Meet our Students and Graduates

Dance Studies undergraduate students

Joshing posing.

Joshua Faleatua

“I've been dancing ever since I was small - I was that little kid that followed music videos. I'm in a hip-hop dance crew called Identity, and we've just come back from Las Vegas where we came second in the world champs. The Dance Studies programme at The University of Auckland has made me think way outside the box - coming to uni has unlocked our minds and now we can just explode.

"The theory side surprised me. It's making me a lot more creative. I've learnt there's more to dance than just performing, and that's why I want to do teaching or choreography later on. From here I just want to dance and keep learning under someone, because I've already learnt a lot, but I want to see how they work in a dance company, and then eventually go and do it myself and pass it on."

Joshua is currently studying for a Bachelor of Dance Studies (BDanceSt).



Jamie filming a dance piece.

Jamie Green

“The University of Auckland was an obvious choice because it offers a bachelors degree purely in dance studies; you don’t just get technical training or an academic programme, but rather a flexible, harmonious combination of the two.

"Throughout my degree I’ve been enabled to study dance technically, choreographically and critically, growing my knowledge and developing my skills immensely. The Dance staff have made my experience so much richer – they genuinely care about our work and ambitions.

“During my second year I was honored to be selected for a trip to Singapore. We had the opportunity to perform there and teach too! Other highlights would be the practical experience I’ve gained over a range of avenues; teaching in a primary school, working closely with international and famous New Zealand choreographers on large projects and performances and working with fellow students at all levels.

"Although my degree is almost finished, I have not yet exhausted my curiosity about dance and plan to pursue postgraduate study with the hope of more overseas travel in the near future.”

Jaimie is currently studying for a Bachelor of Dance Studies (BDanceSt).



Leighton jumping.

Leighton Rangi

"I chose the University of Auckland because it is one of the most well established universities, and I also have friends who studied here in the past and gave me great feedback.  The highlight of the programme is that everyone becomes familiar with each other, which has enabled us to grow closer and treat each other like family. Everyone is really helpful, especially the lecturers. As an undergraduate dance student you get amazing opportunities to travel overseas and experience other dance cultures, and show off your own as well which I find very exciting. 

"My dance background is hiphop but since I've been studying here, I've learnt to expand and try new things which has been an amazing experience. There are so many career paths to choose from after this degree and I have three options in mind: becoming a secondary school dance teacher, a professional dancer or a choreographer."

Leighton is currently studying for a Bachelor of Dance Studies (BDanceSt).

Kristin dancing with a partner.

Kristin Russell

“I chose the University of Auckland as my place of study because of the diversity within the Bachelor of Dance Studies. I like that the degree doesn't just focus on the physicality of dance or the theory of dance. It emphasises that dancers need the theory to support their dancing bodies. I also really like that not everyone has the same level of technical ability. Everyone is from a different cultural background, but together we mesh to create a community that thrives, ensuring that each person retains their individuality.

“During my studies here I have enjoyed opportunities to perform, from flash mobs to stage performances, and each of these has been an exciting experience. There are so many different pathways offered here, it's up to you to decide which road to take. I have been interested in dance rehabilitation and exploring how dance can help individuals with psychological or physical difficulties.”

Kristin is currently studying for a Bachelor of Dance Studies (BDanceSt).


Dance Studies postgraduate students and graduates



Kristie Mortimer

"I continued to postgraduate level because I saw great opportunities to delve deeper into the world of dance and start to specialise. You can truly develop your understanding of what you’ve already learned and begin to tailor your speciality towards a specific focus. 

"I managed to go to the University of Roehampton in London through 360 Auckland Abroad. Spending three months there enabled me to build international networks and learn directly from lecturers who had featured in our readings here. I gained plenty of experience to bring back to New Zealand and build upon.

"The lecturers and supervisors here are really great, always willing to answer questions and help develop your ideas so your research can be the best it can be. There are lots of other postgraduate students so we have a good support network within the department.

"I am considering my PhD so I can become a university lecturer and continue my research. I like providing the opportunity to perform, giving others the platform to express themselves in that way, as it is a positive experience and way of moving the body. I would also like to have my own business in the area of community dance, taking dance to people who don’t usually have access to it. There are so many different opportunities you can take from dance.

Kristie is completing her masters research focusing on the role of community dance practitioners in prisons.




Alfdaniels Mabingo

“I can’t tell you when I started to dance. I found myself dancing the way you find yourself breathing. I come from a big family and community, and dance was part of our day to day life.

"After completing my undergraduate and masters degrees in dance in Uganda, and a second masters degree in the United States, extensive research revealed that the University of Auckland was one of very few institutions in the world to offer a PhD in Dance Studies and it was a combination of scholarship, education, research and practice that brought me here. There is a global focus in the University of Auckland programme, research done by academics goes far beyond New Zealand, and that is the type of environment and support I needed.

"The University supported me to attend a conference in Brisbane, Australia, where I presented the pedagogies and teaching methodologies that I use to teach Ugandan dance in formal education. I spoke, but also learned and interacted with other scholars who challenged my assumptions, interrogated my philosophies and questioned my theories. The University also offered me a teaching opportunity, which is a way to share my dance heritage, skills and knowledge of Ugandan cultures, which has advanced my pedagogic practices.

"I am now a board member of the Postgraduate Student Association, which arranges events for students outside of the University to engage with other experiences – doctorate study can sometimes seclude you! The people I meet and support I receive at all levels of the University have made me comfortable to call New Zealand my second home.

"My plan is return to Uganda and fully engage in research and scholarship. I will be the first Ugandan with a PhD in Dance Studies, I don’t know of anyone from my country who has pursued dance at this level. Therefore I have the responsibility to provide leadership by mentoring other scholars, researchers and educators in the field of dance. Research and scholarship in our dances is inadequate, and we have a wealth of knowledge existing in different communities. I look forward to collaborating with academic and practitioners I have met here on research, education and practice-based projects in East Africa – dance can narrow the distance between NZ and East Africa.”

Mabingo is currently working towards his PhD in Dance Studies, and teaching East African Dance to undergraduate students.  


Sachiko Soro

After graduating from the University of Auckland, Sachiko went home to Fiji and worked for a year at the Oceania Centre at the University of the South Pacific, where she organised Fiji's first dance festival. In 2007 founded VOU ("new" in Fijian), a powerful and vibrant Pacific dance experience rich in ancient stories, tradition and culture.

 Sachiko has performed, composed and choreographed major works in New Zealand, Australia, Samoa, Singapore, Malaysia, India and Indonesia. She is also the president of the Fiji chapter of the World Dance Alliance.