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Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts (Contemporary Dance)

Learn to choreograph and perform at a professional level by becoming part of the largest full-time contemporary dance programme in New Zealand. Participate in a diverse array of performances, ranging from solo and group work to commissioned works by guest choreographers.

360 (3.0 EFTS)
Mt Albert
Start dates
Full-time for three years

Programme overview

Please note: Unitec has paused the 2022 intake for the first-year Level 5 Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts (Contemporary Dance) students and won’t be accepting applications for 2022. If you've already applied for this programme, we'll contact you about suitable alternatives. Level 6 and 7 (Years 2 and 3) Dance cohorts will continue with a combination of on-campus and off-site delivery in 2022. Click here for more information

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.


  • 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.


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 also 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.


Around 100 people apply each year for the 30 places offered in Year One. All auditions will be held over Labour Weekend (late October). 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.

Find out more about upcoming auditions and interviews

Upcoming Events

In School of Creative Industries we have a wide range of shows and events, discover more from: 

What's On 

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, please click on the course names below. Please note that our systems are updating with new course timetable information for 2022; please check back again soon.