New Zealand School of Dance

Wellington, New Zealand

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In 1967, the National School of Ballet was established in Wellington by the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council of New Zealand, primarily to prepare students for potential employment by the Royal New Zealand Ballet.

In 1982, the National School of Ballet changed its name to the New Zealand School of Dance, reflecting the expansion of the curriculum to embrace contemporary dance training. Those who graduated at this time soon became the backbone of Limbs Dance Company, New Zealand’s first professional contemporary dance company.

After several moves to different locations, the Wellington Show Buildings became available in the mid-nineties and the school initiated a fundraising campaign that saw the buildings transformed into one of the finest performing arts venues in Australasia. With nine studios, a 200-seat flexible space theatre, the comprehensive Nola Millar Library, a classroom, physiotherapy, fitness and Pilates facilities, Te Whaea: National Dance and Drama Centre became home to the New Zealand School of Dance and Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School in 1998. Garry Trinder was appointed director of the New Zealand School of Dance in January of the same year.

In 2007, the School celebrated its 40th Anniversary and today there are between sixty and seventy full-time students studying at the School, and approximately fifty young dancers participating in the Junior Associate and Regional Associate programs.

Many graduates of the New Zealand School of Dance have gone on to make significant contributions to the dance world both nationally and internationally, dancing with companies such as Black Grace, the Royal New Zealand Ballet, Australian Dance Theatre, Rambert Dance Company, Michael Parmenter’s Commotion Company, West Australian Ballet, Footnote Dance, Royal Danish Ballet, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Les Ballets C de la B, The Australian Ballet, Tulsa Ballet, Rosas and English National Ballet.

The New Zealand School of Dance is a partner school of the Prix de Lausanne, the world’s foremost international ballet competition for young dancers. With New Zealand being part of the Pacific Rim, the New Zealand School of Dance sustains ongoing relationships with companies throughout the region.

Garry Trinder, Director

Born in England, Garry Trinder trained at the Royal Ballet School, Rambert School of Ballet and Maurice Bejart's MUDRA. As a dancer he worked with the Scottish Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montreal and London City Ballet. Trinder's extensive career includes six years as Artistic Director of the Hong Kong Ballet and two years as Director of Dance at South Africa's NAPAC Dance Company. He regularly serves on the jury of international ballet competitions in New York and Tokyo, was a member of the Artistic Committee of the Prix de Lausanne from 2006 to 2012 and is an artistic adviser to West Australian Ballet. Garry Trinder has been director of the New Zealand School of Dance since January 1998.

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