The New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing

Teacher Training Seminar - Christchurch - 17th Feb 2014

The Canterbury Caledonian Society is conducting a teacher training seminar on  Sunday 2nd March in Christchurch

instruction is aimed to give our younger members guidelines and confidence to set up their own school of dance, all members are welcome. Students intending to sit their Grade 5 examination during May 2014 are also encouraged to attend this seminar. Attendees should bring any exam syllabus they possess for possible reference plus note taking materials

For further information please contact Colleen Cole:

See Downloads for copy of entry form

Highland Dance Company of NZ Germany trip - 10th Feb 2014

If you would like to view the performance of the Dance Company of NZ in Germany click on

Highland Dance Company of New Zealand Germany Trip - day 11 - 4th Feb 2014

Today we got back in to the swing of performing in the Musik parade. We had an amazing time in Berlin but we were eager to get back to the hustle and bustle of show biz.We left our hotel in Hoppengarten bright and early and headed for Leipzig. The team has embraced the long bus hauls by adapting the team’s favorite game ‘Mafia’ to the coach setting. After several rounds of ‘Mafia’ we arrived at the days arena. The team only needed short rehersals as there were newcomers performing in the show.
There was quite some downtime before we performed so the team took the chance to film some clips for the Germany video, stay tuned.
Tonight’s show was a sell out! The dance company was an instant hit receiving outrageous cheers and whistles.
At dinner the company re-enacted the cup scene from the movie Pitch Perfect, this attracted a lot of attention from the other country’s present at dinner. This was followed by the musical instruments game showing other teams that we know how to have fun.
Then came the finale section. The company had previously carried torches and then waved flags. Today we only carried torches but for the duration of the finale, our flag waving skills were passed up for those of ill qualified Polish cheerleaders. The rapid burning sticks led to distressed dancers as ash from the torches blew off and directly into our faces.
Although we arrived very late to our hotel for the night we are chuffed with the quality of it, it is the flashest yet.
We end the day looking forward to two performances tomorrow.
Leighton Terry and JaydenWithington

Highland Dance Company of New Zealand Germany Trip - day 10 - 3rd Feb 2014

We are well & truly back into the swing of the travelling Musikparade roadshow with a late night after last nights show in Leipzig as we traveled to today's venue, Magdeburg. There are some new acts in the show this weekend, so rehearsals are a bit slow-going as they fit into the production - thankfully we seem to fall into place pretty seamlessly at each change of venue. (The boys don't seem to mind helping the Polish cheerleaders learn the ropes!)

Today we haven't seen anything except for the inside of the Magdeburg arena as today was a 2-show day. With each venue we are astounded by the size of each stadium, the number of people who brave the winter snow to come and see us, & the slick moves of the production team. Given there are 400+ performers changing venues each day, it is a real feat for them to set up, pack down and get all the sound and light cues right every night! They certainly are the unseen stars of the show.

Our item is improving every night, we have now done 7 performances not counting the rehearsals each day. Julie and Robyn have been recording us each night which allows us to fix our spacing and lines and aim for that perfect run!
Sara and Kate

Highland Dance Company of NZ Germany trip - Day 12 - 2nd Feb 2014

FInal Blog :
Well, we are at Singapore half way home and reflecting on an amazing Germany experience for the Dance Company. Our two weeks seem to have flown by as we packed in 8 performances in 7 different cities in huge and impressive arenas to an overall audience of over 25,000 people and between weekends managed to fit in 3 days of sightseeing (and, of course a spot of shopping) in Berlin..

We really did feel like a touring Company with packing up every morning to board our bus , arriving at the next arena in time for a rehearsal and re-spacing at the venue before enjoying a dining hall meal with the other 400 performers prior to the show. After each show it would be pack up the costumes again (we had this down to a very slick system) and then back on the bus to travel to the next city , usually arriving around 1am which meant a normal bedtime of 2am by the time we sorted check-in and room allocation. As you can imagine it has been an exhausting schedule but everyone has coped incredibly well and still laughing and having fun by the last day.

Our last show was a Sunday afternoon performance in Oberhausen. We watched with pride as the dancers, the pipe band and Crystel delivered a final flawless performance. There was much photo taking with other groups as good byes were exchanged at the end before we left for our hotel in Bochum where we had a great evening full of hilarity as Jayden and Leighton presented the "Schnitzel Awards".

