Night Light COVID-19 Update

Regrettably, due to the current COVID-19 situation in Aotearoa, The New Zealand Dance Company (NZDC) has arrived at the heartbreaking decision of having to cancel the spring national tour of Night Light in 2021.

Originally set to premiere in Auckland, Whangarei and Christchurch last year, Night Light was just days out from its Auckland premiere when the August 2020 COVID-19 lockdown forced cancellation of the sold-out Tāmaki Makaurau season.

The Company are devastated that the recent outbreak of the Delta variant has necessitated a second cancellation of the full national tour but remain committed to presenting the works as soon as possible.

Information for ticketholders:

Ticketholders who purchased from ASB Waterfront Theatre
We are working on rescheduling the Auckland season of Night Light to a later date. ASB Waterfront Theatre will be in contact by email in the coming days with your ticket options.

At this moment you do not need to do anything. As you can imagine the box office at ASB Waterfront is fielding a large number of requests and they greatly appreciate your patience.

Ticketholders who purchased from Ticketmaster
Ticketholders are advised to hold on to their tickets and will be contacted over the coming days.

Online tickets will automatically be refunded. For any tickets purchased in person and once COVID-19 alert levels allow, ticketholders are advised to return to the point of sale to receive their full refund. Eventfinda will be in contact with ticketholders to advise them of the refund when processed for online orders.

All purchased tickets will receive a full refund. Tickets purchased online by credit or debit card (including Afterpay) will be refunded in full (including ticket insurance premium, if relevant). Patrons should allow up to 30 working days for the refund to appear in their account. There is no need to contact Ticketek.

If your credit or debit card has been permanently closed/cancelled or the card has expired, please contact Ticketmaster in order to process your refund.

Patrons who purchased tickets at an agency will receive a full refund to a bank account, upon the provision of bank account details once COVID-19 alert levels allow.


Monday 15 February at noon

Auckland has now moved to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 as of 11.59 pm on Sunday 14 February. Effective immediately all NZDC classes are cancelled and Wellesley Studios, where we are resident company, will be closed. Our Feisty Feet classes held at St. Peter's Anglican Church in Takapuna and Subud hall in Pt Chevalier will be cancelled for Weds. 17 February. Stay safe and kia kaha to all our NZDC whānau.


Monday 14 September at 9:30am

Unfortunately, and after much discussion and consideration, we’ve arrived at the position of having to cancel the Night Light season for 2020. This has been a heartbreaking decision to make, but with the rescheduling difficulties and the continued uncertainty around COVID-19 restrictions, postponing the season to another date this year has not been possible. If you purchased your tickets online you will be refunded automatically and anyone else will be contacted by the ASB Waterfront Theatre ticketing team as soon as possible. This is a huge disappointment for everyone, but please know we have every intention of remounting and premiering this incredible programme in 2021. As always, kia kaha arohanui – stay safe and stay healthy.

Monday 7 September at 12:00pm

With Auckland remaining at Level 2.5, only virtual classes will be running for w/c 7 September. These classes are a great way to stay active while keeping our dance community safe.

Virtual Movement Practice with Bella Wilson // Tuesday 1-2pm on Zoom // $10 // A recording of this class is available for up to 48 hours.

Virtual Feisty Feet for Seniors with Carlene Newall de Jesus // Due to the remaining closure of St Peters Anglican church, our Feisty Feet Takapuna class will be held through zoom // Wednesday 10-11am // $10

Tuesday 1 September at 1:30pm

Auckland is in Level 2.5 and classes at NZDC will be a hybrid of virtual and in-person for w/c 31 August. Our tutors will be facilitating physical distancing throughout the classes & there will be QR codes around the building for you to sign in. We recommend masks as well for in-person classes. See below for this week’s class line up.

