The New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing

Summer Fling 2013 - 23rd Oct 2012

See Downloads for the Summer Fling 2013 schedule

2012 Conference Report - 17th Oct 2012

See the Conference page for the Nelson conference report
and the Gallery for conference photos

Shanghai - Day 11 - 19th Sep 2012

Shanghai - Day 11 Welcome home to the Highland Dance Company of NZ - hope you had a great time in China

See the Gallery for more photos of their arrival at Auckland - posing for photos with Val Adams

2013 Hawkes Bay Summer School - 19th Sep 2012

The schedule for the Summer School is now available from the Downloads page

Shanghai - Day 10 - 18th Sep 2012

Ni Hao Everyone,

Its day 10 over here for us. It started with a bit of a sleep in as our first performance didnt start until 11.30am. We all arrived at the pearl tower, the tallest building in Shanghai standing at 468 metres ready to wow the crowd. After performing a 20minute sequence of 4 different dances we have to say it has been the best show yet. We quickly got changed and headed up the pearl tower to floor 268 to the sight-seeing floor where we had a full 360 degree view of Shanghai it was incredible. Followed by a few ice creams and bags of lollies and dont forget more souveniers we headed to the bus on a trip to the Shanghai markets. As we arrived our tour guide Shelly showed us up to the famous tea show where we experienced some different flavours of tea, some definately better than others. We then had 50minutes to scramble around the market for last minute shopping before we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the big night ahead. 6.30pm we all gathered in the lobby dressed to the 9's ready to take Chantelle out to her most memorable formal ever. As Harriet escorted her onto the bus we made our way to our last chinese restaurant. After another fun filled rice dinner we made our way to the river boat cruise where we stepped onto our own titanic. The views of Shanghai at night that surrounded us were spectacular! The end of the night seemed like it was arriving, until we got back to the hotel where we occupied the hotel bar for presentations of the Chinese Laundry awards and we all shared our Peak, Pit and Laugh of the trip. Today has been a perfect way to end the trip and as the night goes on the girls are still downstairs dancing as we sit here and write this blog, goodnight and see you all soon!

"Pound it yea?"

Lewis and Nicole

Shanghai Day 7 - 17th Sep 2012

Was an early start with the wakeup call at 6.15am. We all had to be down the in lobby at 7.30, with our overweight bags and room keys ready to check out. All a bit drowsy we piled onto the bus for our last bus ride with Jackie. It took us about an hour to get to the airport. When we arrived Jackie helped us to check in for our flight. We then headed to our departure gate where finally the time had come to leave our much loved tour guide Jackie. We did a fling and then sung our Waiata, a few of us getting a bit teary.
We were all very sad at having to leave Jackie behind. After a delayed start we finally took off leaving Beijing and all the amazing experiences we had behind, as well as excellent freeWi-Fi.
When we arrived in Shanghai, we were met by crowds of people and the humid airport air once again. After walking about five minutes Emma remembered she had left her hat in the overhead compartment! After a fast sprint back to the plane and a great re-enactment of security running with her, Emma was reunited with her beloved hat. With all our bags (and hats) we went to meet our new tour guide Shelly. Following Shelly’s blue doughnut as a flag and enduring multiple elevator trips we made our way to the bus. We arrived at our hotel and checked in. We then had about an hour to put our hair up, throw some make-up on, get into our kilts and look spectacular for our parade rehearsal. Who would have thought it would have been the boys last down!
DINNER!! Shelly took us to a very nice restaurant where we quickly dined in our kilts before we had to head off to the destination of our very…very…very…long rehearsal. We all got off the bus and piled into the courtyard of what seemed to be a school, heaving up what felt like a thousand flights of stairs to our make-shift dressing room on the final floor of many. Peering down over the balcony, we see that the courtyard is filled to its fullest with costumes, colours, and instruments of a variety from all different cultures. After running through and perfecting our one minute dance sequence for the parade in our room, we finally, after a long wait, gathered down at the bottom of the stairs, feeding out in amongst all the other people. We then had another run through of our dance, with a few slips here and there from the wet ground, finishing off with photographs being taken with the other performers. Next came the real deal rehearsal out on the streets, but it was a long time coming, after having to wait out many hours till it was our turn to perform. But it was a very interesting wait! In front of us was the Italian band with their hand made instruments, including a toilet, giant pliers and a clothing rack of “womans delicates”. Behind us was an extremely lively group who looked to be like folk people, keeping us entertained with their endless traditional music and dances. We slowly, made our way, with sore feet from the concrete, onto the area of which we were to dance on in front of potential V.I.P’s and a massive crowd on all sides of the dance space. There was a slight complication with our music but we kept on dancing with our heads held high, though, finishing only to find that we had to repeat the entire parade again... So there we were again, spread out on our bags trying to hide our tired eyes, when out came the brightly lit floats, filling up the streets with such amazing colours! Everyone was then a little more perked up, with hot chips filling our tummy’s to help sustain us through the long night. Then it was our time to shine once more and after that we headed back to the bus.
Arriving back at the hotel at 2.15am, we all quickly headed back up to our rooms (after finally figuring out how to work the elevators) for as good of a sleep as we could have, for the real thing the next day!
Isabelle and Shirana.

