14 Nov

Jo Davies – I loved the chance to go away with my daughter, just focussing on her passions and dreams

“Mum can we pleeeeease go to the meeting?” way back in April last year my daughter Grace asked me. “It’s about a really cool dance tour to L.A.”

Sigh. Hopefully the meeting will be a drag, Grace will be bored, and that will be the end of that I thought, as off we trotted to the meeting at our local dance studio one cold, bleak, mid-week night.

Well, the bleakness evaporated as quickly as a fairy godmother can turn a pumpkin into a glittering carriage when Kim Davey appeared like a vision in front of us. I kept looking to see if there were Disney birds following in her wake.

She had us all absolutely entranced. Enthusiastic, articulate, beautiful, radiant, gentle, organised, sincere, intelligent, genuine… this woman glows with a passion that only living one’s life purpose can give.  Kim told us about her dream to provide young kiwi teenagers with the opportunity to experience the performing arts outside of NZ. An opportunity that she never had (as a young girl with an absolute passion for performing). Her dream turned into a business, law was subsequently ditched, and before long ‘World Class Dance Tours’ was up and running and young teenagers interested in the performing arts now get to experience the trip of a lifetime.

Grace and I signed up immediately after that meeting. My thought was: here is an incredible female role model that I (without a doubt) want Grace to have in her life.

What impressed me was how everything that Kim outlined in that first meeting was exactly how it was.  Actually it may have even been better.  She promised and delivered, massively.

I loved and was hugely grateful for the attention to detail, the efficiency, the low (actually No) stress, but most of all the FUN! Kim knows teenagers AND parents so she nails the fun for the teens and the superb organisation for the parents. Actually the parents enjoyed the fun too 🙂

The experience the students gain is outstanding, opportunities to learn with top of their game choreographers very few would ever get a chance to learn from, dancing “stages” to perform on like Disneyland (!!) and Hollywood Boulevard (!!) and even the U.S. television programme Dancing With the Stars (!!!!!) Does it get any more fabulous? I have never seen a group of young teenage girls so excited, so happy, so optimistic, forming such close friendships, developing incredible skills, and having an amazing holiday at the same time.

I also loved the chance to go away with my daughter, just focussing on her passions and dreams. Magical. It’s not an opportunity that presents itself often, for that length of time. I loved being a witness to her literally maturing in front of my eyes. Seeing her blossom in the workshops, gain confidence, work hard, I loved listening to her talk about some long term goals she now had, and see her utter contentment at being amongst “her tribe”. I loved seeing her be herself.

I also really enjoyed being a chaperone! I decided while at Universal studios (Oh did I mention that? Amongst all the dancing we also got to play at theme parks…) Anyway, 13-17 year old teenage girls are perfect theme park companions. Still with the excitement of a young child but with the maturity of an adult, it was just constant joy, fun, and laughter, but if they disappeared it was not a drama. Also they can manage their own food, hydration, sun block, and go on the really scary rides by themselves. It’s excellent.

I need to mention the tour guides, as they were another highlight for me. Kim has a little team working with her and the 3 tour guides on our trip I now consider good friends.  Passionate about what they do, they share the same interests and skills as the teenagers, so the bonding was instant. Again they quickly became role models for our daughters and had such a refreshing freshness and optimism about them that I came away from the trip feeling as though the world is an exciting place for our kids to be becoming adults in. I think that was the biggest gift for me, when the world can feel a bit bleak and the outlook seem a bit grim, World Class Dance Tours shows you that this is definitely not the case.

The world is full of, and bursting with opportunities, fun and adventure.

Live one’s dream.

It’s what we are put on the planet to do.

And be kind to one another.

This was the gift World Class Dance Tours gave Grace and I.

(PS We loved the trip so much, we have just signed up for the New York one next year!)

Jo Davies, Chaperone

NZ Open Team, April 2017

14 Nov

Kate Reid – This trip really was the trip of a lifetime

I remember seeing the note from Performance Net over a year ago, to come and meet the wonderful Kim Davey and find out about World Class Dance Tours and a trip of a lifetime.  Kim addressed a school hall full of mums, dads and children wannabes with a captivating presence and infectious passion for taking what you love (dance) and turning that into a career.  Mia my daughter who was 12 years old at the time left this session in complete awe of Kim and pleading with me to let her and her sister (Ella age 10 yrs) go on this tour.  Mia could not stop speaking about it for days ‘Mummy, dancing is all I’ve ever wanted to do, I want this more than anything, I’ll do chores!’.

So, mum and dad caved and we decided to take the plunge, start saving and sign up.  We also decided to take my Mum – Marnie (Age 72 years) and let granny be part of the girls on tour!

To be honest, I initially thought it was going to be a bit over organised, like going on a tour group where you don’t have any flexibility to do your own thing and I was worried that for the investment, we could have put that towards a family trip.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.

This trip really was the trip of a lifetime.  Kim and Tiffany our guides (and now friends) were absolutely amazing.  No stone was left unturned and each day was more amazing than the first.   They completely exceeded our expectations – from dancing workshops (Latin, Twerking, Hip Hop, Jazz Funk), to performing on Hollywood Boulevard, to being in a live televised performance of Dancing with the Stars to dancing on the stage at Disneyland – it just kept getting better.  I would recommend the trip to anyone who has boys or girls who love to dance.  The workshops with professional dancers were so professional, exposing the kids to performance and dance that ‘gets under your skin’.  Each session was high energy and the teaching was amazing.  The children were kept busy every day, but seemed to have endless energy despite full days of dancing – easy to do when you love what you are doing with inspiring teachers.

