September 9, 2008


A strategy for the Dance Industry was launched at Parliament today.   

The strategy reflects the needs of a wide range of people working in dance from professional contemporary dancers to kapa haka performers to ceroc teachers. It has been written by DANZ, the national dance organisation, in consultation with the dance community and was funded by Creative New Zealand. 

Dance’s popularity has grown immensely in recent times. It was first introduced into the New Zealand school curriculum five years ago. Since 2000 there has been an explosion of dance events such as hip hop competitions, dance festivals and the tango and salsa congresses. Dancing with the Stars is the highest rating TV programme in New Zealand’s history with around one million people tuned into each season finale.

"It is conservatively estimated that 270,000 New Zealanders dance, which is more than rugby and netball combined" explains Tania Kopytko, Executive Director of DANZ. 

But there are areas where dance needs to develop. The 2001 census showed that the median income of dancers in full-time employment was $28,300 per annum, compared with a median income of $32,400 for all people working full-time. Dancers in part-time employment had one of the lowest median incomes of all cultural occupations ($8,300 per annum). For those listed as dance teacher and/or choreographer the median income was $14,300.[1] 

The Dance Industry Strategy identifies key areas for development, requiring the commitment of the dance industry and partners from the wider economic and social infrastructure including Government, local authorities and public and private sector funding. It calls for dance hubs or spaces to provide cohesion and support for the development of work and for preservation of dance repertoire and history. 

The strategy states the dance industry’s ambition to have New Zealand dance seen widely, both at home and internationally. 

Hon Judith Tizard, Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage hosted the launch of the Dance Industry Strategy at Parliament today. 

"Dance is a fundamental form of cultural expression, a great way to have fun and to keep fit,"  said Judith Tizard.  "I commend DANZ for taking on the challenge of finding out where the dance sector sees itself, where it wants to go, and how it wants to go forward." 

The power of dance to positively influence the well-being of individuals is has been shown in international research. After eight weeks of regular dancing, improvements are seen in cardiovascular function and improved body composition.[2] Dancing at a moderate intensity can reduce blood pressure among women.[3] 

During May forums were held in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, where people from a range of genres and roles in dance contributed to the strategy. 

Stephen Bradshaw who attended all three forums, representing Toi Mâori Aotearoa, hopes "the strategy is far reaching enough that political recognition wakes up to supporting the sector, and presents professional dance as a richly diverse art form that embodies life in Aotearoa New Zealand."

[1] Employment in the cultural sector, 2005. Statistics New Zealand.

[2] The improvement effect of Modern Balinese Baris Dancing Exercise on body composition, blood pressure and heart rate. Adiputra IN,1994.

[3] Lipid and lipoprotein changes in premenstrual women following step aerobic dance training. Mosher PE, Ferguson MA, Arnold RO, 2005.

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