The New Zealand Academy of Highland and National Dancing

Conference report - 15th Nov 2018

This year saw New Zealand Academy members travel to the garden city, Christchurch, for the 68th Annual Conference. The competent Christchurch Balmoral Club hosted members over the weekend of the 21st-23rd September. The conference was held at the Rydges Latimer which provided a first class venue for all aspects of this successful conference.
Friday evening saw members board the bus for the capital of Christchurch, ‘Rangiora’, where the prestigious Solo Seal examination was held. The Rangiora Town Hall proved to be a superb venue for both the candidates and audience. The compere for the evening was Academy member and talented reporter, Emma Cropper. Entertainment was showcased throughout the evening by members of the very successful and acclaimed Highland Dance Company of New Zealand.
The 2018 Solo Seal candidates who presented themselves with great decorum were: Aine Blackman, Neryda Duncan, Lewis Gibson, Angus Hendry and Harriet Lintern.  Neil Baxter, once again showed great skill and professionalism in his position as the official piper for this examination. Lewis Gibson was successful in attaining his Solo Seal examination.
Bright and early on the Saturday morning saw newly elected Youth Forum representative, Chantelle Shatford efficiently facilitate this session. The forum was well supported with 46 members attending. Alicia Craig, the Adrienne Haberfield teaching scholarship recipient, presented her report which was inspirational to members. Topics discussed also included: the use of technology, the ranking system, and panel judging. Chantelle presented a summary of the forum discussion to members during the Annual General Meeting.
The Annual General Meeting was officially opened on the Saturday morning by Life Member of the Canterbury/West Coast Centre, and Academy member Mrs Colleen Cole MNZM. A time of remembrance for treasured past members Mrs Colleen Parsons and Mrs Katie McDonald followed. A very fitting tribute by Katie’s mother Mrs Cushla Piesse and sister Mrs Jeanie Borsboom was delivered to a very humbled audience. Neil Baxter played a beautiful lament in memory of these special members. Mrs Beckie Rout, Life Member and Past President of the NZAHND gave her insights into the changes over the past 70 years.
After the official business of the AGM, members participated in forum discussions. The 2018 topics which provided members with lots to ponder on were: The Academy website upgrade, soft soled shoes for under 8 Irish Jig competitors, and junior dancer’s injuries.
A highlight for members was the presentation of history of past members by Executive members. Firstly, Orma Smith by Mrs Jackie McBride and then Mrs Jeanie Paton by Mrs Jeanie Borsboom. Both Jackie and Jeanie had captivated audiences while they gave an insight into both of these exceptional ladies.
The Dance Development course started with guest speaker Jan Bolwell. Jan is a playwright, performer, choreographer and director of Crows Feet Dance Collective, a dance company for mature woman.  Jan engaged Academy members with her memories of Highland Dancing and exerts from her upcoming plays. Later in the DDC programme Jan ran a Dance exercise for mature movers session for senior members. Some members practiced the moves they learnt at this session on the Saturday night providing much amusement!
The afternoon judges workshops had groups assessing performances. These practical workshops provided some healthy discussions amongst older and younger judges. Attendees appreciated the time and effort local dancers put into demonstrating for this and other DDC sessions.
A lovely Christchurch Saturday evening loomed and it was time for the Diploma Presentations/Award and evening function.  A special mention must be made of the two Solo Seal recipients from Christchurch Mr Brian North (1974) and Mr Terrence Sheridan (1972).  The cake was cut by Mrs Joan Osborne and Mrs Mary Gannaway of Christchurch who received their 60 year bar. A milestone for the Academy was the first ever recipient of a 70 year bar, to absentee Mrs Nola Bernstone.
The Balmoral Club went the extra mile and had made fabulous hats for members to enjoy and Master of Ceremonies Mr Lewis Gibson made the evening tick along perfectly. Members danced the night away to the exceptional girl band “The Starlets. Talented Rebecca Boyce who received her 20  year bar was one of the members of this band. We were also treated to a duet by Duncan and Ronan Hendry – unexpected and amazing!
The Dance Development course reconvened on the Sunday with a variety of topics  being  presented by technical members: One grade at a time, Moving on up, Ahoy There, Figuring it out, Twice the challenge, A leap upwards, Stepping up, and With a Shillelagh under my arm. These workshops covered examination work, a presentation of Sailors steps from the past, finer details of the Irish Reel, set steps for senior dancers and the use of the Shillelagh. A group session on the Reel O’Tulloch also provided a chance for further learning. A very well balanced programme of topics was appreciated by members.
The 2018 ‘Learn a New Dance’ section, consisted of a piece of music composed by Mr Greg Wilson ONZM and choreographed by the Technical committee. Members were treated to “The Fern and the Heather” being demonstrated by two younger members, accompanied by the very accomplished young piper, Campbell Wilson playing the tune. This dance was enthusiastically received by members who took to the dance floor to learn this special dance.
The closing of 2018 Academy conference saw a resounding thank you for the efforts the Christchurch Balmoral Club put into hosting this hugely successful event.
The 2019 conference will be hosted by the Auckland Teachers and Judges.

2019 Tauranga Summer School schedule - 17th Oct 2018

2019 Tauranga Summer School schedule is available under Resources/Downloads


2019 Summer Fling Schedule - 4th Oct 2018

Summer Fling 2019 Schedule is availabe from the downloads section

Dance Company Tour Raffle results - 2nd Oct 2018

Congratulations to the following winners in the Highland Dance company of NZ Tour raffle

1st prize = Renee Thompson ticket number 1747
2nd prize = Diane Copeland ticket number 475
3rd prize = Pamela Fleming ticket number 806

Thank you all for your support

Conference photos - 27th Sep 2018

Here is the link to the photos that were taken at conference by Shiobhan Smith

Medal Test projects from May exams - 15th Aug 2018

Medal Test projects from May exams Attached is some of the wonderful medal test projects that were done by candidates in the recent May examinations.

Conference Registrations - 31st Jul 2018

Remember, last day for conference registrations at the cheaper conference levy. See resources/downloads for registration form

Closing date reminders - 22nd Jun 2018

Reminder 30 June is closing date for the following:

  • September exam entries
  • Solo Seal entries
  • Diploma applications
  • Subscriptions - to receive the discount
  • Youth Representative nominations
  • Executive North & South Island Representatives & President nominations
  • Written General business for presentation at conference

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