From a personal point of view, it was such a fantastic experience to be able to take my Mum on tour as a family member. Kim and Tiff looked after her so well and included her in everything.  She felt very special and thoroughly enjoyed being part of this amazing experience with her granddaughters.  For her it was a trip of a lifetime and she is already trying to persuade her Mahjong group to sign up for the over 40’s trip to Rio!

Thank you Kim and Tiffany for making our time with you so rewarding, for all the organising that went in behind the scenes to make our trip seem hassle-free.  Tiffany you have an amazingly positive spirit and you were such an inspiration to our girls, we miss you a lot.

Mia and Ella have built amazing friendships with everyone who went on tour, friendships to treasure and nurture for a lifetime.  I’m sure we will all be planning our next tour so we can build on our first one.  Thanks to Clare our amazing dance teacher at Performance Net for investing so much of yourself in coaching our children to be the best they could be.  Thanks to Tracey & Mike Stretton for an incredible performance school that has exposed Mia and Ella to a wonderful family and incredible experiences – thanks for taking the risk to sign Performance Net up to the L.A. Dance Tour.

Kate Reid, Chaperone

Pform.nz, April 2017

14 Nov

Abby Hewitt – Incredible, Inspiring and soo much FUN!!

If I could describe this tour in three words, I would choose incredible, inspiring and so much FUN! I recently went on the Los Angeles 2017 tour and I can safely say it was the best trip and experience of my life! The things I learned and gained from being a part of it will stay with me my whole life, it was so so eye opening and such great exposure to the professional dance world.

The opportunities on tour were unbelievable! I loved that we got to attend so many classes, workshops and personal development sessions with such incredible, professional and inspiring people. I had so much fun taking classes, sightseeing, going to the theme parks, and lots (and lots) of shopping! We danced at amazing studios that, before the tour I had dreamed of dancing at, like IDA, Edge Performing Arts Centre and Millennium! I also absolutely looooved all the shopping! And I loved going to the theme parks like Universal Studios and Disneyland, and doing the must-do’s in LA like Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, Hollywood Boulevard and the Abby Lee Dance Company was all pretty amazing. Not to mention going to a live taping of Dancing with the Stars, and actually getting to be in it! The level of dance over there is so intense and it was so much fun to be a part of it. It was also crazy to come home and see TV shows/ads, movies, celebrity posts from LA and be able to say “I’ve been there!”!

The WCDT team is absolutely amazing. Everything was so organised and thought-out! I always felt prepared for every day because they did such a great job at keeping us informed of everything we were doing. There was something planned for us every day which I loved. The tour managers are so lovely and positive and such awesome people. I had heaps of fun getting to know them and sharing some pretty funny stories with them. They were always so helpful in answering and sorts of questions we had and I learnt so much about LA life from them!

I am so grateful for the people I met and what they taught me. I met my best friends while training for this tour, and became so much closer with them on the tour. I love that WCDT was what allowed me to do so! The dance teachers and instructors we worked with were so inspiring and we learned crazy amazing things from them. Everything from the life lessons to the choreography to the way of thinking in LA is so fresh and new and unlike anything else. I had so much fun getting to talk to people that live in LA like waiters at restaurants and shop keepers on the boulevard! They were always so fascinated by us Kiwis and we had some really interesting conversations with them.

As someone who wants a career in the performing arts, everything I gained from this tour was so valuable and is the best possible way to dive right in to the professional dance world and the opportunities it has to offer. We worked with people that are/were working professional dancers in the industry. Another pretty awesome thing about this tour was coming home and looking at viral dance videos and videos that my favourite dancers/choreographers have posted, and realising that they were filmed in the very studios that we danced in!

I learned the most about dance, motivation and myself in those 12 days than I ever could have imagined. You get exposed to so many new ways of thinking about your dancing, your career paths and mostly your life! This tour has taught me to always put in 100% of myself into anything I do and never hold back, because “how you do anything is how you do everything”. I learned about how important it is to set goals for yourself and to believe in them. Since doing the tour, everything I learned has made me work so much harder and think so much more productively and feel so much more motivated! This is so much more than just a dance tour. I came home from the trip and applied everything I learned to everything I do and I can feel so much improvement.

It really will change your life! I came home feeling, and still feel so inspired and I’m buzzing with everything I learned. You meet so many inspiring people and learn so so many things and the experiences and memories will truly last you your life. I can’t thank WCDT enough for giving me the experience and opportunity they did. I will always always remember everything about this tour and continue to apply it to everythingI do. It is absolutely worth doing, I 100000% recommend it and can guarantee it will change your life as much as it changed mine.

Abby Hewitt, Dancer

Pform.nz, April 2017

06 Mar

Bryce Campbell – It will be life changing!

Hi all, I’m Bryce Campbell from Tauranga, NZ…

Early in 2014 my daughter Isla Campbell came home excited about the prospect of the performing arts classes of Otumoetai College touring to LA in 2015. So who’s this World Class Dance Tours I say? Lots of questions and anyway a few weeks later a very excited lady called Kim gave us an AMAZING presentation. Yes the word amazing has come up lots, before during and after this trip. Chaperones where also required and to cut a long story short I joined in and in July 2015 off we went! I was excited about the tourist attractions but as I learnt, this trip was soooo much more than that!

