Patrice O’Brien has been involved in dance education as a teacher in schools and at tertiary level for the past 25 years. Currently, Patrice teaches dance in the Faculty of Education at the University of Auckland. Prior to this, she was both a national and regional facilitator of dance education in secondary schools. Patrice has served on writing panels for the development of the dance curriculum and NCEA dance standards. She was instrumental in the development of the scholarship standard for dance and the acceptance of dance as a University Entrance subject. In addition, she has wide experience as a developer of resources for dance education and NCEA assessment. Patrice is heavily involved in dance professional development. She has been a director of ADEN, the Auckland Dance Educators’ Network since its inception in 1996 and also runs Contemporary Dance Unzipped annually, a four-day professional development workshop for teachers of NCEA dance. Patrice strongly supports the idea that all students have a right to an education in dance.
A historical overview of the development of the New Zealand dance curriculum from the early twentieth century to the present day reveals shifting meanings and emphases from military drills to gymnastics, eurhythmics, creative movement, European folk dance and cultural Maori dance. In the last decade however, dance in the New Zealand school curriculum has arguably gone through its most influential change as it shifted from the physical education curriculum to the arts curriculum.
This curriculum shift refined and focussed the academic study of dance in New Zealand primary, secondary and tertiary education contexts. This article focuses upon curriculum and the key persons shaping curriculum development and its delivery in New Zealand from the early 1900s to the present day.