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 that 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, the 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 curate and develop their choreographic devices, structures, and performance.

Extra-curricular Opportunities

Dance at Freyberg High School is offered to all students from Year 9 through to year 13. In the senior school, students are able to gain credits towards NCEA Level 1, 2 and 3. Dance is a university entrance approved subject. 

Dance Academy 

Dance Academy students regularly meet to rehearse routines and improve their technique. Each year a variety of genres are entered to compete at the Interschool Dance NZ Made competition. They also perform at our end-of-term dance showcases, Dance NZ Made, Showquest, open evenings, school assemblies and end-of-school ceremony. 

Entry into the Dance Academy is through an audition at the end of the previous school year. Students are asked to bring a Dance CV of experience in any formal dance training and/or performances in the past two years. Our auditions are split into two sections. Firstly, you will learn a short piece of choreography in small groups from one of our Dance Academy Leaders. We want to see that you are willing to learn and can take direction from a senior student. Secondly, you have the opportunity to perform a 1-2 minute dance of your chosen genre choreographed by yourself or a studio/school dance teacher. We want to see your strengths! This process will be overseen by a panel of Dance Academy Leaders and the Director of the Dance Academy they will write notes of who would be best suited for what dance genre. 


Year 12 students performing an old school Jazz number to Black Velvet.

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 choreography focusing on collaboration and creativity. Students learn new skills and build confidence to perform in front of small groups.

Year 10 

Year 10 students can take Dance as an option for two terms. Students will begin preparation work for Year 11. The exploration of genres is expanded on from year 9. Students continue to develop collaborative and creative skills through their choreography. They will also have opportunities to perform in a Dance Showcase at the end of each term.

Year 11 

All Year 11 students will build on their knowledge and skills of creativity, using Dance Elements and Choreographic Devices. They will learn how to explore and edit movement material in a collaborative environment to communicate ideas. 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, by studying a variety of creative processes and then apply these processes to create a dance that communicates an important concept. 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 and research ideas. They will use 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 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.