As a parent you can have your doubts about these things but I can honestly say this experience was worth it’s weight in gold for us all. Kim packs sooooo much in it’s quite amazing. We were all worn out and slept well on the flight home, something I usually find difficult to do.

As Isla has written she since been back to LA and studied for three months at one of the studios you get to dance at on tour (IDA). I am very proud of her development along with the on going support Kim offers. The even bumped into each other in LA!!!

In short, this tour is quite possibly one of the best things your teenager will ever get the opportunity to do. It will be life changing an is an excellent investment in their future.

Love the on going contact and support past tour participants too.

Yes Kim….. it was AMAZING!


Bryce Campbell

09 Feb

Isla Campbell – Sometimes you just need that little reminder that you are good enough

My name is Isla Campbell, I’m from Tauranga, New Zealand and I went on the LA tour in July 2015. I started dancing from a very young age and there’s nothing in this world that I love more, it is my absolute passion and I’ve known for a very long time that I want to make a career out of it.
When I first heard about the tour I knew I had to go. Dancing at some of the biggest studios in LA such as, IDA, Millennium and The Edge, plus going to Disney Land, Universal Studios and shopping until I drop, I mean what more could a girl want? It seemed like a dream come true. But what we experienced on this wonderful tour was so much more, and the best part? World Class Dance Tours made it a reality.

One of my favourite things about this tour was most definitely all the classes I got to take. screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-5-33-08-pmBut it wasn’t just about taking part in a lesson, it was about meeting insanely talented dancers and choreographers who got to share their knowledge and their journey with us, how they got to where they are now. Everyone’s journey is so different and it’s so amazing to be able to learn from these people. I really wanted to take in all this information and let it inspire and motivate me to become nothing but the absolute best I can be. I loved every class I took, from ballet to hip hop to burlesque and even twerking! But my favourite class I took was Jazz funk with the incredible Michael Silas, seen in the photo on the right.

Not all of it was what I was used to, I got to explore different styles and was forced to step out of my comfort zone.

screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-5-33-22-pmAnother highlight of the tour would have to be dancing on Hollywood boulevard. The fact that I got to dance on Hollywood boulevard itself was amazing but the amount of people that stopped and watched us was even crazier. It was an experience I will never forget. Dancing aside, we can’t forget about the tourist activities! Because this was my first over seas trip it was my first time going to Disney Land, so I was very excited as I’m sure you can imagine. Getting the opportunity to dance on the stage there was pretty special too. It’s true what they say, it really is thescreen-shot-2017-02-09-at-5-33-33-pm happiest place on earth. I also loved universal studios and the Warner Bro’s studio tour. The shopping was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed our day at Santa Monica, soaking up the beautiful Cali sun on the beach and exploring the Pier.

We also got to see a musical which was Hairspray, now that really made me want to boogie! I was so into it the whole time I wanted to get up and dance with them and then at the very end of the show I remember the cast picking audience members out to have a groove with them on stage, I was straight up there of course. But my absolute favourite thing about this whole trip was seeing So You Think You Can Dance live. This was the most exciting thing for me because I love this programme so much and I’ve been watching it for years. I never thought I’d get to see it live.

I got a lot out of this tour. It really opened up my eyes and I realised there’s much more to this industry than I originally thought. I love New Zealand and it’s a lovely place but there definitely aren’t opportunities here like there are in LA, it really is the place to be for a career in this industry.

screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-5-36-04-pmThe motivational coaching sessions we had were an extremely helpful touch, sometimes you just need that little reminder that you are good enough and you can do anything you set your mind to. Too much positivity definitely never hurt anyone and I loved the constant inspiration and motivation.

Since doing this tour I have been back to LA and studied full time at IDA in the Certificate Program. I just loved it so much the first time I couldn’t wait to get back over there, so I moved to the other side of the world for three months to live my dream. I met some incredible people and made life long connections that I screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-5-36-16-pmcherish very much. I improved and grew so much and not only as a dancer but as a person. I hope to go back as soon as possible and maybe one day even get a working visa.

I am so thankful for the opportunity to do this tour, it is definitely worth doing and I’m so beyond happy to have experienced it.

screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-5-36-25-pmThank you to Kim for giving me and many other young dancers such an amazing opportunity and unforgettable experience. And thank you for the constant love and support even two years after doing the tour.

Isla Campbell

07 Feb

Kristi Dahm – I came home more determined than ever ….

I was lucky enough to be accepted onto two World Class Dance Tour’s, and experience the dance industry in Sydney, Australia in 2013, and Los Angeles, United States in 2014.