Virtual Movement Practice with Bella Wilson // Tuesday 1-2pm on Zoom // $10

Virtual Feisty Feet for Seniors with Carlene Newall de Jesus // Due to the remaining closure of St Peters Anglican church, our Feisty Feet Takapuna class will be held through zoom // Wednesday 10-11am // $10

Feisty Feet for Seniors – Pt Chev // Wednesdays, 11am-12pm, at Subud Hall, Pt Chev // $10, pay in person before class with cash, drop-ins welcome

Int/Adv Contemporary Class with Bella Wilson // Wednesday, 6:30-8pm, at Wellesley Studios // $12, pay in person before class with cash or eftpos

Monday 17 August at 11:00pm

While Auckland is at Level 3 and Aotearoa is at Level 2 until Wednesday 26 August, NZDC returns with Virtual Classes for $10 a class alongside a recording sent to all participants with 48 hour access.

Tuesday 11 August at 11:45pm

Auckland is moving to COVID-19 Alert Level 3 from noon on Wednesday 12 August until midnight on Friday 14 August. Unfortunately, this means that our two performances of Night Light at ASB Waterfront Theatre will not be going ahead on Thursday 13 and Friday 14 August. Please bear with us and hold onto your tickets as we work to reschedule the shows to a later date. We will be in contact as soon as we can with more information.

We will be cancelling our Int/Adv contemporary class with Lucy Lynch scheduled for Wednesday 12 August from 6:30-8pm at Wellesley Studios as well as our Feisty Feet classes in Takapuna and Pt. Chev also scheduled for Wednesday 12 August.

In the meantime, stay safe, stay healthy, and stay home. Thank you for your support and hope to see you in the theatre very soon.


Friday 29 May at 3pm

The Board of the New Zealand Dance Advancement Trust today announced the appointment of former Nederlands Dans Theater chief executive Janine Dijkmeijer as The New Zealand Dance Company’s (NZDC) Executive Director; and renowned dance artists and directors Victoria (Tor) Colombus and James O’Hara, as Co-Artistic Directors.

Board Chair Sharon van Gulik welcomed the new team saying the company was well placed for its next phase of development, building on the incredible artistic and organisational legacy of co-founder and former Chief Executive/Artistic Director, Shona McCullagh.

“The Trust was founded on the ambition of creating a full-time contemporary dance company for New Zealand by bringing together a high-calibre community of dancers, creative collaborators, arts managers and supporters dedicated to creating inspiring new dance. In appointing Janine, Tor and James, we believe we now have the talent to grow the artform of contemporary dance, and take the company into its next era”, van Gulik says.

Janine Dijkmeijer, currently living in the Netherlands as an advisor in the performing arts, says one of her missions in life is to be an advocate for the language of dance.

“I come from a family of researchers, innovators and doctors. I understand why I have come to be passionate about dance, because dance is deeply healing and always tells a true story. This language is nonviolent and global. Communicating through dance is playful and is never judgmental.

The New Zealand Dance Company is a jewel. I have known Shona through her films and it feels we are family. Shona’s wide vision of what is possible within dance and communication has always been close to me. I have seen the company perform in the Netherlands and always been impressed with the high quality of dancers. I’m very much looking forward to working with the new artistic directors and the team in New Zealand - the possibilities are unlimited”, she says.

Victoria (Tor) Colombus and James O’Hara who will co-lead the artistic vision and programme for the company, say they’re excited about the opportunity to nurture the NZDC into the next –together.

“We are honoured to be appointed as the new co-Artistic Directors of the New Zealand Dance Company and are delighted to be working alongside Janine Dijkmeijer. We are looking forward to collaborating with the incredibly talented team at NZDC and are very excited to extend our connections with the wider artistic community that we adore and are inspired by. The dancers and makers of New Zealand have a unique sensibility forged by the artistic climate and the specific culture of Aotearoa. Grounded in the values that makes Aotearoa so unique, NZDC will continue to grow as a place of kindness, friendship and listening.

We would like to thank Shona for creating a unique platform for dance to grow in Aotearoa, and we want to acknowledge and thank all those that have woven their artistry and life into the company so far. We will honour the traditions already created, and are determined to continue growing NZDC as a place of research, discovery, discussion and adventure”, they say.

The New Zealand Dance Company Co-Founder and now Artistic Director of the Auckland Arts Festival, Shona McCullagh welcomed the appointments.

