What To Expect at Zion Studios

At Zion we are passionate about Urban/Hip Hop dance!  However, we are also passionate about creating an environment that is fun, encouraging and positive.

Our commitment is to have teachers and facilities that promote such values & ethics.  You should

  • expect your teacher to be professional, energetic and encouraging in both the way that they teach and the way that they relate to you as a student,
  • expect them to be in the designated studio on time, prepared and ready to go at the scheduled class time and
  • receive your own copy of the dance mix by the end of week four of the term – for you to take home and rehearse to.

However, ultimately we see this as a partnership between the studio/teachers & the students.  It is when we work together that we are strongest:

“My strength is not from myself alone, but from the strength of the group” Maori Proverb

That is why we feel it is important that there are expectations for the studio and teachers, but also for the students.

What we expect from the students

  • We operate out of a shared facility, so it is important that this is acknowledged and understood.  There are often multiple activities happening at the Northcity Church facility and we expect students to be considerate of other users.  All spaces, equipment property must be used with care and respect.
  • Teachers must respected and listened to during the class.  Any disruption by the few affects the rest of the class and will not be tolerated.
  • We have a zero-tolerance policy for any form of bullying or disrespectful behaviour by students towards other students, staff or users of the facility.
  • Students are on time, prepared and ready to fully engage in their class.  If they are not able to attend or participate they should communicate this to the teaching staff or Studio Manager.
  • Have fun and enjoy being part of Zion Studios.

What we expect from the parents and caregivers

  • Fees are to be paid within the first three weeks of each term, unless an arrangement has been discussed and agreed to by Zion management.  Students with unpaid invoices who have’t contacted us to make an arrangement for delayed payment may be stood down from classes.  Any debt collection fees incurred in collecting overdue debts will be added to the amount outstanding.
  • If there appears to be an error on the students account, provide relevant details by email to zion@northcity.co.nz so that the error can be investigated by appropriate staff.
  • Provide constructive feedback and consultation when appropriate but respect Zion’s decisions and processes.
  • Engage with staff constructively to resolve any concerns or issues that they may arise.

Q:  How do I get in touch with Zion or the Studio Manager

A:   Carissa can be contacted by email or phone (see our Contact Us details).  All Zion staff work part-time, so will not always be available to respond to you immediately.  Carissa will usually be working Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 3:30pm -7:30pm during school terms.  She will endeavour to respond to all queries left as voicemail or email during that time.

During regular business hours outside those that Carissa is working, you can ring the studio line (375-0850) and ask to speak to Barb.  She will answer your question if possible, but may have to refer you on to Carissa for some things.

We do our best to keep everyone informed via the website and facebook pages, so many queries will be answered by checking those out first.

IMPORTANT – Please respect the fact that staff do not work 24-7 and and you should not expect to text converse with them or get reponses to any emails at times that are clearly not working hours.  Nor is it appropriate to private message staff using their personal facebook or email unless specifically invited to.


Q:  I’m in a beginner class, what should I expect?

A:   The previous expectations notwithstanding, a beginner class should look like this…

  • Start: Teachers take a roll and greet you in the café area before moving from the café area through to the studio.
  •  Warm up: The warm-up will be approximately 10 minutes long, consisting of simple moves to get the body working and a stretch to ensure that muscles are not strained during class.
  •  Teaching: Each week a new set will be learned; working towards the class’s dance piece in the end of term concert.  Previously learned sets will also be practiced and critiqued, so children need to practice these at home each week.

Q:  I’m in an advanced class, what should I expect?

A:  An advanced class is designed to teach advanced urban/hip hop dance and techniques.  Sometimes these classes have been previously referred to as “competition classes”, but it is not the specific aim of the class that it is in preparation for a competition. (Please refer to the “Competition section” below for more info on Dance competitions).

Advanced classes are for those who desire to progress a higher level of dance ability.  They are longer in duration than the beginner class to include more teaching time and body conditioning, to help facilitate these goals.