What attracted me to this company was the vast range of dance opportunities which were offeredscreen-shot-2017-02-10-at-5-53-00-pm on each tour. There were opportunities to experience dance classes from world class choreographers, at many different well known studios. In Sydney these included Urban Dance Centre and Brent Street, and in LA The Edge, Millennium and IDA Hollywood. Not only were multiple classes in a range of different genre scheduled daily, we also had the freedom to choose classes which we wanted to take. Add in plenty of extra time for sightseeing in these incredible places, and we found ourselves a part of an incredible tour. As part of the Sydney tour, you visit places such as the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Opera House, Bondi Beach, and Taronga Zoo. In Los Angeles, the group accommodation is a meer two-minute walk from the bustling Hollywood Boulevard. Here you get to experience tours around Beverly Hills, Warner Bro’s, visit Universal Studios, the Hollywood sign, and of course, Disneyland, CA.

screen-shot-2017-02-10-at-5-50-47-pmI found both tours to be absolutely fantastic, and one of the best opportunities I have ever had. Once on tour, daily schedules were prepared and handed out the evening before, which outlined the plan for the next day (which dance classes we would take, approximate times, what we needed to bring with us etc). I always felt prepared for what was coming next. Kim has a real gift with people which allows her to communicate effectively with many different ages. Her organisation is impeccable, which meant I was always well informed about what was required and expected of us at all times. Her bubbly and outgoing personality made me feel comfortable and relaxed, which resulted in many laughs throughout the tour.

The highlights for me, were taking classes in LA at the Edge Studios and Millennium Dance Complex. I had grown up hearing about these amazing studios where famous singers and actors had trained, so couldn’t wait to experience classes there for myself.

It was everything I had expected and more. At first I struggled to pick up the choreography as their screen-shot-2017-02-10-at-5-53-11-pmteachers taught a lot faster than many in New Zealand, however I found myself thriving in the classes and really being challenged. Amongst many dancers from all over the world, I also managed to find myself in the same contemporary class as the lead female dancer in the movie Step Up: Revolution. She is one of my idols so getting to dance in the same class was inspiring. Having the opportunity to dance with someone of her importance and passion was incredible, and something which I will never forget.

As amazing as these classes were, nothing bet having the opportunity to dance at Disneyland, as well as take a workshop with one Disney’s most well-known directors. As part of this workshop we did a few combinations down the room, and then at the end were told who they would hire out of the group if it was a live audition. I found that the director would only take people that made eye contact with him when coming across the floor, which I found very interesting and certainly a tip to remember. As for dancing on the Disneyland stage, it was amazing being able to showcase our talent in front of many Disney personnel, as well as get a taste of what our life could be as a professional dancer working for Disney.

screen-shot-2017-02-10-at-5-53-19-pmWhile on the LA tour, Kim managed to organise a private audition with Princess Cruises for selected members of our tour group who potentially had a future interest in working in the entertainment industry on board ships. She also managed to find the time in our tour for us to go to a live open dance audition which Royal Caribbean Cruises were also holding over the two-week period which we were in America. From taking part in these two auditions, I learnt very quickly how intense and particular the dance world really is. A lot of the time, whether you are offered a professional dance job or not isn’t anything to do with how you dance.

Majority is how you look. What companies are looking for in particular can vary from such as hair colour, eye colour, dress size, height, weight, shoe size. More often than not, the judging panel walks into an audition room already with a pre-conceived idea on exactly what kind of dancer they are looking for. Unfortunately, 9 times out of 10, you won’t be what they are looking for, and that is the way it goes. I also learnt that when you are in a room with 100 other female dancers who are all wanting the same job, you need to find ways to make yourself stand out from the rest. The most common one being – put yourself out there and stand at the very front, right in the judging panels eye line. This will automatically make them notice you and pay attention, as you are placing yourself close to them.

This is just an example of two audition techniques which I learnt on the LA World Class Dance Tours. Byscreen-shot-2017-02-10-at-5-53-28-pm being in real audition situations, I could watch other dancer’s techniques for standing out, and who was offered professional contracts. This meant that when the time came for me to audition again, I had a head start over others who had never experienced an audition before, and apply these techniques which I learnt on the tour.

On both the Sydney and LA tour, many other seminars were run throughout the two-week period. These included money handling/management, the secret to a positive outlook on life, the importance of nutrition, vision boards, Agency talks, and many guest speakers from people who have been successful in the entertainment industry. These all provided in depth insight into some of the other aspects which go hand in hand with a successful career. I personally, found the money handling seminar interesting as it is known that dancers are never well paid. I now hold some skills which will help me to budget what I earn, as well as knowledge on how it is possible to make a low sum on money into a larger sum. I also loved learning about ‘The Secret’ and how a small change in thinking, can change your life. Through learning about this, I try and apply it to my everyday life.

Overall, both the Sydney and Los Angeles tours helped me in more ways than one. Not only did I learn many different dances from a range of well- known choreographers, I also gained audition tips, knowledge on how to handle money, the secret to a positive lifestyle, what agencies look for when they are hiring people for their books, and how many different opportunities are available for dancers. Mainly, I learnt that I can achieve anything I put my mind to.

Before I went on these tours I had a lot of self-doubt. I wasn’t even sure if dance was the right career path for me. Throughout my dance life I was constantly told that I wasn’t good enough, and was always being compared to other dancers. I came home feeling fresh, inspired and more determined than ever to make dance into a professional career.

screen-shot-2017-02-10-at-5-53-37-pmI am now currently three months into my second cruise ship contract as a production dancer, working for Costa Cruises. Working on ships is proving to be everything I thought it would be and more. Being able to do what I love in front of thousands of people every night, while travelling around Italy, France and Spain for 7 months at a time is amazing. I hope to continue working on ships for a year or two more, so that I can discover even more places in the world.

