The New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing

Highland Dance Company of NZ Germany Trip - day 5 - 27th Jan 2014

Today was the last performance of the first leg of our tour. We were back in Russelsheim last night to stay at the same hotel as the first night, this meant the return of the all you can eat buffet for breakfast which we were happy about. However the rookie mistake of sitting next to Kate Wills - who dictates who writes the blog - consigned the dynamic duo of Sam and Angus to recording the teams activities for the day.

Our performance was in Frankfurt at the Festhalle Arena. This was only a short drive from the hotel so the company was afforded a bit of a sleep in which was much appreciated. We had the first rehearsal slot so were able to get that out of the way after the laser show had finished being set up.

Many members of the Company had hoped to get some shopping in at a nearby mall between the rehearsal and the show. However, unfortunately most shops are closed on a Sunday in Germany so we had to settle for coffee instead. The coffee drinkers in the company have found it frustrating not being able to get a decent flat white.

After this we were back to the arena for lunch and to prepare for the afternoon show. In the build up to the show the company engaged in some team building via the card game mafia. We have since learned that Kate does not only like games, but will ruthlessly crush anyone who stands between her and victory.

After a strong performance by the team we all stood to take our bow and receive the adoring crowds applause. All of us that is, except for Sarah Gluyas, who decided she urgently needed to be somewhere and left the rest of the team behind on stage.

On the way back to the hotel we were dropped off by the bus driver Stephan at a Chinese buffet for dinner, which was greatly enjoyed by the team. We now all retire to bed, excited for a few days off in Berlin. Stand by for cliched tourist stories about our adventures in the German capital.
Sam and Angus

Highland Dance Company of NZ Germany trip - day 3 - 26th Jan 2014

Highland Dance Company of NZ Germany trip - day 3 Day three bring on the drama.
After a night full of spooning due to an administration error at the hotel, the day started with some bad news. There was no buffet for breakfast. The bad news just kept getting worse when Shirana’s sprained ankle X-ray showed fractured bone. She showed a lot of strength getting through a performance on a broken foot last night, such a trooper! The team rehearsed in the morning and had some free time to walk to the Cologne Dom (An extremely large cathedral that survived World War Two bombings) and the home to the bones of the three Magi (the three wise men). Fun fact for the day, the Cathedral is as old as Sara Simmons. Running back to be on time for the finale rehearsal, the team stopped by at a bakery to taste the amazing treats Germany has to offer. The team loves the Chococroissants! After tonight’s performance, described as breathtaking, the team analyzed the ipad recording to see who had the biggest parallels. It was a very close call between Leighton and Jayden. Andrea the co-ordinator (or scarfman) was very complimentary of the dance company going so far to say he was proud of us and this was the best Muiskparade in 10 years. Tomorrow we have a well-deserved sleep in and then travel to Wetzler for another performance. Julie has enforced a “stretch before dinner” policy to ensure no further injuries, the boys might be going hungry. To finish tonight’sblog here is an interesting fact regarding one of our team members, Kate Wills doesn’t like games.
From the land of sausage and windmills,
Jayden and Leighton 

Highland Dance Company of NZ Germany trip - Day 4 - 26th Jan 2014

After we dodged a 6am start we joyfully waltzed into breakfast. We didn’t get to have a rehearsal so troopround up to board the bus wasn’t until 10am. It was a fairly routine bus ride until excitement struck about half an hour into the adventure when we discovered the road was surrounded by snow. Upon arrival we were ravished and excited to have the best lunch of the trip so far which consisted of mystery meat, veggies, basil pesto pasta, and a salad, as well as a selection of three yummy flavours of mousse. At 3pm the music began and the two Sarah’s and four of the boys stumbled their way onto the parade for the opening ceremony. The battle of the bands between Bulgaria and the Ukraine started while we waved each of the two countries flags according to who was playing. All was well until we let the surrendering flag fly too early- before they had “made peace”. After completing this mishap we sprinted round the back to meet the others for the main performance. We can happily say the third performance of the trip went well, minus Jayden and his centre stage whoopsie. After yesterday’s semi light-hearted threat of getting Shirana’s injection (for her foot) -in a place not appropriate to mention- if we did not warm down, we all decided it was a good idea to stretch. This session was run by the one-and-only, Leighton Terry who kindly expressed the importance of talking to our muscles. During the 2hour break in between our performance and the closing ceremony, we were all of a sudden treated to a ballroom lesson by the show host while waiting backstage.
The show finished with a bang, literally, and we were lucky enough to squeeze in a quick team photo with the backdrop before it was taken to the next arena. Now here we are at 9:45pm after an hour and a half bus ride back to the same hotel we stayed at on the first night. This time we are with our own beds and lucky enough to have our first early night. We look forward to our last performance before our 3 days off in Berlin. Right now we are enjoying a nightcap of Ben and Jerry’s cookie dough and Chocolate fudge brownie.
Shirana’s foot is still broken.  . But looking forward to hopefully getting a moonboot when we get to Berlin.
Shirana& Sarah G.

