The immigration to New Zealand of a leading international dance director is a boon to young disciples of the art. Lisa Carter, a former Royal Academy of Dance examiner who trained in her native South Africa and has taught there and in Asia, Europe, the UK and the United States, has moved to New Zealand to lead the dance department at Corelli School in Auckland. Ms Carter and Corelli are jointly offering 12 scholarships over three years to talented young dancers.
“We chose to move to New Zealand so that I could take up this extraordinary opportunity at Corelli School.
“Through my earlier work I have been able to see the impact that good training can have on a young dancer. By 18, it is often too late to train as a professional dancer, and my vision, with Corelli and our scholarship programme, is to open the door to youngsters with a passion for dance, and to encourage and mentor them as they train.
“The scholarships are open to those with a passion for dance and will be offered alongside an excellent education curriculum. Corelli School strives for excellence in arts while offering its students the internationally recognized Cambridge educational programme.
Ms Carter intends that the scholarships will help to advance New Zealand ballet across the board. “Overall, ballet here is very good. The difficulty is that there are not enough professional opportunities and many dancers have to go overseas to find work. The growth of New Zealand dance is part of my own future plan and vision.”
Her vision also includes ‘training for excellence’, not only as a dancer but in all aspects of life. “Dance training can enrich children’s lives in many ways, to be disciplined, to push through and be the best that one can – these are invaluable life skills.”
That attitude is shared by Corelli’s faculty, Ms Carter says, “An arts specialist education facility such as Corelli is an excellent environment which encourages and develops creative minds. It is a place where students find peers who think alike, behave similarly and understand one another. Young artists and performers, such as dancers, also need the discipline of a challenging and rewarding academic environment, and Corelli provides this.”
Head of Performing Arts at Corelli School, David Selfe (Professional Certificate and Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Music) says the pursuit of excellence in arts should ideally be supported with a good educational foundation. “This is what we seek to provide. It is much easier for children to fulfil their potential, artistic and otherwise, when they have a well-rounded approach. Lisa holds the same view and will be a tremendous asset to Corelli.”
Ms Carter travelled internationally as an examiner for the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) for five years from 2004, taking a sabbatical with the birth of her daughter Caitlin. She does not rule out a return to examining in the future.
RAD examiners are a small select group, with only a handful of active examiners worldwide at any given time. RAD examiners are appointed by invitation only and undergo extensive training. Their extensive international schedules can take them on trips as long as six weeks at a stretch.
Among Ms Carter’s career achievements are her contribution to the programmes and standard dance offered at Creighton University in Nebraska. During her time there she was responsible for implementing the Dance Major now on offer and seeing the increase of dance students come on board.
In addition, she recently published a book, Introduction to Ballet (Kendall Hunt Publishers), which is being used in the United States and features her students in step-by-step movement photographs designed for easy understanding of dance terminology and steps.
Open auditions for the scholarships will take place at 1pm on Thursday 12 August at the Corelli School. To register your interest, please contact Christine or Claire on 09 476 5043 or visit: www.corelli.school.nz.