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Programme overview

The Contemporary Dance major is the most established, full-time contemporary dance programme in New Zealand, and continues to develop a community of dance artists who contribute innovative choreography and performance excellence to the industry. Unitec's dance graduates are seen in all major productions throughout New Zealand.

With a comprehensive programme covering technique, choreography, dance studies and digital dance, you'll gain the knowledge, tools and abilities to pursue the range of opportunities available to you as a contemporary dance artist.

Highlights

  • A rewarding and challenging experience that introduces you to an exciting and varied professional career in dance. Whether you create your own live work or dance on stage or screen, you'll be joining an artistic community that includes many of our graduates.
  • A focus on live performance, including opportunities to both dance and choreograph. Daily studio practice under the guidance of experienced national and international industry practitioners.
  • A close relationship with the dance industry and community.
  • A chance to collaborate with other performing arts students; you'll share classes with actors, directors, writers, production design management and film and television students.

Technique and choreography for stage and screen

With the emphasis on practicality, you'll spend up to six hours a day in the studio, developing your craft in a range of dance techniques including contemporary, ballet, muscle and bone, pilates, yoga, choreography, partnering work and improvisation. You'll also develop skills in dance and multimedia through creating and performing in dance for film.

Performance

Live performance will be an integral part of your studies where you'll get to explore your technique and choreographic craft as an emerging practitioner. Taught by leading contemporary dance artists and choreographers, you'll develop numerous dance projects of your own. You'll choreograph and perform in dance works for theatre, events, festivals and film as well as gaining a hands-on understanding of funding and promotion activities. Technology plays a key role in our learning environment. You'll gain practical experience in sound and music design, video editing, costume, lighting, props and scenery.

Dance studies and critical practices

Throughout your studies, you'll develop an understanding of dance histories and associated theories in our unique culture of critical studies. Alongside your future industry peers, you'll explore in-depth theoretical and critical thought, integrating theory and professional practice in an exciting cross-discipline environment.

Auditions

Around 100 people apply each year for the 30 places offered in Year One. All auditions will be held over Labour Weekend. You'll be given clear information at the time of your application about how to prepare. From this workshop, the final selection of trainee dancers is made for the following year. 

For more information visit see Auditions and interviews.

Please note: If you're not sure that you're ready to audition for this highly competitive programme yet please look at the Certificate in Communication and Media Arts.

Admission requirements

For this programme, you will need the following:

1. 42 credits at NCEA Level 3 or higher including:

  • 14 credits in two different approved subjects; and
  • 14 credits from up to two subjects (approved or non-approved)

2. 8 credits at NCEA Level 2 or higher in English or Te Reo Maori (4 in reading, 4 in writing)
3. 14 credits in NCEA Level 1 or higher in Mathematics or Pangarau
4. Interviews, submissions and/or auditions will be required – we'll notify you of what is required
5. Complete a medical declaration form
6. Candidates who have English as a second language are required to have one or more of the following:

  • Have achieved NCEA Level 3 and New Zealand University entrance
  • Be able to provide evidence you satisfy our criteria for existing English proficiency
  • Have achieved at least one English proficiency outcome in the last two years

Don’t have NCEA? We also accept:

  • A relevant qualification at Level 3 on the NZQF or above or an equivalent qualification; or
  • Provide sufficient evidence to be eligible for special or discretionary admission.

For more information download the programme regulations:

Programme Regulations

Courses and timetables

For more details on the courses including timetables, please click on the course names below.

