Contemporary dance helps a dancer to explore the body’s full range of physicality, freedom of movement and expression.

It stresses versatility and improvisation, and unlike the strict structure of classical ballet, dancers are encouraged to move with complete freedom and fluidity, shedding uniformity and pushing movement boundaries.

There is a focus on use of breath, spatial awareness, use of gravity, suspension and release. It is important to have both strength and fluidity through the body’s core.

Contemporary is dance in its most expressive form–as they progress, dancers are encouraged to discover their personal style, and a way of movement that is unique to themselves.

Despite the focus on freedom of movement, contemporary dance utilizes the technique base of the classical ballet dancer, combined with a unique contemporary technique. A well-rounded training in both means that the contemporary dancer is capable of safe execution of what can sometimes be very advanced and intricate movement.

There are no true boundaries–anything goes–and it feels amazing.


As contemporary dance is constantly changing and evolving, we always ensure that we are in the ‘now’, and closely follow the progression of the style. We are therefore fortunate to have access to and mentoring from some of the best and most influential contemporary dancers and choreographers in New Zealand and abroad.

With open classes at both a Junior and Senior level, students not only have unrestricted access to the contemporary dance discipline, but also the freedom to discover their own connection with contemporary dance. This is also possible for all contemporary levels during Terms 3 & 4 of the year, when we shift our focus to unique choreography and the production of show-work.

The NZAMD contemporary syllabus is an extremely thorough and well-rounded approach to contemporary dance. It is recent and fresh, and includes guest choreographic work from some of New Zealand’s most prominent contemporary choreographers (including Douglas Wright, Neil Iremia, Michael Parementer and Shona McCullagh). We see it as an essential part of the student’s exploration of–and development in–contemporary dance, and consider ourselves privileged to have the opportunity to teach it.

"Choreographed by Ann Dewey, NZAMD introduced this Contemporary syllabus in 2002, and since then it has grown steadily as teachers recognize its value. It is especially popular in ballet studios, often called the ‘yoga for dancers’.

This syllabus is about enjoying music and freedom of movement and helping the dancer feel space and breadth of movement. While teaching them to understand the concepts of contemporary movement such as weight, flow, momentum, and the use of gravity, the students continue to enjoy a sense of dance as they progress up through the levels.

Introductory is aimed at students of about 9 to 10 years of age. Examinations in 8 levels plus Solo Performance Diploma".

(source: NZAMD website)