Shanghai Day 8 - 17th Sep 2012

After a more than well-deserved sleep in… surprise surprise we were taken out for another traditional Chinese cuisine lunch. We were treated to a little Chinese dancing from some locals while we ate which included some girls with umbrellas and a questionable male, feminine belly dancer. We then sampled some fruit from a local street vendor, including juicy mangos the size of watermelons, yum! After heading back to the hotel we had a few greatly needed hours of down time before getting ready to head back to the school where we were to assemble for the parade. Whilst eagerly awaiting the final score of the All Blacks vs. South Africa game from back home, we were supplied with ‘simple food’-our dinner from the organisers which consisted of. . . Bread and water!
Our waiting time sitting on the streets of Shanghai was much shorter than last night much to our relief! We squirrelled the hotel hand towels and slippers to protect both our pumps and kilts from the concrete runway until our turn. Fireworks lit the sky and the parade was off! The atmosphere at the parade was incredible. We were up after the Italian comic band which consisted of various hand-made instruments including a toilet strapped onto one guy’s back who opened and closed the seat lid to set the beat and an old fashioned oven where the metal doors were banged. Beautifully lit floats and crowds of people surrounded us, cheering us on. Two Chinese girls held a banner with our team name and our music was played by a mascot on wheels. We stopped approximately every 100 metres and did reeling and swinging on the 2.2km journey as well as four big stops where we performed the last section of ‘the thistle and the fern’. Following us were some traditional Slovakians who were singers, dancers and musicians. As soon as we began dancing the crowds went wild which made it very easy to ‘decorate our faces with smiles’. Despite fatigue, heat and previous late nights and early starts, our performances were fantastic and we all were all buzzing. At the end of the parade our bus awaited us and we piled on and returned to our hotel. A good night sleep is in order as tomorrow we have numerous performances at various places around Shanghai.

Lana and Rachel xo

Shanghai Day 9 - 17th Sep 2012

Day 9 of our trip has been jam packed full!

After an early start to get ready for our first performance in our brand new costumes, we arrived at our destination for our first performance in shanghai.
Here to the excitement of many team members, we were greeted and escorted by a team of security guards. Wherever we went, they followed, stopped traffic for us and even pushed old ladies out of the way! As Lewis said 'I tots feel like Gaga'. Whilst warming up for our performance we were surprised be caught up in the middle of a protest against japan. Once the whirlwind protest moved on, it was time to preform. To our disappointment our first performance didn't go as well as planned with a tiny stage for our large team and music problems. However, after being escorted to our next destination by the security guards, we arrived feeling like celebrities. Our second performance came together beautifully with our gold kilts swinging on a big wooden stage and the music continuing through our performance. A large crowd cheered once we had finished our 20 minute set. After a spot of shopping and a stop at a starbucks for the coffee deprived, we all headed towards the harbor for lunch.

After yet another Chinese lunch we all hopped back on the bus and headed to Shanghai Zoo. The zoo was definitely a highlight of the day with everyone being able to see some real live pandas and white tigers! Almost all team members left the zoo with panda bear toys as a reminder of the huge yet adorable pandas we just saw.

Back at the hotel there was enough time for a quick rest and costume change before heading off to our performance spot for the night. On arrival, we were pleasantly surprised to see acts from other counties were also there. We were taken to our seats where a whole bunch of goodie bags were waiting for us.

First we performed 'Thistle and the Fern' which sounded fantastic with the Chinese voice over. As the boys were getting ready for their next dance, we were stopped and told that we would not be allowed to perform the rest of our dancers. Thankfully Robyn managed to talk some sense into them and we were allowed to finish our set once all the other acts had performed. We all returned to our seats to watch some Chinese modling, Bollywood dancing and some very interesting samba dancers from Finland. By the time it got to the second to last act of the night, the Italian comic band, almost all the the audience had left! We all ended up dancing to the Italian band in front of the stage and we made sure we were the best audience we could be for them. As there was no one left to watch us, we decided to just leave and head on to dinner. We arrived at the restaurant at 9.30 to find that we were the only customers there and that they were staying open for us!
On the way back to the hotel, we all released our inner pop stars by having a sing-a-long in the bus.

It's been a very long day with a couple more team members falling ill, having to dance in extremely hot conditions and we all learnt new things about some team members for example, did you know that youth rep Kate Wills can rap??!

We are all looking forward to our final performance tomorrow at the Pearl tower!

Goodnight from Shanghai!

Emma D and Nicole Harvey

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