CoursesCreditsAim
Dance Practice 1A (PASA5221) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable the student to understand the relationship between fundamental theoretical concerns and choreographic and performance practice. This course focuses on collaboration and establishing the fundamental habits and methodologies appropriate for contemporary dance choreography and performance.
Dance Practice 1B (PASA5224) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS)To enable the student to understand complex and multilayered aspects of the choreographic process and performance environment. This course focuses on establishing fundamental habits and methodologies appropriate to contemporary dance choreography and performance.
Contemporary Dance Techniques 1A (PASA5225) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To introduce students to the fundamental theories, concepts and techniques of contemporary dance practice. The course focuses on building capability for dancers in a range of dance techniques and to build habits and attitudes required for the profession.
Contemporary Dance Techniques 1B (PASA5228) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to apply the fundamental theories, concepts and techniques of contemporary dance practice. The course focuses on continuing to build capability for dancers in a range of dance techniques and to build habits and attitudes required for the profession.
Storytelling, Myth & Ritual (PASA5901) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to develop a broad understanding of the major concepts of storytelling in terms of mythic constructs, rituals and symbols in an interactive multi-disciplinary learning environment. This course provides a foundation for the development of specialist Performing and Screen Arts literacies such as reading media texts and interpreting creative ideas among students from all disciplines of the programme. There is also a focus on the whakapapa of storytelling in Aotearoa placed within a noho marae learning environment.
Professional Development 1 (PASA5902) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To introduce students to the basic professional practices associated with the performing and screen arts industries and their own professional development. This course focuses on building capability for students in self-management, communication and presentation, as well as academic literacies such as text analysis and academic writing.
History of Dance (PASA5921) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to examine, reflect and discuss the historical development of dance languages and theories in order to situate themselves in a wider dance context. This course focuses on placing selected movements and developments of production and performance in the context of the student’s specialist discipline. There is a focus on experiencing professional art making in the community through field trips and site visits.
CoursesCreditsAim
Dance Practice 2A (PASA6221) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to gain a specific understanding and the confidence to experiment within the various strands of the choreographic/performance spectrum. This course focuses on enabling the student to gain an understanding of the whakapapa of New Zealand contemporary dance.
Dance Practice 2B (PASA6222) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS)To enable the student to integrate complex and multilayered aspects of the choreographic process and performance environment. This course focuses on consolidating fundamental habits and methodologies appropriate to contemporary dance choreography and performance. Students will also continue to gain an understanding of the whakapapa of New Zealand contemporary dance.
Contemporary Dance Techniques 2A (PASA6225) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to integrate somatic practice and intermediate theories, concepts and techniques as foundation of contemporary dance practice. The course focuses on the further development of specialist skills and the evolution of a personal methodology that will give expression to individual creative development and practice.
Contemporary Dance Techniques 2B (PASA6226) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to integrate intermediate somatic practice and dance techniques as foundation of contemporary dance practice. The course focuses on the further development of specialist skills and the application of individual creative development and practice.
Audience, Context & Interpretation (PASA6901) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to examine the ways in which the creator/performer communicates with their audience in an interactive multi-disciplinary learning environment which includes an artist hui at Te Noho Kotahitanga marae. This course focuses on understanding through the analysis of the modes of address and conventions of representation and interpretation commonly associated with performing and screen arts culture.
Professional Development 2 (PASA6902) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to utilise a range of concepts that will enhance their ability to operate independently as professionals in the creative industries. The course includes a focus on establishing a personal approach for each student to professional practices within a bi-cultural context.
CoursesCreditsAim
Dance Practice 3A (PASA7223) 30 credits (0.25 EFTS)To enable students to confidently and critically participate in a variety of creative processes, choreographic collaborations and teaching scenarios; while developing the students’ ability to apply critical judgement to creative decisions. This course employs a noho marae to allow students to evaluate and develop responses to cultural/political perspectives as an emergent creative arts practitioner.
Dance Practice 3B (PASA7224) 45 credits (0.375 EFTS)To enable students to gain the confidence to create, critically examine and realise a personal practice, specific choreographic projects and dance performance. This course focuses on enabling students to demonstrate how these concepts contribute to their personal voice as a creative artist/practitioner.
Contemporary Dance Techniques 3 (PASA7225) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to articulate a personal methodology for technique and training while consolidating a body of advanced theories, concepts and techniques relating to contemporary dance practice.
Professional Development 3 (PASA7902) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to transition into the industry by acquiring advanced professional development skills. This course focuses on setting personal and professional goals for academic and professional achievement as well as the business and management practices associated with the performing and screen arts profession.
CoursesCreditsAim
Skills in Screen Directing 2A (PASA6253) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To introduce students to specialised theories, concepts and techniques for directing. This course focuses on enabling students to practically engage with skills in directing for screen media.
Skills in Screen Directing 2B (PASA6254) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to extend specific skills, knowledge and practices for screen directing needed to achieve standards that enhance creative decisions.
Negotiated Creative Project 1 (PASA6605) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to engage practically in a theatre and/or screen production project in a negotiated role using a variety of individual and collaborative approaches. This course provides a practical environment for students to engage in collaborative creative projects from their own specialist perspective.
Entertainment Lab for the Very Small Screen (PASA6911) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To develop a theoretical and practical understanding of evolving digital content platforms, in order to reconceive processes for entertainment content creation and delivery into an evolving future.This course focuses on giving a hands-on experience to participants in workshop and classroom exercises
CoursesCreditsAim
Writing the Short Film (PASA7257) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To acquire the theoretical, creative and technical skills required to develop short scripts for the screen (or associated medium).
Documentary Filmmaking (PASA7392) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To interact effectively and professionally in creative partnership with creative production staff and production crews to realise production of original/selected documentary material. This course focuses on giving a hands-on experience to participants in workshop and classroom exercises.
Theatre Design Management Fundamentals (PASA7737) 15 credits (0.125 EFTS)To enable students to understand, explore and demonstrate skills and techniques relating to the design and management of of a Live performance production.

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Disclaimer

The 'Key Information for Students' below does not reflect any international student information.

Please take this information as a guideline only. For example, you will often see a difference between these tuition fees and our estimate above. This is because there are a number of variables, such as the specific courses chosen within a programme.

The national graduate outcomes information is for all tertiary New Zealand providers including Unitec. This information is provided by the New Zealand Government and is derived from a national database that links educational and income information.

The statistical results below are a summary for:

Key Information for Students

Entry requirements

Minimum requirements: Applicants may be admitted to the programme under general, special or discretionary admission. Applicants must also meet English language requirements. Interviews, submissions and/or auditions will be required for all applicants.

Detailed requirements: See the above "Admission requirements" section for more information about entry to this progrogramme.

Duration

3 Years

Tuition Fees

Annual

Total Qualification

Student fees:  $9,679$29,038
Government tuition subsidy: $9,094$27,281
Total:$18,773$56,319

Compulsory Student Services Fee
Student loan information available at StudyLink.

National graduate outcomes

(3 years after completion)
Median earnings$33,776
Earnings range$20,351 - $48,000
In employment68%
In further study23%
On a benefit3%

Note:All KIS information is the most recent available relating to domestic students only. Click here for more information about the Key Information for Students.