06 May 2010
The New Zealand School of Dance is delighted to announce that Paula Steeds-Huston has been appointed Head of Contemporary Dance. Born and raised in Christchurch, Paula has been a Contemporary Dance Tutor at the NZSD since 2002. She has been Acting Head of Contemporary Dance for the last eight months, and her appointment to this post has just been made permanent.
"I am honoured to have been appointed Head of Contemporary Dance at the School", says Steeds-Huston. “I believe that the New Zealand School of Dance is an institution of excellence, and I am excited by the
possibilities this appointment represents.”
Over the last seventeen years, Paula has enjoyed a diverse career as a dancer, teacher and choreographer with high profile companies and training institutions including Footnote Dance, Royal NZ Ballet, Original Scripts Theatre Company and Wellington Performing Arts Centre.
"Were delighted that Paula has agreed to assume permanent leadership of the Contemporary Dance programme." says NZSD Director Garry Trinder. “She has been a pillar of this school over the last eight years. Alongside her intimate knowledge of the School and the dance community in New Zealand, Paula has a calm disposition and superb teaching style that will stand her in excellent stead to grow the programme into the
Paula says, “I am keen to create more dialogue with the dance community, ascertain industry needs and finetune the programme if necessary. I am also interested in maintaining a strong connection with freelance
choreographers and continue to commission at least one new New Zealand work each year.”
Paula also intends to work directly with private sector dance teachers to actively increase the number of New Zealand students who are accepted into the New Zealand School of Dance. Part of this will be ensuring that the
building blocks of contemporary technique are firmly in place alongside the students’ classical technique by creating more professional development opportunities for pre-tertiary dance teachers.
She would also like to see more Maori and Pacific Island students join the School. In her capacity as Acting Head of Contemporary Dance, Paula recently established a new programme called Tu Move with the support of
Te Puni Kokiri. The intention of Tu Move was to introduce Maori and Pacific Island teenagers to contemporary dance via hip hop and kapa haka. It was an unparalleled success, with excellent feedback from the community
The New Zealand School of Dance, internationally recognised as one of the Southern Hemispheres leading tertiary dance institutions, offers two-year and three-year intensive training programmes in both Contemporary Dance and Classical Ballet. The School accommodates approximately seventy students undertaking full-time study at any one time, approximately half of whom specialise in Contemporary Dance.
"I want graduates to leave this institution as emerging artists with excellent technical skills, a sense of individuality within their movement and an understanding of the realities of this industry.” Paula says, “This is
an exciting new chapter for both NZSD and me personally.”