Niamh and Jayden said goodbye to the team at the end of the night..... With Niamh due to train to Brussells the next morning to stay with her many relatives abroad, and she will arrive back home in time for the university year late February. It was a sad goodbye to Jayden, as he officially announced his retirement from dancing as he embarks on a 2 year OE commencing in London. Jayden has been such a valuable team member, and has been in the dance company from its inception in 2011. We will all miss Jayden's bright happy personality, and we sincerely thank him for all his hard work, dedication and passion he has given to dancing in the company, and we wish him all the very best for his career in this next exciting chapter for him!

The invitation to Musikparade was initiated by Crystel Benton through her contacts with Andrea D'Erme who is an agent for performers in Europe. It has been a fun-filled experience having Crystel join us for the tour. She has been extremely helpful with her prior knowledge of Germany and the Musikparade and has kept the team entertained with her backstage antics as well as delivering stunningly beautiful renditions of Pokarekare Ana each performance which has added a special extra dimension to our item.

On leaving our hotel in Bochum at midday on the 3rd February ready for a 3 hour drive to Frankfurt Airport, the company and pipeband presented Andrea with a gift and all then performed a Waiata to him, which he was clearly moved by. Andrea was extremely complimentary of our whole group's performances during the tour, commenting on our professionalism, and very high dance and musical quality. He especially loved the creativity of our item telling "a story" linking our New Zealand culture and heritage to our forefathers from Scotland.

Working with Andrea and the Musikparade team has been a valuable promotional and networking opportunity for the Dance Company with introductions to several event promoters and agents which we are hopeful will open up further European opportunities for the Dance Company in the future.

Keep checking the website for the next few days as we add more photos to the gallery and we will also add a link to a video of a performance once we are home and able to upload.

A big thank you from the Company to our management team and Executive members for your support and assistance in preparation for this trip.

Julie and Robyn

Highland Dance Company of NZ Germany Trip - Day 9 - 1st Feb 2014

Today started out as per usual with an early start, buffet breakfast and a long bus trip dotted with games of Mafia, which escalated in both creativity and in madness. Our last day of sight-seeing was definitely a rewarding one. The picturesque city of Dresden was rebuilt from the ashes of World War II and is said to be the most beautiful of all of Germany's cities.

Dresden is just so different to the rest of Germany. It is picturesque and has the air of perfection. in the centre of town is the Frauenkirche, a Protestant church. Photos are not permitted inside the church but no photo could really capture the atmosphere that the beauty of the alter created. The colour scheme of mint green, pastel pink, blue and yellow were set off by the gold plated statues and lettering. those of us who caught the midday church service agree that the Lords Prayer is the first time we've heard German sound loving and soft. We attempted to sing the German hymn, managing to pronounce 99% of it wrong.. But our mistakes were drowned out by the beautiful organists music.

The rest of Dresden was also beautiful; the cobbled streets and stone bridges and archways could have come to life from any 14th century fairy story! We've all been wondering how anyone could hope to wear high heels on such roads!

While the more religious members of the team managed to catch a church service, the rest of us explored the city with cameras at the ready. Four of us even managed to find an ice skating rink where Sam and Sarah Gluyas strutted their stuff on the ice as Danielle and Lewis clung onto the rails for grim death - not our most co-ordinated of moments. Shirana and Jayden also managed to get in on the action with a series of slides next to the rink where they got some awesome footage for the video of this trip (spoiler alert!) Then, true to our nature, after a rather exhilarating experience we turned to the nearest shopping mall and shopped up quite a storm with the majority of the team finding a few christmas decorations for next year which were hand crafted in Dresden itself. Unfortunately we missed the Christmas market which is said to be spectacular, but a certain shop next to the Hilton Hotel was home a variety of handcrafted wooden and glass decorations which are sure to be a hit back home.

Another amazing day over, we once again piled back on the bus (many of us sleeping the entire way) and arrived back just in time for dinner. Having shopped up quite a storm, many of us then tried a variety of ways to creatively rearrange our suitcases while debating how many layers of clothing it is justifiable to wear at one time - I bet many of us are glad for the 30 kg baggage allowance on Singapore airlines! After packing our bags the best we could, we managed to catch an early night in preparation for the parade starting again tomorrow.

