High on dance

Ninety students are about to hit the stage and share their sheer love of dancing, reports Judith Ritchie.

A group of dancers aged from tiny tots of four to senior students of 18 aim to share the complete delight the dancers feel when on stage at the Theatre Royal.

Dance is Contagious, led by Wakatu Dance Theatre’s director, Peta Spooner, celebrates dance in all it’s forms and allows each student to shine on stage.

“There is always an energetic, fun and friendly atmosphere on stage, while maintaining the highest levels of professionalism and we love to dance and it’s contagious.” says Spooner.

The music has been chosen by the group to reflect their favourite tunes, while dancers will mix ages with some senior students leading and assisting the younger ones.

“Music and dance goes side by side to move us and entertain us and most importantly for everyone to enjoy,” says Spooner. “If it inspires people, great. We hope it will give the audience an insight to our philosophy and sense of community.”

Costumes are set to delight the audience while the Theatre Royal will provide the perfect venue for students to dance in a professional theatre setting while performing on stage for an audience.

Jessica Tuhua, age 9, who has been dancing in the studio for six years, is really looking forward to dancing on the Theatre Royal stage.

Junior dancers from the Wakatu Dance Theatre will perform in Dance is Contagious, opening at the Theatre Royal next Thursday evening
Junior dancers from the Wakatu Dance Theatre will perform in Dance is Contagious, opening at the Theatre Royal next Thursday evening

“I get really excited as the show is coming up, because I like being in front of large audiences,” says Jessica. “The show helps you get better because you know that your dancing is going to be presented in front of heaps of people.”

She says the opportunity also encourages students to perfect their moves, while basking on a stage aglow with lights.

“You just dance to the music, letting it flow through your body. It’s loveliness above all loveliness, and magic to be part of something so big.”

Dance is Contagious, Wakatu Dance Theatre, Theatre Royal, Rutherford St, Nelson. Thursday September 8, 7pm, Friday, 7pm, Saturday, 1.30pm & 7pm. Tickets from theatre phone: 03 548 3840, or online: TicketDirect, adult $20, senior $16, student $12

Source: The Nelson Mail


Dance Is Contagious!  Thu 8 Sep – Sat 10 Sep

Dance is joyous and contagious! It can happen anywhere, at anytime, with anyone and everyone and Wakatu Dance Theatre dance joins us and pushes us to go further! “There is always an energetic, fun and friendly atmosphere on stage, while maintaining the highest levels of professionalism” Director Peta Spooner
We love to dance and it’s contagious!

The show is at the Theatre Royal on the 8th, 9th and 10th of September with two shows on Saturday 10th. More info on times and rehearsals below including a full timeline from week 2 through to the show in week 7.

From week 2
You will see there are two classes for grade 2- Intermediate to attend. We tried really hard to get it down to just one class per week but at their level now there’s just too much to get through and we don’t want them to miss out on any opportunities.

  • Monday 5 – 6pm
  • Wednesday 4.15 – 5.45pm


Saturday rehearsals (August 6, 13, 20, 27 and September 3)

  • 12-1pm pre school, primary, grade 1 ballet
  • 1-2.30pm grade 2, grade 3, grade 4, all jazz grades
  • 1-3pm seniors (intermediate, advanced 1 and 2 ballet, contemporary and jazz)


Rehearsals at Theatre Royal

  • Monday 5th September: dress rehearsal from 5pm (time tbc)
  • Tuesday 6th: full dress rehearsal from 5pm (times tbc)
  • Wednesday 7th – night off. seniors on call – time tbc
  • Thursday 8th – opening night! Arrive at 6pm, show at 7pm, leave theatre approximately 8.30pm (pre school, primary, grade 1 home at half time, 7.45pm)
  • Friday 9th, Saturday 10th – same as Thursday
  • Saturday 10th matinee- arrive at theatre at 12.30pm, show at 1pm, leave theatre at approximately 3pm (pre school, primary, grade 1 home at half time, 2.15pm)



All families are invited to a function after the final show on Saturday night for an informal get together/celebration. Drinks and bar snacks will be available to purchase (venue to be confirmed)

  • Monday 5th and Sunday 11th – pack in and out of the theatre.

No dancing week after the show (12 – 16th September). Two more weeks of the term after that, I will confirm the timetable closer to the time. (Exam preparation for grades Primary, 1 and 2, ballet and modern jazz).


HELP!! Each age group has a coordinator who will liaise with us and you to make sure everyone has what they need and are informed of any changes. There will also be a small team of parents working with the coordinators to share the load.

Some of the jobs will be: phoning families to notify them of changes, labelling costumes, fitting students into costumes, sewing (machine and hand stitching jobs)… Please let Peta or myself know if you can help asap.

There will also be a roster of backstage helpers for theatre rehearsals and shows put up closer to the time. Jobs such as side of stage, runners, dressing room, sign in desk, security… Please have a think about what dates might suit you to help on show week.

These shows cannot happen without parent help. Thanks in advance for helping make this show happen

SHOW FEES are now due. $40 per junior student, $60 per senior. Registration forms were handed out in week 9 last term. Please bring cash or cheque along to class. NO direct debits for show fees please.

I will be making a final order before the show on 10 August 2016 (order forms in Studio 1). I do carry some stock but to ensure we have what you need please send your uniform order in to: info@petaspooner.co.nz or leave in Studio 1. Please note payments must be made to: Wakatu Uniform Account: 06-0705-0314982-28 prior to delivery.

Please check with your co-ordinator or teacher if you are unsure what you are required to supply.

  • Ballet – Faith Navy leotard (jnr) or Bronwyn Black leotard (snrs), flesh coloured tights and ballet flats
  • Jazz – (same leotard and convertible tights as for Ballet), Jazz leggings with fitted legs, black hot pants, black jazz shoes with elastic NOT laces!, knee pads (snrs or as advised by teacher).

Please note: Grade 4 upwards are required to have a body suit for under costumes (or if you are wearing a tutu).

I do have a number (varying sizes) of second hand jazz shoes for sale if you are interested. Please email if you are interested.

SHOW TICKETS – tickets are now on sale at the Theatre Royal for the Show. There are approximately 1400 tickets to sell so please spread the word and try to sell as many as you can to friends and family (thats about 12 per dancer)!

There are many expenses with a show. Our shows would not be possible without your support. If you are interested in sponsoring a newspaper advert or simply would like to offer a donation to assist, we would be very grateful. A huge THANK YOU in advance.

Our goal is for students and their families to have a positive experience while being exposed to a professional theatre setting. We are ALWAYS kind to the young students and demand that any helpers are too which makes for a safe and happy environment. This comes first before having polished dances I’m sure any families who have been involved in the past will agree that being part of our shows makes the most wonderful memories and friendships.

Thanks for reading, I know it’s a lot of info! Just let us know if you have any questions.

Exam dates end of November – beginning of December.

TERM FEES are due at the beginning of the term. $120 per student. Please make payment at class or by Internet banking: Student’s name as reference. Thank you.

….. now ON WITH THE SHOW!!!!!

Yours in dance, Peta

2016 Exam/Show dates

Welcome to 2016 at Peta Spooner Academy of Dance and The Wakatu Dance Theatre.

We have two very important changes for this year:
1. After eight years, we have made an increase in the term fees- $120 per term per class, pre-school $70. See Fee structure on enrolment form.
2. Parents will be welcome to view your child’s class in the last week of each term. I’m happy to discuss with parents why we have made this decision.

A huge welcome to Austin Benjamin Gregory, Jane and Alistair’s baby boy!

Exams approx dates June/July and November 2016.
Show dates September 2016!!!!!!!!!

2016 start 2 Feb

Enrolment day on Thursday the 28th of January, 4-6pm at the studio – looking forward to seeing you all there to find out your class details. This is a great time to have a chat with Peta, Jane and Valerie and ask questions – once classes are underway it’s quite hard to pin us down!  Classes begin 2 February after the Nelson Anniversary holiday.  Click here for the latest timetable.