I have a lot to thank World Class Dance Tours for. Although I gained both of my cruise contracts through video audition, every live audition which I have done, I feel a lot more comfortable with since participating in these tours. Being inspired by other dancers and experiencing some of the opportunities available to dancers re-ignited my passion.

These tours created some of the best memories I have ever had, which I will carry with me. Not only do you get to travel and dance in some amazing places for two weeks, you also make friends which so many others who have the same dreams. I would recommend World Class Dance Tours in a heartbeat, as a tour that will change lives. I am very fortunate for the opportunity in which Kim gave me. She is an incredible woman to work with and this is not an opportunity you would want to miss.

– Kristi Dahm, Dancer

01 Feb

Kristie Mortimer – Life of a WCDT Team Leader

In April 2016 I experienced the trip of a lifetime. As the team leader for the Twin Cities team I took a group of 18 dancers from Auckland and Wellington on a World Class Dance Tours trip to Los Angeles. My team consisted of dancers aged from 12 to 26 years old, and what I loved most about the tour was that every member on my team thoroughly enjoyed it all, regardless of their age and experience. There are many highlights from the tour, but to name a few these include the activities and workshops, the tour managers and other tour groups, and the performances from the trip.

The tour included a large variety of activities such as Hollywood home tours, shopping trips,screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-5-48-42-pm a trip to Santa Monica Pier, theme parks and dance shows – including being in the live audience at Dancing with the Stars! Each of these activities were exciting, fun and allowed us to see a whole lot of LA. They were all very well organised and I would love to go back and do them all again. Some activities also included team bonding and personal development which were directed by the tour managers themselves. These activities allowed us get to know each other better and really inspired myself and the other dancers to aspire to the best we can be. For the Twin Cities team, the team bonding was especially useful as the Auckland and Wellington dancers on my team did not meet in person until we all arrived in LA.

In addition to all of the activities, the diverse dance workshops we attended were a huge highlight of the trip. My dancers and I learnt various genres of dance including hip hop, jazz, contemporary, burlesque and twerking, which were taught by some of the best teachers, dancers and choreographers in LA and at world renown studios such as IDA, Millennium and Edge. The workshops were fun yet challenging and all of the teachers were really happy to have us there. We also had talks from real agents and dancers from LA. These were insightful and it was really interesting to hear how the dance industry works. Two other very exciting workshops screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-5-49-49-pmwe also participated in were held at Disneyland. One was held as a mock audition, which also added to the knowledge we were gaining about dance in LA. The other was based on an aspect of dance and performance. The teacher spoke with me beforehand about our upcoming performance at Disneyland and asked if there was anything I think my team needed to work on. I suggested expressions and performance attitudes which she took on board and delivered the whole workshop around. This helped my team and I hugely not only for our performance but for each dancer individually beyond the trip also.

The people on the trip were also a significant highlight. The tour managers were all extremely helpful, knowledgeable and friendly, and really contributed to the enjoyment of the trip. They became not only staff members of the tour but great friends to all of the teams. The other teams themselves were also great to be on tour with. It was exciting to see other groups of dancers embarking on the same journey and being able to support their performances as well as having them support us.

The biggest highlight and most memorable moments of the trip were the two performances my team and I did. We performed not only at Disneyland but also on Hollywood Boulevard. Both performances were thrilling, successful and a feat that I thought would only be achieved a dream. As the team leader I was extremely happy with how my dancers performed and really enjoyed dancing alongside them. How many people can say they have performed at Disneyland and on the Hollywood Boulevard?!

Alongside the highlights, I received so much personally from the tour. The trip was inspiring and insightful, and I learnt so much. As a leader and teacher, I learnt what does and doesn’t work when leading a team on such a massive trip. I learnt how to manage two groups in two different locations (Auckland & Wellington), how to choreograph with these two groups and how to run rehearsals when two separate groups come together for the first time. Being on the tourscreen-shot-2017-02-09-at-5-50-42-pm around other dancers and teachers, and being immersed in the dance industry also inspired me to become a better teacher, and to continue to challenge, motivate and nourish my students in any way I can. As a dancer, I was given a huge insight into the dance industry and dance world in LA. With the industry being much larger and very different to the one in Auckland and throughout New Zealand there was so much to learn and take in while on tour. In two weeks I learnt many things as mentioned – different genres of dance, aspects of dancer/choreographers’ lives and the ways agencies work. This knowledge is useful in considering my own place in the dance world, but also useful to pass on to other students who may hold an interest in becoming a professional dancer. As an individual, I believe the entire trip contributed to many aspects of my professional development. This includes leadership skills through leading the

Twin Cities team; communication skills which were required between myself and the dancers, their parents, the tour managers and the other teams; self-confidence in my ability to achieve a successful performance at Disneyland and Hollywood boulevard; and many others such as time management, initiative and positive thinking.

Since being on the tour I have been able to utilize these developed skills in many areas of my life – such as when at University studying my Doctorate, lecturing a dance paper at the University of Auckland, and when teaching young people at an afterschool studio. The knowledge and advice I received while on tour continue to contribute to my dance and career aspirations. I aim to be the best teacher and dance scholar I can be, and strive to push my students in the same way while giving them the best learning opportunities. Additionally, knowing aspects of what the dance industry is like I can share my experiences and inspiration from the tour with my students.

