Unitec hosts Beijing Dance Academy

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Beijing dance students coming to NZ to study at Unitec.

Unitec Creative Industries today welcomed a delegation from the Beijing Dance Academy who are on a three-day visit to inspect the Performing and Screen Arts facilities ahead of the arrival of eleven Chinese students who will be studying at Unitec for 18 months from July. The visit will also finalise plans for the next cohort of BDA students to arrive in 2019 and provide an opportunity to discuss further collaborations with Unitec.

The BDA delegation - Yunfeng Zhang (Assistant Dean of Creative Dance Department), Zhen Wu (Lecturer of Media & Screen Arts) and Zhibo Zhao (Conjoint degree class tutor) - were given a traditional Maori whakatau by Year 2 and 3 contemporary dance students this morning at the Dance Studios. Head of Practice Pathway of Creative Industries, Dr Vanessa Byrnes formally welcomed them, saying their visit solidified the strong ties that have existed between Unitec and BDA since the mid-2000s. The pending arrival of the BDA students signified a "birth" in this relationship and that the BDA students would be nurtured as a parent raises a child. "Unitec is now your home," said Dr Byrnes.

Under the MOU, BDA students would do the first two years of their degree at the BDA, then 18 months in New Zealand at Unitec before returning to China for further six months of study before completing a double degree in performing arts. The ground work for the students arrival was laid out over the last couple of years through staff visits by both institutions.

The Beijing Dance Academy is the most prestigious dance school in China with a roll of over 2,000 students. Notable alumni are Chi Cao (Mao's Last Dancer), Li Cunxin and Hollywood actress Zhang Ziyi (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, Rush Hour) Unitec is one of the leading contemporary dance programmes in Australasia renowned for producing high calibre graduates excelling in choreography and creativity.