Since the dance curriculum was first introduced to the College in 2003, the year the girls first joined the College, interest in the dance programme has continued to grow for both girls and boys; an interest that is reflected in the large number of students who select dance as an examinable course of study and who audition for our Dance productions each year.

As a subject, Dance is one of the four separate Arts disciplines — Dance, Drama, Music and Visual Arts — that make up the ‘essential learning’ area of The Arts in the New Zealand Curriculum.

It is a curriculum requirement that all students in Year 7 take courses covering each of the disciplines meaning that both boys and girls at this age have a ‘taste’ of Dance as a future area of study.

In Years 8 and 9, students are required to select two of the Arts disciplines for each year of study and thereafter, the Arts become part of a range of optional subjects for selection, leading to formal NZQA qualifications.

From its inception in 2003, there has been a strong growth in the number of both boys and girls selecting to study Dance at NCEA examination level.

As part of the assessment for their course work, there is both a performance and a choreographic element at both NCEA Level 2 (Year 12) and Level 3 (Year 13).


In the past few years, our dance students have met these objectives with the work they have undertaken preparing for Stage Challenge and JRock. 

More recently, their energies have been poured into the College Dance Showcase that brought 146 dancers to the stage in a selection of nine original choreographies prepared and presented by the students for their NCEA assessment.

In addition, some of our drama (NCEA) and theatre arts (IB Diploma) students were involved with the technical and production aspects of the show.

Our dance students are fortunate to have a dedicated dance studio in which to work and rehearse.

Hip hop, ballet, jazz, cultural performances and personal dance styles are all catered for and their shows are a joy to watch.

Dancing in the USA

With thanks to student reporter, Lucy Floyd

On the 1st of April, 56 Performing Arts and Media students, including 11 dance students, embarked on the trip of a lifetime to the United States of America. We first flew to San Francisco in California.

Upon arrival, the dance students, along with teachers Mr Wilcox and Mr Harada, went straight to a dance studio called ODC. It was here that we were fortunate enough to see their Youth Dance company Dance Jam perform a piece of their work for us. 

This was our first look at American dance training as well as the style of Contemporary dance in America. It was exciting for us to see this as well as see works of students the same age as us in another country. At the conclusion of their performance we each gifted them various NZ goodies such as pineapple lumps, jaffas, jet plane lollies and L&P, their faces were priceless and they loved all the chocolate!

The following day we went to the San Francisco Ballet to see dancers on the verge of becoming professionals have their morning class. It became clear to us that the ballet dancers in America are trained very differently to the dancers in NZ but again it was very interesting to see the contrasting techniques and the different ways of teaching.  

Immediately after the ballet class we went back to ODC dance centre for 2 classes. 

Dance Showcase

As the Auckland Stage Challenge and JRock performance nights sometimes fall into the July school holidays for Saint Kentigern, when many of our senior students are on overseas tours, we provide our students with a similar production experience at the College. The result has been very moving, thought-provoking evenings of Dance in Elliot Hall.

For those students who undertake Dance as an examinable course of study, there are a number of objectives to be achieved for assessment purposes . 

 

Achievement objectives at NCEA Level 2 (Year 12) and NCEA Level 3 (Year 13) each have a choreographic element. At Year 12, there is a requirement to ‘choreograph a group Dance to communicate an intention.’ At Year 13, the requirement is to ‘produce a Dance for a performance.’ There is also a requirement to ‘perform a significant role in a group Dance to an audience.’

Our dance students meet these objectives with the work they undertake preparing Stage Challenge and JRock, or, more recently, in preparing a Dance Showcase at the College.

The recent College Dance Showcase brought 146 Dancers to the stage in a selection of nine original choreographies devised, prepared and presented by the students for their NCEA assessment.


In addition, some of our Drama (NCEA) and Theatre Arts (IB Diploma) students were involved with the technical and production aspects of the show. Each of the nine presentations had a distinct theme with several dance styles included across the performances from hip hop to ballet. In essence, each was equivalent to a Stage Challenge performance.

Some of these explored difficult, emotional issues that were communicated so skilfully through the performers that the audience was palpably drawn in. The production demonstrated the power of Dance to tell a story. The choreographers, performers and backstage crew from Years 12 and 13 are to be congratulated for the huge amount of work undertaken to bring a show of this calibre to fruition. 

The audience were moved to comment that the Dance Showcase was similar to a night watching the broad range of individual school Stage Challenge productions at the Aotea Centre - except in this case, the performers in each mini-production were all our own!