Highland Dance Company of NZ - Germany trip day 2 - 24th Jan 2014

After a somewhat restful sleep, Robyn and Julie quickly woke us up with an early morning rehearsal. Outside. With a European breakfast of bread, meats and cheese under our belts, we set off for lovely Koblenz for our rehearsal in the arena. After being shown to our changing rooms and watching a few items, it was our turn to tread the boards and space our steps. With a few "subtly" noted mistakes (we jest) we were hurried off the arena floor to a much anticipated lunch of roast pork or beef pattie.

Among the acts, the Netherlands' haka was definitely an interesting talking point. Although a little perturbed to begin with, we soon found out that the All Blacks are quite the sensation and any opportunity to whip out a haka is gladly taken (perhaps in our next choreography?).

Hair, make up and costuming complete, we were amped up, warmed up and ready for action. As the second act it wasn't long before we were marching out with the pipe band. Our first show went off with a bang. However, unfortunately, it also claimed our first casualty: Shirana rolled her ankle but finished the dance like a champion. She will hopefully be back dancing tomorrow.

After a long wait (and dinner) it was time for the finale, in which we brandished flaming torches followed by some artful flag-waving to rapturous applause. A long day finished, we were back in the bus to travel to Koln to our hotel, to get some much needed rest before our performance tomorrow. This is the 'big one' with an audience almost double the 2000 strong crowd we saw tonight - wish us luck!

Niamh and Danni

Highland Dance Company of NZ - Germany trip - day 1 - 23rd Jan 2014

Hallo from Germany

The Highland Dance Company of New Zealand have made it to Germany to take part in the German Musikparade 2014.

Our trip started in Christchurch on Monday where we met to rehearse our item to be performed throughout Germany. We rehearsed in the morning, and in the afternoon we met and practiced with the Nelson Celtic Pipe Band who are accompanying us on the trip. It is great to have a live band to perform with and we went out to dinner with the band to get to know each other.

We then began the long journey to Frankfurt which involved a 10 hour flight to Singapore, a 6 hour stopover and then a 13 hour flight to Frankfurt arriving at 5:30 am. Thankfully most of us managed to get a good sleep on the 2nd flight and we were pretty excited to get to Germany.

It was certainly cold, although not as bad as many of us expected, and it was also very dark with the sun not rising until about 8:00 am. We couldn't check into our hotel until after lunch so we had a team meeting at a bakery near our hotel, tasting brezels and other tasty pastry treats before navigating a bus and train to Old Frankfurt. Here lay our first challenge - public transport in an unfamiliar place with a foreign language. Thankfully, a friendly bus driver stopped in the middle of the street after noticing our bewildered faces as we realised it was his bus we needed to catch! Not only that, he then gave all of us a freebie trip! (Apparently he couldn't understand our botched German pronunciation & took pity on us).

It was actually great to be out in the fresh air and getting to know our surroundings. Many of the team checked out some of many churches and historical buildings close by while others sampled the retail offerings. With every trip we get reminded how expensive shopping is in NZ! After a few hours meandering we had our first taste of German food, with lunch at a restaurant based in the original Frankfurt police station - most were adventurous enough to try the sauerkraut. And a hearty helping of meat - schnitzel, veal sausage & pork loin rib... All in super sized portions!

On arrival back to our hotel this afternoon we were finally able to check in, then we had what will be the first of many rehearsals. Despite little sleep in the past 36 hours the team did remarkably well, especially given the only space at the hotel that we could use was the smokers room... Ugh. A few run throughs was all it took to make Julie & Robyn feel confident that we will nail our performance when we join the entire 400-strong Musikparade company tomorrow for our first rehearsal, followed by our first show tomorrow night. We can't wait!

For now, bed seems like a heavenly long-lost friend, so we will sign out & reacquaint ourselves. Bliss.

Auf weidersehen & gute nacht!
Kate & Sara

Auckland Summer School - 22nd Jan 2014

Auckland Summer School During the 11-14th January nearly 50 students attended the 2014 Auckland Summer School.
Tutors were Mrs Jacqui Seque and Mrs Kylie Allison-Miller.
Luckily though warm, it wasn't as hot as previous years.
It was great to see familiar students back again and lots of first time attendees.

See the Gallery for class photos

Hawkes Bay Summer School - 21st Jan 2014

Hawkes Bay Summer School The Hawkes Bay Summer School was run over the weekend with Tutor Jacque Seque from Dunedin. Temperatures were over 30 degrees and the dancers also had to contend with an earthquake.

Scholarship winners were

Junior Under 10 class - Kali Park
Senior Under 10 class - Mckenna Parker and Renee Thompson
10 & under 14 class - Katelyn Murphy and Rosemary Yorke
14 & over class - Hannah McRae

See photo gallery for all the class photos

Southland Exam wokshop - 16th Jan 2014

The Southland Teachers & Judges are conducting an Exam workshop on 12/13 April in Invercargill.
Tutor Mrs Julie Hawke.
If you require further details please contact
Lynda Duncan 03 248 7809 or Jolie Hazley 03 2174437

Enrolment form is available from the Downloads page

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