Elite Ballet Academy launched at top NZ School

Wednesday 18 August 2010, 7:54AM
By Wanganui Collegiate School


Top New Zealand independent boarding school, Wanganui Collegiate, has launched a Ballet Academy and is holding auditions for its first intake in October.

Headmaster Tim Wilbur explains; “New Zealand is crying out for a ballet academy in a boarding school environment where the ballet students will not only get an excellent international education but also world-class ballet tuition.”

The Ballet Academy will provide an environment which fosters a fusion of natural talent and creativity combined with fine teaching and support. “What we will offer here is unique. Talented young people will benefit from an excellent standard of teaching in ballet, reinforced by a very high level of academic education,” says Tim

Dean of the Ballet Academy is Karin Wakefield. Karin studied at the National School of Ballet in Wellington and at the Banff School of Fine Arts in Canada. She first joined the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 1980. Karin rose through the ranks to Principal Dancer in New Zealand and abroad, finally settling back as a guest of the Royal New Zealand Ballet in 1988. She stayed on as a Principal until retiring in 1996. Her career as a teacher started in 1997 as Ballet mistress for the Royal New Zealand Ballet and continued on in England, Ireland and Asia.

Initially Collegiate will only recruit Year 7 & 8 dancers. They will board at Wanganui Collegiate, follow a Year 7/8 academic curriculum, and attend ballet lessons with Dance Mistresses Anna Chandulal and Fay Wilbur.

Anna Chandulal, MA Hons, RAD RTS, ARAD, ISTD Assoc Dip (Ballet), is the owner and teacher of the Wanganui Ballet & Dance Academy. Anna taught ballet for several years in Auckland at the well-known Auckland Ballet Academy and later with Gwenda Britten in Palmerston North. She believes passionately that in teaching ballet there is a correct path which must be followed. She explains, “If the foundations are not in place, the building crumbles. Each stage is as important as the other – more than any other dance form, ballet requires correct technique and patient correction from a trained teacher.”

Fay Wilbur, Dip Dance WLIHE, trained at the Royal Ballet’s junior school at White Lodge in Richmond Park, London. She later had two years at the acclaimed Rambert Academy, where she gained her diploma in dance at the age of 18. Fay advocates a solid classical training for those wishing to go towards contemporary dance, as the classical strength and technique provide the necessary solid grounding. A combination of the two disciplines provides a wide range of choices for furthering a career in dance.

Interviews and auditions will be held on Friday 22nd October 2010. For more information and a prospectus, contact Alan Richardson, Director of Admissions, Wanganui Collegiate School. Ph: (06) 349 0295, Mb: 021-722 089, or email: