Ki te kore nga putake e mākukungia e kore te rakau e tupuawaes
If the roots of the tree are not watered the tree will never grow

At Zion Studios, we are committed to helping develop fully rounded young people who can contribute positively to their environment and community. This was one of the reasons why Zion was created and we continue to build programmes that reflect this. At Zion, our management staff, teachers and interns are in a very privileged position to have a real opportunity to feed into the lives of young people.  We believe that by nurturing our young people, using dance as the mechanism to teach them about themselves and others, we can all be a part of growing strong, resilient, positive communities.

All Zion students not only enjoy investment in their dance skills, but also in their personal confidence and provision of a space to express personal growth in a physical manner.  NOIZ Academy takes this further by proactively incorporating aspects of the Te Whare Tapa Wha model.  This model of working with people was created by Mason Durie in 1982 and has been used ever since to help understand health and what can help an individual to have good health.

Te Whare Tapa Wha is based on the four pillars of the wharenui (meeting house).  Just as each corner of the house must be strong and balanced to hold its structure, each dimension of well-being must be balanced for good health to exist. The four aspects of Te Whare Tapa Wha are; taha tinana (physical health), taha whanau (family and relationships), taha wairua (spirituality) and taha hinengaro (mental health).

This fits perfectly with our intention to help people to grow in a way that is mindful of their balanced wellbeing so is an ideal model from us to draw on for our NOIZ Academy and other leadership development programmes.

What is NOIZ Academy?

NOIZ Academy (ZION spelled backwards) is a programme dedicating time where all advanced students will learn together and strengthen the family atmosphere at Zion Studios.  It is a big achievement as well as a big responsibility to be a part of an advanced crew and NOIZ academy. We want to provide students with further support in a more holistic manner to help them achieve their goals and dreams, both for themselves and as a part of Zion Studios.

How we aim to do this:

  • To holistically develop each dancer involved by incorporating times to explore life skills and life events that our group may be experiencing (taha hinengaro and taha wairua) and to collectively develop and invest in each other.
  • To strengthen the relationships and family vibe of Zion by helping students get to know each other and support one and other through open and safe communication and learning opportunities (taha whanau) undertaken with other students and teachers beyond their individual crews.
  • To further strengthen Zion values in our studio (taha wairua, taha whanau and taha hinengaro).
  • To further strengthen and develop the skill levels of each dancer and their learning capacity (taha tinana).
  • To build an understanding of what it looks and feels like to be part of a positive, engaged community

What will this look like?

We will run NOIZ sessions from 6:00-7:30pm weekly on a Monday night during the Zion term – other than on the first Monday of term.

Typically, NOIZ sessions will begin with a portion of sharing time where a Zion staff member or guest speaker will speak about a life experience or life value, or we will run an activity based around various relevant topics.  Students then have the opportunity to talk about these or other topics as needed in small groups with Zion staff members or appointed delegates.

After that we will have some kind of dance based development. This time may consist of encouraging confidence when free-styling, building ton technique aspects, learning or creating choreography, working in larger groups or smaller groups to create or learn their own dances, learning other styles of dance and hip hop or learning about other aspects of dance performance such as styling or music choices.  Dance sessions will be taken by Zion teachers or a guest teacher.

Occasionally we will become aware of a particular issue that is impacting our students – eg. an event at school or creating waves via social media – that we invite expert professionals to explore in a NOIZ session.  If this is considered a sensitive topic all parents/caregivers may be required to give specific approval in advance for their student to attend this session.  Alternatives will be provided for students who don’t receive permission for this teaching.

Where appropriate we will mix age groups to create a mentoring atmosphere, particularly in times of dance learning.

To further invest in the community awareness and participation of NOIZ Academy members, we ask each dancer to participate with their crew in volunteer work at least once per year. Ideas include serving food at Ronald McDonald House, performing or teaching at community events or a local school, gardening or picking up rubbish at a “Greening the Rubble” location; or anything else that helps and serves people other than the students immediate friends and family. Each crew is encouraged to come up with their own ideas and discuss them with the Studio Administrator and arrangements will be made from there.