Gut Nacht
Niamh and Danni

Highland Dance Company of NZ Germany Trip - Day 7 - 31st Jan 2014

The Highland Dance company awoke to a delicious buffet breakfast that included the usual range as well as the added bonus of hot chocolates. With full tummies and our minds set for today's activities, we ventured out into the bitter cold of Berlin only to find that we just missed our bus. Fortunately for the team the buses ran every 20mins so we were soon back on track. From here we caught a train to meet our tour guides for the Concentration Camp Tour. To our disappointment we missed the Hogwarts express of 9 3/4 but settled for the double decker train on platform 8.

Three trains and two buses later, we arrived at Sachsenhausen Concentration Camp. Our exceptional tour guides explained to us the history behind this camp and incites into how horrifying life at the camp was. Sachsenhausen was set up for mainly political prisoners however was soon used to house Jews and many others. After the WW2 it was also used by the Soviets. It is said that over 200000 men were imprisoned here under the nazi regime.

For us, this experience/ visit can be summed up by one word; Chilling.

Firstly, just walking and being in such a place as this really shakes you to the core. It really contextualises what we have read about in books. actually seeing their conditions and facilities was very shocking.

Secondly, we were exposed to the real cold of Berlin for the first time. With a tempeture of about -5 and a freezing wind, we were struggling to stay warm. For many of us it was the first time we had been in such freezing conditions. On reflection we were also ill prepared and it was decided more layers and better shoes would be needed to endure the weather here in Berlin.
However we found that the cold conditions helped us to grasp one aspect of how horrid it would have been for the men here.

Upon returning to Berlin we headed straight to the mall for some much needed retail therapy to lift our sprits and escape from the cold. Show and tell later, confirmed that many purchases were made. Coats, scarfs and Zara featured heavily.

After eating dinner in the food court, we started our trek home. The first hiccup on the way was when our train stopped at a station for an uncharacteristically long time. We obviously sat in our carriage which had been disconnected as only the front half of the train was continuing on. thankfully we were informed in time. The next issue we faced is that it turns out the the map with the walking route from the station back to hotel lead through a park with was covered in snow as well as the astrics marking the hotel was no where near where the hotel actually is located. in short, we got lost. having walked down a dead end to a rest home, waving down a car for directions and calling the reception twice, finally a hour and a half later we found our way home to the hotel. I have never been more thankful for heating.

Sarah and Nicole

Highland Dance Company of NZ Germany Trip - Day 8 - 31st Jan 2014

Checkpoint Charlie Bike tour and Beer hall day

Today we saw Beyoncé and my life is complete.

Just kidding. But we did see Ban-Ki Moon (the UN Secretary General for those of you who have never heard of the name (probably most of you)) walking into the Aldon Hotel, the famous one out of which Michael Jackson dangled his baby.

This was seen amongst many other famous Berlin sights during the bike tour that most of the now-footless-from-frostbite dancers took with Fat Tyre Bike Tours, or a bus tour that the Mums, the Directors, and Sarah G and Shirana took to try to survive the cold, but to no avail.

With a high of -7 degrees, it was almost impossible to keep even a finger warm, but we enthusiastically mounted our bikes and took off to see one of the most amazing cities in Europe. We soon learned that even though the buildings looked as old as Sara, these were only rebuilt versions of the originals after around 80% of the city was bombed in the War. Checkpoint Charlie, parts of the Berlin Wall still standing, the Imperial Palace, Hitler's Bunker, the Jewish Memorial, Brandenburg Gate, the Reichstag Building, Museum Island and the site of the Nazi book burning were some of the things that impressed us, along with our tour guide's great knowledge of the city's history.

It seemed that we had had enough of old things by mid afternoon, and needed some new things so we headed to KaDeWe, the biggest mall in Europe housing some of the best brands, including the only Topshop and Topman in Germany. Even though we only had an hour there we managed to help out the German retail economy a little and thaw our frozen noses and fingers.

For dinner we met up with the band and went to a traditional German beer hall named HofBraü Haus to have some local delicacies such as pork knuckle and a stein.

Now that we knew how far the hotel was from the train station we were not keen to have to walk home again, so taxis were ordered and everyone was soon in bed in anticipation for what else Germany would bring us.

Lewis Gibson

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