Woodford house


Artist in Residence 2017

The stunning new Drama and Dance space in the Dame Kate Harcourt Performing Arts Centre got its first major dance workout in late February with our Artist in Residence (AiR) programme.

This year, AiR was sponsored by the Woodford House Old Girls’ Association. Its purpose is to offer extension and build excellence in a genre of the performing arts.

This new facility allowed dance to be showcased. Ten students from Years 8-13, with previous dance experience, applied and were accepted to take part in 20 hours of intense work across one week, focusing on the processes of choreography.




The girls worked with our visiting artist, Champa Maciel, who is based in Hawke’s Bay and has extensive experience in the performing and teaching of contemporary dance and theatre.

This learning experience enabled girls to build a strong foundation of dance with skills they can draw upon at every level of the school.

Here are some responses from the girls who took part in the programme:

We danced for 4 hours each day; doing contact improvisation, physical warm-ups, yoga and contemporary skills.”

Giorgia Hickey, Year 10

“Champa taught us different dance techniques that opened up my mind about dance. Overall the experience was remarkable, challenging and a bunch of laughs and I wish I could do it again.”

Stephanie Goodwin, Year 12

“I learnt a lot of techniques and a new kind of style. It was very peaceful and felt like we were in our own space.”

Molly McNamara, Year 10

“It was a great experience to broaden my dance skills.”

Hannah Roberts, Year 9

The programme also offered two sessions for students and adults in the wider community. The first session was attended by 15 students in Years 6-8 from Havelock North schools for a two-hour afternoon workshop focusing on contemporary dance.


For the adult class, 10 women made up of staff and members of the local community were challenged during an evening session, which gave insights into the philosophy behind contemporary dance and worked their muscles in some new ways!

Having Champa on campus for the week has inspired everyone about the joy of dance and its facility to enhance wider learning.

Josephine Carpenter, Director of Performing Arts