McCullagh says, “I am thrilled with the calibre and integrity of the new leadership team, who I know will lead NZDC with surety into brilliant new territory. I have huge respect for Janine whom I have known for decades as one of the world’s great dance arts managers. James is a globally respected, inspirational dance wonder and the DNA of dance in Aotearoa runs deep in Tor’s veins as a beautiful dancer, teacher, mentor and choreographer. I know that as a team of world class dance experts they will hold the dancers’ wellbeing front and centre of the company, where it belongs”.

The new leadership will commence part-time from June, with both roles moving to full time in 2021.


Friday 15 May at 7pm

For seven weeks between April -May 2020 during lockdown Level 4 and Level 3 in Aotearoa, NZDC was proud to provide the opportunity for our community to keep moving with Ballet, Strength & Conditioning, Contemporary & Yoga classes. During that time we danced, worked out, and practiced with more than 1,500 people from across the world. Virtual classes are over for now except Feisty Feet. Thank you for joining us!

With New Zealand now at Level 2, we have returned to our home of Wellesley Studios in Auckland and are recalibrating as a Company back into shared space. We aim to have an update on what classes will look like in the future at the end of May/beginning of June. If you would like to offer any feedback about your virtual experience, please find our survey here. We look forward to seeing many of you in person and/or on the screen again soon!

Tuesday 14 April at 7pm

It has come to our attention that there have been fake events and pages created around our Virtual Classes on Facebook. These have been reported/blocked and will hopefully be taken down by Facebook soon, but we want to be sure that our community doesn't fall into the trap of spammers/internet trolls.

Please note that the ONLY legitimate event is NZDC Virtual Classes, which you are able to identify as real because it's hosted by the offical "The New Zealand Dance Company" page.

One fake event to ignore is called: "NZDC Virtual Classes 2020".

Five fake pages to ignore are called: "NZDC Virtual Classes Live Online" (two different pages with this name), "NZDC Virtual Classes", "NZDC Virtual Classes 2020" (two different pages with this name).

Additionally, you may see comments from random strangers pop up with links to live streams across posts and in our events - do NOT click the links in these posts. We are actively trying to spot, report and block these people as quickly as possible, but please be sure to ignore them completely.

Monday 30 March at 11pm

With all of Aotearoa quarantined at home for the next four weeks, NZDC wants to provide the opportunity for our community to keep moving with virtual weekly classes on Zoom including Ballet, Strength & Conditioning, and Yoga for Dancers as well as on Instagram Live with Contemporary.

We are opening these classes at no charge, but just like the rest of our fellow artists and arts organisations, NZDC's livelihood is centred on live experiences. At this time with the impact of COVID-19 closures on the Company, support means more than ever. We are asking attendees if they are able, to please consider a koha with class participation.

Tuesday 24 March at noon

NZ is moving to a COVID-19 Alert Level 4 at 11.59 pm on Wednesday 25 March. Effective immediately all NZDC classes are cancelled and Wellesley Studios, where we are resident company, will be closed. We hope, like the rest of the country, to be back in operation in four weeks and will keep you updated. Wishing all of our NZDC whānau near and far good health in the weeks to come.

Wednesday 18 March at 9pm

A message from our Board Chair and General Manager:

NZDC has confirmed that the STEPS Festival of Dance in Switzerland, where the Company was scheduled to perform next month, will not be able to take place due to COVID-19 closures. This is obviously a huge disappointment; however, we completely understand this position in the current COVID-19 environment.

Our priority is to look after our people – our employees and contractors – whom we have commitments to around this work. As a leadership organisation focused on our future development, our Board met today and confirmed that we will honour all of our contractual commitments to our people for the upcoming European Tour – whether employed or contracted. To that end our Team have been briefed to work through an alternative programme that keeps everyone employed and engaged – and importantly, creating great work that we can share with others at another time. We hope to shed light on those alternatives as soon as we can.

The impact that COVID-19 has had on the arts and entertainment industry since Monday alone is unprecedented. Our hearts ache for our friends and colleagues across the sector who are managing what feels like unending cancellations. However, as always, the arts prevail in the face of crisis and many groups as well as resources are springing up from our incredible community. Here are just a few links that may provide you solace and information during this confusing and rapidly changing time:

Arohanui and may we rise as a community to empower and lift one another in the uncertain times ahead.

