Dear Garry,

My decision is made. I will withdraw from my study at the New Zealand School of Dance, effective Wednesday 4 April 2012.

My entry into the New Zealand School of Dance, if I am honest about it, lacked expectation. Unlike many other students, I was not well aquainted with the workings of such an institution. I was soon to discover that, with my mind and temperament, the journey through would be nothing less than a monumental struggle. I take a degree of pride in the fact that I disipline myself to ceaselessly question the status quo, even if it does make life awkward. It is vital, from my position, to encourage, if not demand, a critical voice among students to ensure the constant advance of this art form, ballet or contemporary; the creation of an homogenous product is not conducive to healthy artistic expression. However, I do understand the need to supply technically fine dancers who will fit neatly into someone else’s creative programme, it is an honoured tradition that I do not fit.

I am sorry that neither of us has discovered what we expected when you took me in to the NZSD. I leave the New Zealand School of Dance with some regret that we could not make it work, that we could not establish a dialogue, which could have you seen the value in someone different. Of course, it is not all unfortunate. The very positive element of my time at the NZSD, apart from the technical skills I have learnt, is that it has provided the opportunity to realise that I must dance, and that artistic expression must be a fundamental part of my life. That in itself makes the trial of the NZSD well worth it.

Thank you for a most tumultuous time.


Oliver Connew