A breakdown of the advanced class should look like this…

  •  Start: Students are greeted by teacher in the café area and any discussions will take place there before moving through to the studio to begin dancing.
  •  Warm up: An advanced warm-up could include running or jumping to get the body moving, it may also include some technique practice through repeated simple moves.
  •  Strengthening: Strengthening drills of the abdominals, legs and arms may be completed to music. Strength in the core and main muscles of the body will help students to execute moves to the best of their ability and improve their overall performance.
  •  Teaching: Students will learn advanced sets throughout the term in preparation for the concert. They will need to practice these at home during the week and then teachers will critique the sets in class (not re-teach them!).

Q:  What is the deal with competitions?

A:  At Zion we have a good record of producing competition crews that have performed and placed at numerous competitions around the country.  However, we also have learned some lessons during these experiences and we feel it’s important that our stance towards competitions is communicated well.  Please ensure that you understand the following:

We do encourage the crews to participate in competitions, but as a studio we cannot take sole responsibility to plan, organise and manage all logistics required – specifically with regard to travel, accommodation and fundraising.  Our staff are all part-time and need input and support from students and their families to make events happen.  However, guidelines and communication will be in place so that we are all on the same page and working as one whanau toward goals.

Competitions fall outside of our employment agreements with the teachers, meaning that a teacher’s attendance of a competition with any crew is completely voluntary and a personal, rather than an employment, commitment.  Often the teachers will be part of competitions by choice.  It should also be noted that if a teacher is at a competition to perform themselves, they may choose to focus primarily on that purpose and not necessarily be available to work with their students.

Zion Studios will endeavour to have a senior staff member or other suitably appointed person available to liaise with parents and caregivers during events and competitions, but their primary focus will be making sure that event and external commitments are met. Primary care of students during competitions is the responsibility of  parents and caregivers, with crew members expected to help and support each other as well as those in other crews.

Students, families and others attending a competition or event as part of Zion will be expected to act in alignment with Zion’s values and guidelines.  Competitions are by nature high stress environments.  Disruptive or negative behaviour or actions that are contrary to instruction or the rules that have been stipulated either before or during the event will not be tolerated and any such action by a student (or, in some cases their parent, caregiver or family member) may result in the student being withdrawn from the event.  This is not an action that will be undertaken lightly, but will be determined by the event or trip management team in consideration of the impact of the offending behaviour on the wider group.


Q:  What if there is a concern or issue?

A:   There are a number of things that can cause concerns that need to be addressed, but generally resolution for all of them comes down to being able to positively engage in conversations to resolve the issue.  On the rare occasions that a serious incident occurs, it will be treated as prescribed within the relevant Child & Vulnerable Person policy or Health & Safety policy.

In general situations though:

If a teacher or staff member has concern about a behaviour, attitude or incident involving a student, they will initially try to deal with it directly with the student in a relational manner.  Should that not be successful in resolving the issue, they will consult with the Studio Manager to determine the next steps – which will be dependent on the nature of the issue and the to-date level of response from the student to the concerns.  On occasion, the issue may be significant or recurring regularly, regardless of attempts made to address it.  The Studio Manager will likely contact the student’s parent/s or caregiver/s to discuss the matter with them.  The aim of any such meeting is to constructively engage in finding a solution to the issue and allow the student to continue to be a part of Zion Studios.  These meetings will be – wherever possible – in person, rather than by telephone, text or email to ensure that communication can be clear and appropriate.

If a student has a concern or conflict with another student or teacher, wherever possible they should talk TO that person rather than ABOUT that person, having an appropriate mediator present if necessary.  Gossip, gathering ‘sides’ and complaints made inappropriately are unacceptable.  Where the issue is of a serious nature, they should approach the Studio Manager to help them to determine the next steps.  If the concern is regarding the Studio Manager, they should talk to their parent/caregiver or a teacher.

If a parent or caregiver has any concern, they should address it to the Studio Manager in the first instance.  If they are uncomfortable doing this or unsatisfied with the response, they should contact Barb Watson – 03 375 0850 or barbara@northcity.co.nz

On no occasion is it appropriate for a conflict, complaint or concern to be aired in a public forum such as social media rather than in discussion with the relevant person.  The credibility of the complaint is difficult to justify if it is not one which is worth dealing with in an appropriate manner.