Tuesday 17 March at 5:30pm

Our Feisty Feet classes held at St. Peter's Anglican Church in Takapuna will be cancelled for Weds. 18 March, Weds. 25 March and Weds 1 April. Our Feisty Feet classes held at Subud Hall in Pt. Chevalier will be cancelled for Weds. 25 March and Weds. 1 April. Our morning Company Class and Wednesday evening Contemporary Class will resume as normal for the foreseeable future.

Monday 16 March at 6pm

Kia ora NZDC whānau,

We take the health and welfare of our artistic community very seriously. We are working with Wellesley Studios, where we are the resident Company, on health and safety measures regarding this shared, public space. Weekly classes held at Wellesley Studios including morning Company Class and evening Contemporary Class will resume as normal for the foreseeable future. Our Feisty Feet classes held at St. Peter's Anglican Church in Takapuna and Subud Hall in Pt. Chevalier will also proceed per the usual, until further notice. We are monitoring the ever evolving situation closely and will continue to keep you updated with any changes to this decision.

If you are attending any of our classes at Wellesley Studios, please see their statement below:

We are aware of the rising public concern over COVID-19. Health and Safety is a top priority for us at Wellesley Studios and we will be implementing the following steps in addition to our current cleaning regime.

  • We are waiting on hand sanitiser supplies and as soon as these are delivered they will be placed in all Studios, Bathrooms and Reception areas (upstairs and downstairs).
  • Small bins will be going into all Studios from Tuesday March 17th, for any used tissues and emptied daily. These will be in addition to our current bins around the building

According to the Ministry of Health, with continued vigilance widespread community outbreak is currently low. As such, we would like to ask all visitors to Wellesley Studios to take steps to minimize the potential spread of the virus by following best protection practices:

  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and dry them thoroughly, especially after using the toilet, coughing and sneezing and before entering the Studios.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or the crook of your elbow when coughing or sneezing and put tissues straight into the rubbish bins provided.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with people with cold or flu-like illnesses.
  • Stay home while you are sick.
  • As of this week it is Government Policy that anyone who has returned from overseas is required to self-isolate for 14 days and therefore may not come to any classes.

We are closely following the advice put out but the Ministry of Health and here is the first place you should check for the latest updates. You can also free call the COVID-19 specific health line on 0800 358 5453 which is available 24/7. It is your responsibility to pass this message along to all your students and those involved in your rehearsals.

Please get in touch with us if you have any concerns or queries and we will make another announcement if there are any further updates.

Thank you to everyone in advance for your cooperation.
Wellesley Studios Management

"Qualities...found in professional dancers are transferable into many other occupations..."

Founding NZDC Chief Executive/Artistic Director

MEDIA RELEASE: 9 March 2020

The New Zealand Dance Company
Launches Dancer Career Development Initiative

In 2020, The New Zealand Dance Company (NZDC) has launched a new programme supporting resilience and wellbeing, specifically for dancers, that addresses career transition and planning for life after performing.

NZDC’s Dancer Development Programme sees the Company’s fulltime dancers scoping future pathways for employment through seminars and experiential learning in areas including producing, event management, marketing, funding, body conditioning and teaching.

The demands of a career as a professional dancer are enormous. Training can begin as early as pre-school and requires rigorous dedication, discipline and tenacity. Competition in the industry is fierce and for most dancers a performance career will likely end before the age of 40, or earlier if serious injury occurs. This leaves many more years of unclear working life ahead – a reality that causes unease and can deter even the most extraordinary dancer from pursuing their dreams in lieu of avoiding such uncertainity for the future.

There is no ‘cookie cutter’ model for the development of career tansition for these exceptional performing artists and despite no current funding schemes to support, develop and transition dancers into careers beyond performance, NZDC’s Founding Chief Executive and Artistic Director, Shona McCullagh, saw the implementation of measures and processes related to this initiative of vital importance.

McCullagh said, “Programmes to nurture, retrain and maximise the potential of the skills of artists are seen as key initiatives in many industries including sport, but that mindset has not yet been transferred to the arts in a formal way in Aotearoa.