Overall, the tour was organised and always exciting, the team managers were friendly and enthusiastic, the accommodation was comfortable and fun, and the performances were thrilling. The entire experience of the World Class Dance Tours Los Angeles tour is one I could do again and again.

Kristie Mortimer
Twin Cities Team Leader 2016

01 Feb

Hope Wylde – The most unreal thing i have ever done!

I don’t even know where to begin!!! ……..On my WCDT LA Dance Tour we stayed right in the heart of Hollywood, just a block away from the main strip, Hollywood Boulevard. We even witnessed a movie premier with the red carpet, cameras and all! even that was just an eye opener, you don’t see that everyday!

We got to take AMAZING dance classes at the top studios (IDA Hollywood, Millennium Dance Complexscreen-shot-2017-02-10-at-5-45-59-pm and Edge Pac) with top choreographers where artists such as Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Chris Brown and many more have danced and trained, you name the artist i can guarantee you they have stepped foot in these studios!

We had our own private classes with just the tour group and we also had the chance to jump in so regular classes with all the LA locals which was awesome. I cant even find the words to explain how good the dance classes were (hence why you need to go on a tour and see for yourself!) the choreographers are all such great teachers and it was really cool to experience an LA class in general.

We also had Seminars with some of the choreographers/dancers where we all just sat down in a room and they shared their experiences and jobs they’ve done such as back up dancing on tour with an artist, music videos, auditions etc also how they started off in the dance world how to get in on the dance scene screen-shot-2017-02-10-at-5-46-09-pmin LA and pretty much how to make it as a dancer over there as its tough because every single person is good. Myself along with another girl from the tour had the chance to take one of our most favourite of all time choreographers classes, i was literally trying so hard to keep my cool and not be to much of a fan girl, his name is Matt Steffanina.

This was a major highlight for me as i look up to him, i always watch his videos on Youtube so to actually be in one of his classes in real life in Los Angeles left me speechless it was like a tick off of my bucket list!

Besides all the wicked dance classes we took most days, of course we did the theme parks and all sights to see in LA! Also having free time to go roaming and shopping and trying all the food of course. The Runyon Canyon Hike was insane, you’re probably thinking a hike? really? but WOW…the view is so worth the dead feeling legs once you reach the top, you can literally see the WHOLE of the city from up there, the city on one side and the Hills and Hollywood sign on the other. I didn’t want to walk back down! I evenscreen-shot-2017-02-10-at-5-46-23-pm done the hike a second day at 6:30 to watch the sun come up over LA and my goodness it is one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen, I’m not even exaggerating.

We done the famous Hollywood Tours where we were driven up through Beverly Hills, Rodeo Drive and up to some gorgeous look outs to see the Hollywood sign (although you could see that from almost everywhere) and not to mention see the homes of Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Michael Jackson, Ellen Degeneres, The Beckhams, Lil Wayne and so many more. As well as homes/places where things like the Matrix and Fresh Prince of Belair were filmed.

Then of course we done a VIP tour of Warner Brothers Studios, where we got to see all the TV/Movie sets and lots from shows including Pretty Little Liars, Desperate Housewives and we even got to go on the real sets of The Mentalist and Friends which was super cool! We done the same sort of thing at Universal studios Hollywood which we got to do on one of our off days but obviously got to do all the rides and attractions as well as see a live stunt show where they had stuntmen from shows like NCIS and even a guy of High School Musical, as you can imagine we were all fan girling over that!!

Then there was Santa Monica Beach day, a day to relax in the California sunshine! If we weren’t lying on the beach or swimming, or shopping we were up on the Santa Monica Pier doing all the rides!! This was also a super fun day!

Then towards the end of the trip we moved to Anaheim California, about a 40 minute bus ride from Hollywood. Anaheim is where the amazing Disney Land is where we got to stay a 5 minute walk away from park. You can imagine all the excitement for these last 3 days at Disney, i mean who’s bucket list is Disney Land not on right??

screen-shot-2017-02-10-at-5-46-36-pmNot only were we just going to Disney Land but taking a class/ experiencing a mock audition at BACKSTAGE Disney, when i say backstage i mean strictly nobody but the staff are allowed back there as thats where all the magic happens, no cameras allowed no nothing so we all felt very honoured and privileged to experience this. The mock audition at backstage Disney felt so surreal, i felt so extremely nervous it felt that legit. Definitely a push out of the comfort zone, especially for me as i was the only one in the tour group having only done Hip Hop my entire life, so doing jazz routines etc was challenging but i enjoyed every moment of it, this was a once in a lifetime experience i couldn’t not participate!

Disney Land itself is really the most magical place like they say, no matter how old you are! The rides are beyond amazing there really is no way to explain Disney Land its something you have to go see!! So having the opportunity to just go there was crazy, i was like a kid in a candy store for the very first time.

This trip was honestly the most unreal thing i have ever done, again i can’t find the words to explain properly. You gain enormous amounts of knowledge to the point where your brain just wants to pop (in a good way!!) the experiences and opportunities are for sure a once in a lifetime thing. I mean you can always go back to Los Angeles but the things World Class Dance Tours allows you to do on this trip is unbeatable.

