Introduced at the beginning of 2020, the school’s dance programme has seen incredible growth throughout the year, and now includes twice weekly specialist dance classes in the Preschool and compulsory dance for Years 0 to 6. And with close to 30 percent of Year 7 to Year 10 students choosing to take dance this year, the growth is set to continue in 2021.
ACG Tauranga Principal Thea Kilian is delighted to see increased participation in the subject, and attributes the growth to the expertise, passion, and popularity of dance teacher Dani Archer (née Miller).
“She truly brings out the best in our students and they simply look forward to being around her,” says Thea. “She also creates opportunities for them to perform and showcase their dance talents – and not just the top dancers either.
“Dani’s real strength is her ability to support, acknowledge and empower every dancer, irrelevant of the style of dance they do or the level they are at. Whether she is supporting top end dancers to compete well beyond the school environment or those trying out dance for the first time, the students love her.”
Although Dani has just completed her first year at ACG Tauranga, the highly qualified dancer and teacher has been quick to make her mark.
Adds Thea, “Her respect for all the different styles of dance and how fundamentally different they can be is amazing.”
For Dani, having the chance to develop a dynamic new dance programme at the school has been a dream come true.
“I’ve really enjoyed seeing our students achieve new skills and find their passion for dance, and I am so proud to see more and more students – particularly boys – get involved,” she says.
“I think dance has grown so much at ACG Tauranga over the last year because we’ve provided students with plenty of exciting opportunities and we’ve encouraged them to get involved.”
A workshop with guest tutors teaching contemporary, hip hop and jazz techniques was a huge highlight, as was the 2020 DanceNZMade competition, which saw ACG Tauranga cement its place in the Bay of Plenty school dance scene by winning second runner up in both the Primary and Year 9 – 10 divisions.
But according to Dani, they’re just warming up.
“I’m really excited to see more growth in 2021, and we have plenty of exciting plans in the pipeline. Itinerant dance will continue, we’re aiming for three to four DanceNZMade teams as well as some solo performances, and we’re looking forward to putting together a dance ensemble for our 2021 school production Shrek Junior the Musical.”