Qualities such as an unwavering work ethic, superb critical thinking and creative problem solving found in professional dancers are transferable into many other occupations, making those who transition from careers as professional dancers highly valuable employment prospects. We wanted to illuminate the vast range of skills and attributes the dancers have, and assist in a professional development programme throughout each year.

Dancers are amongst the most vulnerable and hardest working of artists, and fully deserving and entitled to the support and protection from their employers. I urge the sector as individuals and collectively to lift the mental, physical and emotional conditions for these beautiful ‘athletes of God.’ ”

On the eve of her transition from the helm of NZDC to the role of Artistic Director for the Auckland Arts (2021 – 2024 programming), McCullagh wanted the implementation of NZDC’s Dancer Development Programme to be embedded into the Company she co-founded before her departure.

NZDC Dancer Katie Rudd added, “Being the best artist I can be includes contributing input into thematic and design elements of a show, and I am personally really looking forward to being exposed to new skills that can help broaden my understanding of the full process of creating dance work. Through the Dancer Development Programme I hope to increase my knowledge of the business side of dance, to improve my ability to one day work in a position that continues to steer amazing dance on stages throughout the world.”

NZDC is the only contemporary dance company in Aotearoa currently offering fulltime employment conditions for a core of four dancers – a number they are striving to grow. In a response to Creative New Zealand’s research that revealed that dancers are the lowest paid members of the creative sector, NZDC has also implemented the living wage as the lowest entry level salary within the Company.

The NZDC Dancer Development Programme will be tailored to the needs and interests of each dance artist in the company and be made up of teaching modules led by the Company’s management team with the programme commencing early this year.


Media Contact – de Launay Enterprises
Bridget de Launay –
[email protected]/ 021 630 622

"...there is much yet to flourish in a Company designed from the outset to support many individuals, rather than a single voice...”

Shona McCullagh, Founding AD/CE, NZDC

MEDIA RELEASE: 27 November 2019


The Board, team and dancers of The New Zealand Dance Company (NZDC) today extend their heartfelt congratulations to founder and CEO/AD Shona McCullagh, as she was announced as the new Artistic Director for the Auckland Arts Festival leading the programming of the 2021, 2022, 2023 and 2024 Festivals.

“Shona co-founded and led The New Zealand Dance Company from its inception almost ten years ago and in that time has built a legacy arts company that employs full time dancers, creates exquisite work of and for Aotearoa, and has hugely impacted the lives and professional standards of so many dancers, choreographers, designers and arts professionals”, says NZDC Board of Trustees Chair, Sharon van Gulik.

“The trajectory of NZDC’s growth and its reach locally, nationally and internationally is something we are all proud of and Shona leaves us in such good stead financially and artistically, as Resident Company in the world class Wellesley Studios. We will miss Shona hugely, but wish her all the very best in this important leadership role within the New Zealand arts community”, she said.

In announcing her leaving the whānau of The New Zealand Dance Company, NZ Arts Laureate McCullagh described her sadness as visceral.

“I co-founded this legacy arts organisation with Frances Turner and a group of wonderful collaborators in 2011. The kaupapa has always been providing the best possible professional conditions in which to support the creation of excellent work by and for diverse artists and audiences, in Aotearoa and the world,” says Ms McCullagh.

“NZDC is extremely proud to have contributed to the resilience of the dance sector by co-initiating the establishment of Wellesley Studios – now a world class dance house serving many, many local, national and international students and professional dancers. NZDC is a company of stunning dancers, technicians and arts managers, many of whom are supported by the Board’s commitment to full-time contracts that support their well-being and security. I know that the Company will remain committed to this vision with the support of founding and current Board Members.

“I am deeply grateful to my present and past whānau and arts tribe for the gifts and knowledge they have shared with me, and their support of my journey. I am not leaving these beautiful people because I want to, but because I know there is much yet to flourish in a Company designed from the outset to support many individuals, rather than a single voice. And I can’t wait to hear the new ones sing”, she said.

McCullagh will leave NZDC to take up her new role in March next year. The Board of Trustees will shortly confirm the right structure and roles to replace Shona in her work, and will begin recruitment for her roles in December.

Media enquiries to:

JP Bolton

[email protected]

+64 21 089 41036