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Pirouetting Towards Continued Success

Newcastle is home to one of the most prestigious full-time dance training colleges within the country. National College of Dance (NCD), nationally renowned for producing some of the best dancers in Australia, continues to do so with their trainees sought after worldwide. Like every industry, Dance has been substantially affected by COVID, but NCD has forged ahead and been

able to pivot the studio towards continued success.

Or should we say ‘pirouette?


In these challenging times, NCD has ensured its dancers maintain their elite training and return to the studios ready to take on the remaining year while planning for a great 2022.

NCD (formally the Marie Walton Mahon Dance Academy) has been a mainstay in Dance over the past 45 years in Newcastle. From strength to strength, NCD has kept elite dance training in Newcastle on the Australian dance map, attracting some of the very best students from all over Australia to the region to train with them.

This year, Artistic Director Brett Morgan OAM celebrates his tenth anniversary and is beyond proud to continue developing and growing a dance legacy. Over the last ten years, students from NCD have represented Newcastle (and Australia) in the most prestigious international ballet competitions in the world, including the Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland, the Asian Grand Prix, and the Youth American Grand Prix. They have also been recognised with the highest accolades at our prestigious competition, the Sydney City Eisteddfod. But with all these accolades, how has COVID contributed to the continued success of NCD?

“We’ve had approx. 10-15 students graduate our full-time Diploma program each year with 100% placements into national and international programs every year,” said Brett.

“We’ve been fortunate to maintain that amazing result for the past five years, and even throughout the past two years with COVID, our students have graduated and continued their pursuit of a career in Dance in many overseas countries. Our dancers keep in contact and regularly let us know how high our standard of teaching is, and most importantly, how well prepared they feel in their new international programs.”

Brett says that the team at NCD have worked to recognise and adapt programs to ensure that students can maintain their training from home, working with them in groups and individually via Zoom.

“Teaching via zoom at an elite level requires a different level of teaching style which adapts to being able to translate dance steps and communicate with students at another level,” agreed CEO Vicki Morgan.

“We are in awe of our teachers, their professionalism, and dedication both in our college and junior academy. Our teachers have dedicated their professional careers to dance, and they are now passing on their experiences to our NCD students,” she said.

“Our students couldn’t have better role models.”

Even in the light of COVID, NCD has implemented numerous new aspects within the studio that may not have been implemented had COVID not occurred, introducing initiatives that give students an incredible experience, with Zoom workshops and classes that have allowed them to touch many students they may not have reached with only face to face classes.

“With COVID, we had to change the way we approached providing dance classes, and we all agree at NCD that many amazing opportunities have arisen from it,” Vicki said.

Now back face to face learning, NCD college and junior academy will continue to offer a host of classes both in-studio and online.

And with an exciting, jam-packed year ahead, an end of year production in December, hosting the annual Newcastle Summer Dance Intensive in January (17-20th) and planning for a huge gala event in May, they are pirouetting straight towards success. Keep up (if you can!) on Facebook and Instagram @nationalcollegeofdance #ncd.

IMAGE: Brett Morgan, Credit Dancetrain Magazine


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