movement, incorporating the definitions of techique as required in ballet, while embracing musicality and artistry.

Classes are small and the ballet training is supported by allied subjects such as body conditioning. The level of technique and the frequency of classes increase annually to the age of 16 in preparation for the School’s full-time course.

While the programme focuses on dancers from the lower North Island, under special circumstances students from other regions are invited to participate. Student progress through a tiered structure is assessed each year and from Level 4 students participate in the four weekends of the Associates programme.

The programme incurs term fees.
Progression beyond Level 2 is at the discretion of the School.

Project B Scholarship

The New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) and the Royal Academy of Dance’s (RAD) Project B are proud to announce that we are continuing to make available a scholarship for an aspiring male dancer wishing to take part in the 2020 NZSD Scholars programme.

For more information about the Scholars programme please email Head of Scholars Sue Nicholls or phone 04 381 9252 ext 261


The Associates Programme identifies ballet and contemporary dance students who have the talent for a career in dance performance.

Associates travel from throughout the country to the New Zealand School of Dance in Wellington for four weekends of tuition a year.

tiered structure sees students aged 13 – 16 (years 9-11 at secondary school)progressing through the programme as Junior, Intermediate and Senior Associates.

Associates can attend masterclasses in their region hosted by the Royal New Zealand Ballet, and once a year Senior Associates join the full-time students for an immersion week. 

The School actively encourages entry at Junior Associate level (year 9 at School).

Current Associates do not need to re-audition annually, however they are assessed regularly and continue on the programme by invitation only.

The programme is free of charge, but students must cover their own travel and accomodation costs.

Those wishing to enter full-time training at NZSD are required to attend the full-time audition.

The 2019 Associates programme is supported by Lou & Iris Fisher Charitable Trust

For more information about the Associates programme please email Head of Associates Christine Gunn or phone 04 381 9223

Levels of the NZSD Aspirational Programmes

School YearAge ScholarsAssociates
Year 610/11 YearsNZSD Scholar Level 1
Year 711/12 YearsNZSD Scholar Level 2
Year 812/13 YearsNZSD Scholar Level 3
Year 913/14 YearsNZSD Scholar Level 4NZSD Junior Associate Classical Major
Year 9 13/14 YearsNZSD Junior Associate Contemporary Major
Year 1014/15 YearsNZSD Scholar Level 5NZSD Intermediate Associate Classical Major
Year 10 14/15 YearsNZSD Intermediate Associate Contemporary Major
Year 1115/16 YearsNZSD Scholar Level 6NZSD Senior Associate Classical Major
Year 1115/16 YearsNZSD Senior Associate Contemporary Major
Year 1216/ 17 YearsNZSD Senior Associate Contemporary Major (if granted)

At the completion of Scholars Level 6 and/or Senior Associates, and having completed Level 1 NCEA, it is expected students will audition for full-time training at NZSD.