About Dance Studies

Dancers performing under fluro lighting.


The Dance Studies Programme was originally part of the School of Creative and Performing Arts (SCAPA), located in the former TVNZ building on Shortland Street, along with the School of Music.

The Programme was based on a conservatoire model of dance education, offering a Graduate Diploma in Performing Arts from 1997 to 1999. In 2000 the diploma was replaced with the Master of Creative and Performing Arts (MCPA), with one lecturer on staff and many visiting guest lecturers teaching ten students.

In 2005, the Vice Chancellor and new dean of the Faculty of Creative Arts and Industries employed Associate Professor Ralph Buck as the Head of Department. Ralph rewrote the curriculum, shifting the focus from a conservatoire dance education model to a liberal arts model.

Five key competencies were developed: specialist knowledge, effective communication, general intellectual skills and capabilities, independence, creativity and learning, and ethical and social understanding.

This change in direction resulted in a highly successful international tour to Kuala Lumpur in 2007, profiling indigenous, Pacific and contemporary dance. The Dance Studies Programme has promoted international performance opportunities for students every year since, as well as community work with local school children and special needs students. View video

The Programme continues to grow and flourish, with the undergraduate degree becoming the Bachelor of Dance Studies in 2011, and the Bachelor of Dance Studies (Honours) added in 2012. The same year saw the graduation of the first two PhD students in Dance Studies. We look forward to the 2014/15 implementation of a dual masters degree with the Beijing Dance Academy; testimony to our growing international reputation as a respected centre of dance research and practice.

Links with industry associations, industry professionals and events

  • We are currently establishing a joint teaching programme with Beijing Dance Academy in China.
  • Our staff provide regular workshops for the Auckland Dance Educators Network, and our students and graduates are members.
  • Our staff helped establish the Christchurch Dance Educators Network in 2012, and provided regular workshops to industry professionals.
  • Our staff and students have been on the Boards and organization committees of the Tertiary Dance Education Network (TDENNZA) and Dance Aotearoa New Zealand (DANZ).
  • Our programmes regularly connect with local primary (Stanhope Road School) and secondary (Auckland Girls Grammar) schools and other community organizations (Starship Hospital) that employ dance professionals.
  • Our staff and students are regularly engaged as performers within Auckland and Christchurch festivals and events (Tempo, White Nights, The Body Festival).

International links and exchanges

  • We are in the process of becoming the UNESCO Observatory for Dance in the Pacific.
  • We are currently establishing a joint teaching programme with Beijing Dance Academy in China.
  • Our staff are members of professional associations such as the World Dance Alliance (Asia Pacific Chapter), Congress on Research in Dance (CORD), Dance and the Child International (DaCI) and the World Alliance of Arts Education (WAAE), and have held executive positions on these organisations.
  • Our staff and student research and performance connects with community dance companies such as VoU in Fiji, El-Funoun in Palestine, Amrita Performing Arts in Cambodia, and Traks Dance in Australia.

Facilities and resources

As a Dance Studies student you have access to the purpose-built dance studios located on the ground floor of 26 Symonds Street. Additional studios, teaching and practice spaces and recording facilities are located at the Kenneth Myers Centre (KMC) on Shortland Street. KMC is also home to the Jazz, Popular Music and Sound programmes and the Gus Fisher Gallery, creating exciting opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration.

The Music and Dance Library, located within the main School of Music building on Symonds Street, has a wide selection of audio-visual material and international dance journals to support your studies.

Visit the Music and Dance Library 
Online student resources
Map of Creative Arts and Industries