Students' Dancing On Show

A Whangarei school with a reputation for having one of the best dance departments in New Zealand is preparing to stage its annual performance extravaganza.

A total of 240 girls will take part in Whangarei Girls' High School's dance concerts, with shows for primary schools held this week and four public shows next week.

The standard this year is exceptionally high, says the school's Head of Department for dance, Leone Neal.

"Our year 13s have been working exceptionally hard. They had to produce their own choreography from scratch, including costuming and lighting."

Their teacher Collette Arnold is an experienced performer and choreographer with a dance degree, and this year another teacher, Amber Weeks, spent a week working with the students on choreographing their dances. Ms Weeks previously taught at Auckland secondary schools but recently returned from dancing professionally in high-end resorts in Turkey, Ms Neal said.

"She taught the students 10 different, really high energy dances with a range of styles. They loved it!"

WGHS has the largest dance department in New Zealand and its students' NCEA results are consistently high. Every Year 9 student does dance for one term, Year 10 option is a half year course and at Year 11 - 13 it is a full year NCEA university approved course.

As well as developing their movement and performance skills, dance analysis techniques and choreography, the students' teamwork, communication and leadership are developed, Ms Neal said.

The senior students are assessed during the annual dance shows.

They are at Capitaine Bougainville Theatre, Forum North, on Monday and Tuesday, October 3 and 4, at 12.30pm and 7pm.

The Northern Advocate - 28 Sept 2011