Acc: 06-0705-0097359-00 For term fees only.

Slave to the Rhythm 23-25 July 2015

Coming to the Theatre Royal! 23rd – 25th July 2015. Tickets on sale now.
This promises to be another spectacular show full of energy and fun for all ages. ‘Slave to the Rhythm’ is a selection of popular/viral songs from different eras and genres. Peta is known for giving each and every child the opportunity to shine which goes inline with her philosophy that every child should get to experience the joy of dance!

What captures our interest when we hear a piece of music? Is it the sound? Or the beat? …… we think it is the rhythm! So we aim to bring a variety of rhythms that have captured peoples hearts through the generations, making us all …….. a Slave To The Rhythm!

Theatre Royal link to tickets: http://www.theatreroyalnelson.co.nz/show/slave-to-the-rhythm/

If you have not registered for the Show we may not know about you and no provisions have been made for costumes! You MUST registered to be able to participate in the Show! $40 – Jnr – $60 Snr See your teacher today!!!!!

SHOW REHEARSALS 2nd Week of July Holidays!
Wednesday: Seniors – 12.30 – 3pm
Thurs, Fri, Sat:
12 – 1.30pm – Preschool, Primary, Grade 1, 2 & 3 Ballet
1 – 3.30pm – Grade 4, 5, Intermediate, Adv 1 & 2 Ballet
1 – 3.30pm – Grade 1, 2, 5, Intermediate, Adv 1 & 2 Jazz

Next Tuesday 30 June primary, grade 1,2 and 3 students come at the earlier time of 3.30pm. Even if your usual time is 4.15pm. This is to allow for costume fitting. Please bring a named coat hanger and bag (eco bags or a plastic bag.) It will be left with your coordinator for your show gear.

ALL students will need their own red lipstick (no sharing please) and a spare pair of tights from at first rehearsals. These will be left in the students bag until after the show. If you require tights, please email info@petaspooner.co.nz with your order or complete a form at the studio.

Help is needed for Mon, Tues Rehearsals & Thurs, Fri, Sat nights and Sat matinee performance. We are looking for helpers to assist:
– Dressing room helpers – contact your group coordinator
– Sign In/Sign Out Door – contact info@petaspooner.co.nz
– Back Stage Callers – contact info@petaspooner.co.nz
– Show Party Organiser & Helpers – contact info@petaspooner.co.nz

Meeting for co-ordinators of each grade Wednesday, 1st July 2015 – 6.30pm in Studio 1 to go through process for the Show and what is required. NB: This is for people who have been advised they are co-ordinators only. Parents of dancers will be contacted by their group co-odinator with further information.

Mon & Tues – Dress Rehearsal
Arrive – 4.30pm for Start 5.30pm
Preschool – home – 6.30pm
Primary & Grade 1 – home – 7.30pm
Everyone else – home 8.30pm

Wed 22 Jul – Rest Day – Seniors on call back

Thurs, Fri, Sat – Evening Shows
Arrive @ Theatre Royal back door – 6pm
Show Starts – 7pm
Half time – 7.50 – Little ones can go home **
Show Ends – 8.30/9.45pm

Sat – Matinee
Arrive @ Theatre Royal back door – 12.30pm
Show Stars – 1.30pm
Half time – 2.20pm **
Show ends – 3/3.15pm
** Let your coordinator know if you will be collecting your little one at this time.

Professionally filmed and edited DVDs will be available. Orders received NO LATER THAN end of day, Tuesday 21st July 15. PAYMENT – $25 – Cash or Cheques only to: Fraser Heal Box will be at Studio last week school holidays and security desk at Theatre Royal with envelope supplied up to final rehearsal night. Any queries see Fraser Heal – video@fraserheal.co.nz – 027 325 1626

After matinee performance at the studio at 3.30pm. Bring a plate of healthy (ish) food/finger food (drink supplied)
Viewing of the 1st edit of the show dvd. Any parents able to help with the organisation of this please speak to Peta.

For everyone wanting to join us (students welcome with their parents) after the final show on Saturday night.

Warmest Peta & Jane