You make life long friends and truely find yourself as a dancer. This has helped me realize so many things about myself, my future goals and what i want to pursue as a dancer, where i want to go with it and what i need to do to get there.

Since this trip i have moved from New Zealand over to Brisbane Australia to work on my dancing, as i mentioned earlier i have only ever done Hip Hop since i was 6 (I’m now 19) so being here is helping me learn other genres which the trip to LA helped me do, without this whole experience i wouldn’t have gained half as much knowledge that i have from this trip alone.
It is truely life changing, so i encourage anyone that has a passion for dance to take one of the WCDT trips it will seriously change you whole outlook on dance and even life itself, lets just say it left me gobsmacked and i did not want to come home!!!!!!!!!

– Hope Wylde, Dancer

27 Jan

Helena Harvey – An indescribable experience

From the age of 11, my best friend and I had a dream that one day we would perform together at Disneyland. This dream was ambitious to some and impossible to others until the day we both got accepted to attend World Class Dance Tours where we were told that our dreams were about to come true at the age of 16. All very quickly we were boarding a plane to Los Angeles were we about to take part in a life changing experience. I was a part of the World Class Dance tours in 2014. Musical theatre had been my goal since I was 8 years old but coming from a small place such as Taranaki I was unaware of what the big world of dance was like in places such as Los Angeles.

When we first arrived, we were greeted by the beautiful Kim Davey, someone who to this day screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-5-29-58-pmcontinues to inspire me, and we were taken to the Magic Castle Hotel, also known as “The big banana”. Here, we were welcomed by the staff immediately and being around the other side of the world from your family didn’t seem so scary anymore.

Our first lot of classes were held at IDA Hollywood (International Dance Academy). The studios were pristine and suddenly recognisable from the many celebrities that had uploaded photos to Instagram of them rehearsing in the exact studios that we were which was the most unreal feeling. The teaching at IDA filled me with inspiration and renewed my passion reminding me of why I loved to dance and perform. Agents in the industry and famous dancers such as Matt Steffanina came and spoke to the group as well which gave me insight into how I too could make it in the performing arts world.

screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-5-30-09-pmMillennium Dance Complex was an incredible place where the dancing was intensified. We were put to the test as we danced alongside some of LA’s best dancers. My fitness rocketed from these classes and I could grasp the expectations of dancers over in America. Combinations were taught at a fast pace and we were encouraged to pick things up as quickly as possible so that our bodies got used to things such as muscle memory. Once classes were over we were mesmerised by the number of pictures on the wall all signed by famous people such as Justin Bieber.

Edge Dance Studios was another crazy once in a life time experience as thanks to WCDT I found myself in an advanced contemporary class dancing next to the lead character from the movie Step Up. This was a ‘pinch me’ moment on this tour as I was now dancing next to someone who I had admired for such a long time. The classes were challenging but a ball of fun and once again I was shown how the professionals train every day and was lucky enough to dance next to them.

The workshops that we took part in at Disneyland in Anaheim were something that I will neverscreen-shot-2017-02-09-at-5-30-19-pm forget. As someone who intends on doing musical theatre as a career it was a great challenge for me when we were put through a mock audition at the Disneyland Performing arts studios. Here, I was put to the test and it gave me an idea as to where I sit on the world scale, being marked just as you would in a real audition. Not only that, but we had normal dance classes with amazing tutors who had been working with all the Disneyland performers for years and before that had professional careers as dancers so were full of wisdom and advice. Then to top it all off my best friend and I finally had our dreams come true as we performed a duo on the Disneyland stage and it gave a feeling that you wouldn’t understand unless you witnessed it yourselves.

It’s not all about the dancing either, WCDT allowed us to have lots of fun attending theme parks such as Universal Studios, or taking a tour around Warner Brothers where we got to walk the sets of our favourite television shows such as Pretty Little Liars and Friends. Laying in the sun on Santa Monica beach or playing among the waves. Watching the live shows playing in Los Angeles. But most importantly, shopping till we dropped. WCDT gave a perfect balance of intense training and fun free time.

WCDT would not be the same without the self-development taught on the tour. When learning about life’s ‘secret’ through the fabulous Kim I began to grow faith in myself and truly believe that I could do anything if I set my mind to it. With the little things that Kim taught they have taken a huge toll on my everyday life right up to today. When I landed back in New Zealand after WCDT I had an audition for the musical Mamma Mia. I applied the skills that I had learnt from the tutors, but mainly Kim Davey and three weeks later was cast in the show. To this day, I continue to consider Kim as a life-long mentor as she is always open to helping you and giving advice even though it’s been two years since the tour.

It is because of people like Kim and experiences like WCDT that I have been fortunate enough to have been accepted into the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic art where I will receive a degree in Musical Theatre commencing in 2017. I can easily say that if it weren’t for my experience with WCDT I would not be in this position as it is the thing that got me back on my feet as it restored faith in myself that I can achieve anything. WCDT is an indescribable experience that I would recommend to absolutely anyone with a passion or love for dance, and I mean it when I say, it will change your life. It certainly changed mine.

