The New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing

Conference Report 2015

This year, our New Zealand Academy members travelled to Wellington for our 65th Annual Conference held at the Brentwood Hotel in Wellington over the weekend 18th – 20th September 2015.

The Solo Seal Examination was held at the Te Whaea Theatre, Newtown and the audience was treated to dancing from five Solo Seal candidates. The Solo Seal being the Academy’s only examination that the public can attend and is the supreme award of our examination system. The candidates were Angus Hendry, Sarah Gluyas, Chantelle Shatford, Lewis Gibson and Harriet Lintern. Each candidate was accompanied by piper Mr Neil Baxter.

Mrs Marion Hitchcock was Compere for the evening and entertainment was provided by The Highland Dance Company of New Zealand who performed two new and entertaining items. Thank you to the Director, Assistant Director and to all Dance Company members for being so willing to perform for us.

A social time was had by many of the members back at the Hotel, during which time the Youth also had their own event.

The Youth members met bright and early on Saturday morning at a session facilitated by the Youth Representative Mr Leighton Terry. The Youth used this time to discuss matters they feel are relevant. A summary of the discussion was presented to all members during the Annual General Meeting.

The Annual General Meeting took place on Saturday morning with the officials being piped in by Kylie Allison-Miller and was officially opened by Paul Foster Bell List MP for Wellington Central. Several tributes were made from members in remembrance of our treasured Adrienne Haberfield which included a rendition of Adrienne’s “Finger Can-Can” performed by Executive Committee members. A lament was played by Neil Baxter.
The formal requirements of the Annual General meeting were covered including the tabling of reports on various activities.

Following the Annual General Meeting a discussion forum was held – this year the topics that were covered were:
• New Teacher Scholarship
• Kiltie Club
• Highland Dance Company of NZ Report
• Change in exam room entry protocols
• New Health and Safety Act
• Proposed Technical Training Programme

Following lunch the Dance Development course commenced with a special guest speaker, Sir Jon Trimer KNZM MBE. This was a very enlightening talk from an amazing and charismatic man, who had some amazing stories to share of experiences within the New Zealand Ballet and also the overseas Company’s in which he danced.

Saturday finished with two Judges Workshops – one for beginner/new judges and one for senior judges. These were both run by members of the Technical Committee.

Saturday evening commenced with a mix ‘n mingle session leading into the photo session.
The formal part of the evening commenced with Members of The Highland Dance Company of New Zealand being introduced to the members. This was a chance for Academy members to put names to faces, meet the new members of the group and to acknowledge the contribution these dancers are making to the Academy.

The Diploma and Service Bars and a Service to the Academy Award were then presented.
This years Diploma recipients were:
Diploma: Teacher:
Joanne Beswick Kerren Withington & Karen Mortensen
Eden Bowen Fiona Cording
Lisa Claridge Christine Morris
Aleisha Cotton Christine Morris
Chelsea Ellis Julie Hawke
Grace Foster Sherilyn Hall
Jessica Miller Kerren Withington & Gaye Reid
Ashlee Mulcahy Marion Hitchcock
Alexandra Van Den Brink Raewyn Weggery
(Not at Conference)
Nina Babington Jayne Puanaki
Neala Bingham Julie Hawke
Conaugh Gibbs Sharon Williams
Grace Titter Sandra Glover

Honours in Theory:
Hannah Copeland Jolie Hazley
Alicia Craig Danitta Findlay
Brenna Curran Karen Mortensen
Ashleigh Du Plessis Gail Dodson & Christine Morris
Rochelle Emmett Kerren Withington & Gaye Reid
Madison Fleming Pamela Fleming
Courtenay Henshaw Brian North
Stephanie Hoare Elizabeth Smith
Madison Horman Sherilyn Hall
Ashleigh Isaacson Kerren Withington & Gaye Reid
Latisha Kerslake Jayne Puanaki
Eveline Levett Sandra Glover
Dayna Murrell Gaye Reid
Sophie Sangster Sandra Glover
Elizabeth Stuart Johanna Lees
Jessie Williams-Emmett Kerren Withington & Gaye Reid

Honours in Performance & Theory:
Brittany Carlton Anne Payne & Pamela Fleming
Nicole Harvey Kerren Withington & Sherilyn Hall
Isabelle Merwood Kerren Withington

Congratulations to all the above Diploma recipients and their teachers for this achievement.
Serena Sangster Teacher: Lynette Mitchell

Congratulations to Serena for achieving the Solo Seal Examination. Serena is the 22nd recipient to be awarded Solo Seal and we were delighted to acknowledge her success.

