A Whangārei dance teacher says she is "very proud" of her students for being the only Northland group to make the finals of a national performing arts competition.

Holly Duder-Joy, dance teacher and owner of Whangārei Academy of Dance and Performing Arts (WADPA), said her academy's junior and senior performance teams travelled to Palmerston North earlier this month to compete at The New Zealand Performing Arts Competitions - a prestigious national competition which can only be entered by groups who have been nominated.

Out of the 59 groups nominated from around the country, Duder-Joy said the senior team - which danced a contemporary piece called "unsteady" - were the only Northland team to make it to the finals, for the second year in a row.

"It's so significant. It's testament to the girls, their hard work, dedication and commitment," she said.


"It was one of the proudest moments."

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Duder-Joy said the senior team ranges in age from 13 to 20 but most of the dancers are 15 and 16 which means they have to juggle school with practice, which required a huge amount of discipline.

"While their friends are out partying or going out on a Friday night, the girls are here until 9, 9.30pm rehearsing and practising, and they do that all year."

Duder-Joy said this was the fourth year taking the senior team to the competition, but the first time going with a junior team.

'It was awesome, I was a little bit worried about them but once they got down there they were so good. Even just for the experience, there were schools from all over New Zealand competing and the Regent Theatre is stunning - bigger than anything those girls would have been in let alone danced on," she said.

Duder-Joy said her senior group were so excited to make it to the finals for the second year, and said they ended up placing sixth overall.

"They were jumping and screaming and shouting. They were over the moon."


• WADPA is currently working on their end of year show Centre Stage on November 29 and 30 which will feature over 250 dancers. Tickets can be purchased from Ticketek