Helena Harvey, Dancer

20 Jan

Jessica Harnett – A very powerful and lasting effect

World Class Dance Tours is worth every single dollar. It is a completely enriching experience made up ofscreen-shot-2017-02-09-at-5-53-41-pm once in a life-time opportunities such as performing at Disney Land, dancing on Hollywood Boulevard, and meeting high scale dance and drama professionals, which I will treasure for the rest of my life.

screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-5-53-30-pmYet, I found it to be so much more than just a dance tour with the aforementioned once in a lifetime opportunities. I found that it was also a tour focused on personal development, one that aimed for everyone to go home a better person, dancer, and all round artist. This combination of personal development tasks and immersive once in a lifetime opportunities was awe-inspiring and made the tour have a very powerful and lasting effect on me.

Now, while I absolutely loved every part of the tour, there were a few aspects that really stood out to me. screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-5-54-26-pmFirst was the variety of workshops offered to us during the trip. The abundance of choice we had and the quantity of such amazing workshops and tutors placed at our fingertips was every dancer’s dream. Whether you were an advanced dancer, passionate about making a career out of it, a beginner who just dances for pure enjoyment, or someone in between, there was a workshop for you. All of the workshops allowed you to try something new and step out of your comfort zone, and I ended up doing workshops like one for twerking that I very much enjoyed, but would have never tried had I not been on the trip. It was therefore, a tour that very much encouraged you to be brave screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-5-55-03-pmand embrace things that you would not normally do, the motto being, ‘you never know when you may be graced with an opportunity to take a class like this again so why not do it and make the most of it,’ which lead to a very enriching experience. Also, as someone who has grown up doing a lot of dancing and loves the choreographic side to it as well, the exposure to the industry professionals taking the classes and their choreographic process was incredible and very insightful for myself as an inspiring choreographer and dramaturge. I would not trade my participation in those workshops for the world.

Another aspect of the tour that stood out to me was getting to be a live audience member for a ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ episode. While I absolutely love dance, I would classify myself more as a drama enthusiast so this really was the best of both worlds for me. It was so amazing to get insight into the production of a live audience program while watching very inspirational and clever dancing and choreography. In one afternoon I got to see the inner workings of television, be the same room as well-known celebrities such as Jason Derulo and high profile choreographers, see some of them perform, watch amazing dancers, and appear on television myself (even if just briefly). This experience highlighted how the tour presented us with both traditional dance experiences (such as workshops and dance performances) and also, some not so traditional dance experiences, which tapped into other areas of the arts as well. I loved every second of that afternoon and would sign up to do it again in a heartbeat.

The Disneyland audition workshop was definitely another highlight. It provided me with skills I have screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-5-55-47-pmfrequently used over the past year. While again it was danced focused, the things I learnt were easily transferable to acting and every other aspect of the arts (and in fact, life in general). Audition skill workshops are something I think get overlooked by many people, but are extremely valuable (especially when you are being taught by a Disney Land casting director who has the power to employ you if you stand out enough). From only a one hour workshop I came away with the knowledge that in an audition you should always ask questions, as it makes you known to the casting director and they begin to relate to you as a person rather than a number, and when possible you must always put your hand up to go first, as it shows bravery and it is an automatic way to get a call back. These are some of the secrets that contribute to a successful audition, which I would have never learnt if I hadn’t had the opportunity to attend the workshop. Therefore, the tour made me a more well-rounded and knowledgeable dancer/drama student about the entire performing arts world from auditioning to performance work, and applying these skills since in University drama work and in job interviews has lead to some amazing results.

Last but certainly not least, my favorite and most treasured moment of the dance tour came out of an evening I never would have expected to come across on the trip. It was Kim’s personal development screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-5-56-02-pmevening, which taught us a lot about the power of the mind in manifesting what you want to get out of life – otherwise known as the Law of Attraction. This evening was an eye opener for me as she emphasized (in short) the importance of creating a career that you will love doing rather than one that will bring you wealth. She made the point that with hard work and the right mindset it is possible to do what you dream of doing, to create your dream job and that often you will end up making the most money that way – from something you love doing, so why settle for a job you do not enjoy. I think what she said is very true, money cannot buy happiness, but doing what you love can and I have lived by this mantra since as I have started to develop my career pathway. Not only was this evening very helpful to me and lead to me being able to accomplish all of my set goals for 2016, but since the tour Kim has continued to provide me with very generous support and advice. For instance, at the end of 2016 I had trouble deciding which university courses I should be taking to get to where I want to be and after seeking out Kim for some advice, she replied with a very detailed email with tasks for me to complete to help me with my decisions. She is a very busy woman and this would have taken substantial time out of her day to reply to. Thus, the tour provided me with the opportunity to meet a very inspirational mentor who infects everyone with positivity and hope, and I am very grateful to have met her and to have her continued help and support.

Thus, ultimately I got more confidence, inspiration and an increased love for all things arts from screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-5-56-48-pmparticipating in the tour and it brought home the fact that no matter how hard it may seem my career in the arts is achievable. Consequently, my dreams had never felt more in my reach than after I finished the tour and I owe that to the experience offered by Kim and the open advice she continues to give me. That, to me, is something you cannot put a price on. Plus how many people can say they have danced at Disney Land? Not many, and this is why World Class Dance Tours is worth every single dollar and is an experience every lover of dance should embrace. Travel is known to make a person richer, and this trip does exactly that, enriching you in the area you are passionate about the most.

Thank you Kim for creating this wonderful opportunity for dancers all over the world and for having such a positive impact on my life.

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