What is Dance About?

Dance is an embodied language. Students develop literacy in dance as they learn about, and develop skills in, movement, performance, and choreography. They learn to understand and respond to a variety of dance types, styles, and forms from a range of contexts, past and present. Students will be able to understand and explore dance forms and develop their own ideas, expression, and sense of identity. 

Students learn that dance is a holistic experience which links the mind, body, and emotions – integrating thinking, moving, and feeling. They explore dance elements, vocabularies (eg, the key features of dance types or styles), and processes to express personal, group, and cultural identities. Dance also provides space to ask questions, challenge assumptions, promote difference, and provoke alternative thinking.

Dance is a way of strengthening relationships. Through Dance, a number of transferable skills are nurtured that ākonga can carry with them beyond the learning environment, such as collaboration, communication, teamwork, problem solving, and creative thinking. Students carry their identities into the classroom and recognise that their personal prior experiences are valid and valued components of learning in Dance, facilitating an environment that supports whanaungatanga (relationships). 

Students will continue to deepen their technical expertise and knowledge that underpins Dance as a subject, such as the knowledge about the development of a dance type or style. As an embodied language, Dance is expressed through movement, which may include locomotor or non-locomotor movement, spatial concepts, the use of positive and negative shapes, relationships of individuals and groups to each other and to their environment, and the effect of timing and rhythmic qualities.

In exploring movement vocabulary and choreography, learners synthesise ideas through a dynamic interplay of these processes. For example, composition of a dance sequence may involve personal ways of moving that emerge from improvisation and creative developmental work. It may also consist of stylistic techniques and movements usually associated with particular dance types or styles. Learners will generate and refine ideas through cycles of action to create cohesive, fluid expressions of dance forms. They will reflect and determine which process is appropriate at a specific point. Technologies will help students to curate and develop their choreographic devices, structures, and performance.

Dance at Freyberg High School is a subject from Years 9—13. It is taught as an NCEA subject and is recognised as a University qualification subject. Dance is also an extra-curricular activity. Dance focuses on developing 21st Century Skills of Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, Cooperation,  and Critical Thinking with an emphasis on Self-Management.


All students also have the opportunity to join one of Freyberg’s extra-curricular dance groups. These are:

Dance Academy 

Dance Academy students regularly meet to rehearse routines and to improve technique and learn new skills. Each year Jazz, Contemporary and Hip Hop teams are entered to compete at the Interschool Dance NZmade competition, held during Term 3. In addition, they also perform at the end of year school Prize Giving ceremonies.


Entry into the Dance Academy is through an audition for our school production held at the end of the previous school year. Students are required to be involved in the school production and also need to bring a Dance CV of experience of any formal dance training in the past two years.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Year 12 students performing Tinikling - based on an ethnic dance from the Phillippines.

Year 9 

All Year 9 students will take Dance for approximately six weeks, as a taster. It will include exploring a range of dance genres and group activities focussing on collaboration and creativity, while learning new skills and building confidence to create original sequences.

Year 10 

Year 10 students can take Dance as an option for two terms. Students will continue to develop collaborative and creative skills learnt in Year 9, as well as preparation work for Year 11. An exploration of genres are expanded some include Musical Theatre, Jazz, Hip Hop and Contemporary. Students are introduced to choreography and performance in groups. They will also have opportunities to perform in a Dance Showcase, which is always a lot of fun for those involved.

Year 11 

All Year 11 students will build on their knowledge and skills of creativity, using Dance Elements and Choreographic Devices to effectively choreograph a variety of refined dance sequences. They will learn how to explore and edit movement material in a collaborative environment to communicate ideas; for example, using Kowhaiwhai patterns, Whakatauki and Turangawaewae to express a sense of belonging, use objects such as a chair to explore and manipulate movement, and explore a dance culture. In addition, they will have opportunities to perform aspects of their choreography in the Dance Showcases.

Year 12 

Year 12 students will expand on their choreographic skills, through studying a variety of creative processes and then apply these processes to create a dance which communicates an important theme. In addition, they will learn about and perform an ethnic dance to demonstrate an understanding of this style and its origin.  They will also look at an in-depth interpretation and appreciation of dance works by other choreographers and respond accordingly. In addition, they will have opportunities to perform aspects of their choreography in the Dance Showcases.


Year 13 

Year 13 students will be given the opportunity to explore thought-provoking concepts, researching ideas and using choreographic processes to experiment, edit and refine ideas, developing these into complex dance sequences that inspire and challenge the audience. They will also have opportunities to demonstrate performance technique and protocol, selecting technologies to enhance their performances and choreography. They will also analyse a dance in depth to determine its effectiveness and interpretation of an idea based on a choreographer's chosen stimuli. In addition, they will have opportunities to perform aspects of their choreography in the Dance Showcases.