Returning from overseas in the early ‘70s, Gladys Tonkins (FBBO) realized that New Zealand needed a more ‘modern’ style of dance and so was born the New Zealand Association of Modern Dance.  A very popular jazz syllabus was quickly followed by a tap and ballet syllabus, with Contemporary and Hip Hop then added.

NZAMD realizes that for teachers, their studio is their business and livelihood, and are therefore committed to providing material that will assist them in growing and strengthening their businesses, and have a positive programme of reviewing, updating and renewing syllabi.

Keeping abreast of international dance trends has always been important to NZAMD and Keith Clifton (USA - photo below left) was contracted to choreograph an American Jazz and Tap Syllabus.  Click here to go to the short video introduction.


A Contemporary syllabus was choreographed by Ann Dewey (photo below centre) – and this is proving especially popular with Ballet studios throughout New Zealand. This was followed by the exciting Hip Hop syllabus from Gandalf Archer and Ginny Crocker (photo below right).




Miss Tonkin’s legacy of making dance available to all is kept alive with NZAMD offering teachers syllabi for the once a week student as well as those committed to dance excellence.  We are proud to have NZAMD trained students performing on stages throughout the world.

NZAMD is New Zealand based with an aim of keeping examination fees at a realistic level and with all funds kept within New Zealand for further progress.  Administration is based at the Wellington Office and professional development is overseen by an executive committee of NZAMD teachers/examiners.


The NZAMD Scholarship Awards weekend is held annually at the beginning of November and gives senior students in each discipline the opportunity to take classes with top international and New Zealand tutors / adjudicators. 


>> View a 6 minute video of the 2016 NZAMD Scholarship Awards on our Scholarship page.



The examination syllabi is available in user friendly written notes and teaching DVDs.


These sessions are held throughout the country from May to December. In most areas we are able to offer teachers a choice between an early or later session. There are four sessions in Auckland and Wellington, and three sessions in Christchurch.


Area organisers provide a local contact for personal backup and assistance.


These are held to assist with the further development of teaching skills, and to introduce new programmes.


A Teaching programme is available to inspire and upskill both the beginner and the experienced teacher


Newsletters are published regularly providing teachers with updates, information and reminders.


  • Updated Combinations from choreographer Keith Clifton for our American Jazz, Grade Three
  • New Dances for the Major Grades Elementary, Intermediate, and Advanced One & Two
  • The updating of the NZAMD Ballet Syllabus with the introduction of delightful new Grades One Two & Three, and with the new Grades Four & Five & Six now available 
  • Medal Awards - our non examination performance awards now expanded to include Contemporary, Hip Hop, Musical Theatre and the NZAMD Group Medal Awards.
  • Stretch Leap & Spin Award - developing flexibility and aiming to improve turns & leaps. The Intermediate level is available in 2018 to be examined between the Junior and Senior levels
  • American Tap Levels Three to Six  -  new Dances now available for these 4 levels



Click on the link below to view an Introduction to American Jazz Syllabus from Keith Clifton.