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NZDC News

COVID-19 UPDATE


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.

Tues 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.

Weds 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.

Tues 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.

Mon 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.

-ENDS-

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 NEW ZEALAND DANCE COMPANY APPLAUDS AUCKLAND ARTS FESTIVAL’S ARTISTIC DIRECTOR APPOINTMENT


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
Producer

[email protected]

+64 21 089 41036