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A Day in the Life at NZ School of Dance


By Emma Mortimer

Emma Mortimer holding a ballet posse on a Wellington sign

New Zealand School of Dance is a world class institute that provides training in Classical and Contemporary dance. I was one of the extremely lucky young dancers to have been chosen to attend NZSD in the Classical course. I started my training in 2017, and this year is my third and final year of training.


Each day varies at the school, for the first half of the year we focus mainly on preparing for mid-year assessment, whereas the second half of the year is more focused on the end of year Graduation Season. School starts at 9am every day, but I try and get there between 8:15 and 8:30 so I can stretch and warm up for the day ahead. We have a morning class from 9-10:30 every day to get us ready for a full day of dancing and to work on our technique.

Emma leaping infront of a graffited wall

There is always more that we can aim to perfect! The timetable is different every day, but after the morning class we will usually have a coaching class, pas de deux class or a pointe class for the ladies and a men’s coaching class. For the first half of the year, 2nd and 3rd years have repertoire classes where we work on solos. We perform these solos for assessment, which is a great performance opportunity. After those 2 classes we have a lunch break, and then 2 or 3 classes after that.


Classical dancers usually have a  contemporary class after lunch and contemporary dancers will have a ballet class after lunch. First and second years are required to complete theory classes in anatomy, music, dance history and nutrition in order to obtain their Certificate in Dance Performance. Luckily for me 3rd years don’t have to do theory at all! This means we can finish our day a bit earlier and we can practise in a spare studio, do Pilates, gym or roll out our muscles and get ready for the next day of training!

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