This year’s Bar Recipients were:
20 year Bar:
Vanessa Swift Wellington
Shiobhan Smiith Dunedin
Raynor Redman Wellington (not at conference)

30 year Bar:
Helene Karton Tauranga
Lynda Duncan Lumsden (not at conference)
Marie Petersen Te Puke (not at conference)
Sandra Glover Garston
Celia Reid Christchurch (not at conference)

40 year Bar:
Gail Dodson Blenheim
Robyn Simmons Blenheim
Marion Hitchcock Waikane
Pamela Fleming Auckland
Gaye Reid Hastings
Karen Mortensen Havelock North
Cathy Harman Nelson

60 Year Bar:
Margaret Brougham Hastings

Our Academy President Mrs Annetta Cowie gave a presentation, followed by an insight of Mrs Brougham’s dancing life history by Mrs Jill McIntosh.

Congratulations to all of the above members who received their service bars.

A special presentation was given to Mrs Susan Edwards who has decided to retire from the Technical Committee. Susan became a member of Technical in 1999 and always undertook this role with a sense of dignity. Our best wishes for a well-deserved retirement and we thank Susan for her dedication.

The Traditional Cutting of the Academy Cake then took place – this year it was undertaken by three generations of a Wellington family – Catherine and Kirsten McCutcheon and Mrs Aileen Stead.

The evening continued with Dinner and social time for Members with the dance floor full of members showing their “moves”.

The Dance Development Course continued on Sunday morning with the extremely popular Quiz.
This was a most enjoyable session and lots of fun and allowed members of all age groups to integrate.

This was followed by the practical workshops –prepared and presented by our Technical Committee members. This year’s workshops all had a theme of Music and Rhythm.
Workshops were:

Music Box Dancer (presented by Jackie Jones).
This workshop was first presented in 2014 and was back by popular demand. It demonstrated how to engage both the young child and the teacher to explore new movement and dance experiences.

Highland X Factor (presented by Julie Hawke and Robyn Simmons).
A focus on developing musicality to portray the passion and an extra dimension to the performance.

Hop to It – Dancing on the Beat (presented by Elizabeth Smith and Pam Fleming)
A practical workshop on how to apply the varying dynamics of elevation to ensure you dance to the pipers perfect beat.

Step ‘n Rhythm (presented by Susan Edwards and Adele Swanson)
This session explored the rhythms as applied to movements/steps relating to our Irish and Sailors Hornpipe Step Dances.

Appreciate, Apply and Interpret (presented by Cushla Piesse and Sue Gill)
This workshop looked at how the musical appreciation exercises in examination grades are applied to movements, steps and dances.

At the conclusion of the above workshops all members came together and Adele Swanson introduced The Irish Steps Book which is a collation of Irish Steps that have been presented at Dance Development Courses from 1965 to 2014. A selection of these were demonstrated by Kylie Allison-Miller.

The Technical Committee then presented a session on Piping and Dancing Tempos. Kylie Alison-Miller and Neil Baxter provided their piping skills for this session.

An introduction of the proposed 10/14 Assessment was made to the members by Robyn Simmons and Jackie Jones.

Next was a ‘Fun Corners’ Practical session where Members were put into four groups and Technical Committee moved around each group doing 15 minutes sessions on different dances from the Medal Test exams to show all the different rhythms that they contain.

The Dance Development course concluded with Body Percussion which was a fun session taken by Sara Bishell and members of the Dance Company teaching all Members their Body Percussion segment of one of their new items.

Congratulations to Mrs Sherilyn Hall and her team - many hours of work goes into the preparation of these workshops and the attention to detail was evident and presented in a very professional manner.

A huge thank you to the Wellington members for hosting such a wonderful weekend. The hospitality was excellent and having the conference at the one venue made it accessible for all new and old members to mix and rekindle friendships.

We look forward to our 2016 Annual Conference in Dunedin.

June Wright
Member of NZAHND Executive Council

The New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing Inc., PO Box 5470, Palmerston North
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