Preparing dancers for a career in professional dance performance

The New Zealand School of Dance is internationally recognized as producing versatile and employable dancers, skilled in classical ballet and contemporary dance. The School’s unique training develops qualities that meet the needs of the dance profession while extending the boundaries of the art form.

The School provides a two or three-year intensive training programme:

The New Zealand Diploma in Dance (Level 6) is a two year course designed to prepare students for a performance career.

  • Foundation of technique for both classical ballet and contemporary dance during the first year.
  • In the second year, refinement of technical strengths, developing performance skills and dance in regular performances.
  • New curriculum includes a strong choreographic component for both classical ballet and contemporary dance students.
  • Focus on professional development and self-management
  • Allied subjects include nutrition; dance history; anatomy and physiology; and music studies.

The Diploma in Dance Performance (Level 7) focusses on providing performance opportunities and industry experience.

  • The third year offers students a range of diverse experiences both within the School and externally.
  • Secondments and professional placements are an important part of the final year of training.
  • Students have the opportunity to work with dance companies for up to twelve weeks of term time.
  • Contemporary dance students choreograph their own works for the Choreographic Season produced every winter.
  • Students have the opportunity to perform in the School’s annual Graduation Season.

Most graduates enter careers in dance performance, and around 75% of students gain contracts within six months of graduating. New Zealand School of Dance alumni also work in related fields such as physiotherapy, dance teaching, pilates instruction, arts administration, research, dance notation, dance photography and journalism.

NZSD teaching staff offer career guidance to students on an individual basis. In addition, the School maintains ongoing relationships with the leaders of companies in New Zealand and internationally, providing information about auditions and secondments which can lead to professional employment. 


NZSD Qualifications

The New Zealand Diploma in Dance and the New Zealand School of Dance Diploma in Dance Performance sit at Level 6 and Level 7 respectively on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework. The Diploma in Dance Performance (Level 7) is equivalent to an undergraduate degree, allowing the possibility of postgraduate study and many career pathways.

The programme is approved by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority under section 249 of the Education Act 1989, and New Zealand School of Dance is accredited to provide it under section 250 of the Act.

The School is funded by the Ministry of Education through the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) and is registered with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) as a private training establishment.

The NZQA conducted an external evaluation and review (EER) of the School in 2017. The report states that NZQA is “highly confident” in both the educational performance and capability in self-assessment of the New Zealand School of Dance. This is the highest rating given by NZQA.

The NZSD supports the New Zealand Qualification Authority’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of the New Zealand tertiary education sector. Illegal or unethical behaviour in the tertiary sector can be reported to Integrity Plus on 0800 46 36 76.  


For further information about full-time training please email the NZSD Administrator or phone +64 4 381 9226