Young Dancer Programmes

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.


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

Students audition to join the Scholars programme, and participate in conjunction with their regular dance training.

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.

Student’s progress through a tiered structure is assessed each year and from Level 4 students participate in the four weekends of the Associates programme.

Classes are held on a weekly basis for lower North Island students and students on the National Scholars programme visit NZSD at least once during each term to attend training.

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

For questions or further information information about the Scholars programme please email Head of Scholars Sue Nicholls or phone 04 381 9255


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

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

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

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 incurs a small administrative fee and students must cover their own travel and accomodation costs.

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

View the Young Dancer Programmes brochure here.

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.

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

Levels of the NZSD Scholars and Associates 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)