A life of dance, teaching

Centre-stage: Nadine Proctor in her element with young dancers preparing for her latest show. Picture by Rebecca Grunwell

NADINE Proctor has danced since she was four years old, learned many different genres and taught dance for nearly 35 years.

“I love dancing and I love teaching kids. Being a dance teacher is something I always wanted to do — not only to help them create dance, but also giving them confidence and showing them the art form of music.

“I am not only their dance teacher, I become kind of their second mother, counsellor and all the other roles. One of the best parts is when they grow up and come back to visit, and often will jump into class.”

Nadine first started teaching ballet when she was 15 and started her Nadine Antoinette School of Dance in 1993. Over the years, the popularity of one of the oldest formalised types of dance — dating back to the 15th century — has remained about the same.

“There are always little ones who want to try — numbers have stayed fairly consistent over the years. For most it is a hobby or a valuable discipline to learn.

“Some children have natural ability and some have to put in a lot of hard work.”

To be a professional dancer, there are hours of practice and commitment ahead, she says.

One example is former student Lana Phillips, who is now freelance dancing in Europe. Then there is her most recent protégé, 15-year-old Austin Rice, who has just been accepted into the 2018 intake at the New Zealand School of Dance to study classical ballet full-time.

“His goal is to get into a ballet company, and to see him progress towards this has been amazing.

“He recently passed his advanced one Royal Academy of Dance exam with distinction. It makes me so proud.

“It is a great achievement — they don’t take many students and lots apply. I am really looking forward to seeing him develop.”

But it is not all about turning children into ballet dancers.

“A shy child who comes for their first class and cries because they are scared to leave their mum . . . then years later they are a doctor or an accountant or a lawyer. It’s nice to know I have been part of that development.

Inspiring children

“To me it is about inspiring the children I teach and hoping that I can assist them in their journey in life.

“It is something I know I have passed on to former students who I now see doing the same thing with their students.

“I have taught hundreds of kids from 4 to 18 and see them go on to become awesome people — it is why I love it.”

When it is time to say goodbye to students, she always ends up crying, she says.

Highlights of her dance-teaching career have been seeing the final product of some of the shows she has created. Every two years she produces a show with dancers from her school.

“It is too hard to pick a favourite — they have all been so different.”

Next Saturday, two years of planning and six months of effort come to fruition when she will present the classic ballet The Nutcracker at the War Memorial Theatre.

Staged by Proctor Productions, with dancers from the Nadine Antoinette School of Dance, the Gisborne production of The Nutcracker will have some surprises.

“It is the traditional style of ballet but I have added some characters to incorporate the littlies. With close to 100 performers in it, of whom 50 are eight years and under, I have incorporated some surprises for the audience that make it more exciting for the kids.”

The shows give her dancers the opportunity to perform on stage like a real ballet company.

There will be two shows, a matinee and evening performance on Saturday, November 18.

Nadine is a natural choreographer. This comes from putting on and being involved in many genres of dance, as well as being involved in stage shows.

“When I hear music it talks to me. I love choreographing . . . . I create the dance with no pre-set ideas, working with the student.”

Trained in classical ballet

The daughter of Margaret and Laurie Stuart, Nadine started classical ballet when she was four, with Elva Stratton her first teacher.

She learned under both Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) and British Ballet Order (BBO) teachers, then later also learned tap dancing under Gill Clout. A summer school out of town when she was 10 gave her a taste of modern jazz and contemporary dance.

“I just loved it and started doing that as well. There were no teachers in Gisborne but I was doing it whenever I could get classes.”

Growing up, Nadine says she wanted to play netball but only managed one season because of her passion for dance.

“If I wasn’t at school or reading books, I was in a dance class.”

She also learned to play the piano and, for a time, helped out in the pits at the speedway.

In her sixth form year she was a Rotary exchange student in NSW Australia.

“I lived the first term on a farm in Blayney, then my Rotary Exchange twin sister lived here with us for the next term and attended school at Campion College with me. She was my bridesmaid and I was hers. We still continue our relationship. She and her husband came here for Neil (Proctor) and my 25th wedding anniversary last year.”

In 2009, Nadine had the opportunity to travel to Palm Desert, California — one of Gisborne’s Sister Cities.

“I was lucky to be selected to represent Gisborne and attend the McCallum Theatre Institute Aesthetic Education Summer Workshop for teachers. This is a workshop which places the arts at the centre of inquiry- based learning.

“It is about teaching kids in a different way — seeing art in everything. It has given me a different perspective on how I teach in an ever-changing world. I was honoured to be invited back, in total attending five times.”

Worked for council

Nadine has not just been a dancer and dance teacher over the years, she has also always worked full time in various places before her current job in the legal section of Gisborne District Council.

She is also a wife of 26 years to Neil — “I could not do what I do without him, he cooks all the meals” — and mother of 14-year-old Nathan, who is heavily involved in competitive swimming and surf lifesaving, which she supports as much as she can.

She has been president of the Gisborne Ballet Group for 15 years. The group runs an annual competition weekend for local dancers to get on the stage and perform and compete. Through fundraising, the group aims to help dancers like Austin Rice so they can get to workshops and classes out of town. She has also served on the committee of Braemar Dancing, Gisborne Competition Society and Gisborne Theatre Arts — and has been involved in car club racing over the years.

“Yes, I do have a big wall planner . . . next year is already filling up .”

■ Tickets for the Nutcracker can be bought from Stephen Jones Photography or online at Ticketdirect.co.nz

■ The dancers pictured with Nadine are, clockwise from front left, Grace Worters, Georgia Worters, Eva Mirko, Rylee Haughey, Sofia Zame, Georgia Shanks, Katelyn Deere, Jessi Papworth, Maggie Preston, Danielle Bell, Michaela Miller, Phoebe Naske, Zoe Hall and Giorgia Hart.

NADINE Proctor has danced since she was four years old, learned many different genres and taught dance for nearly 35 years.

“I love dancing and I love teaching kids. Being a dance teacher is something I always wanted to do — not only to help them create dance, but also giving them confidence and showing them the art form of music.

“I am not only their dance teacher, I become kind of their second mother, counsellor and all the other roles. One of the best parts is when they grow up and come back to visit, and often will jump into class.”

Nadine first started teaching ballet when she was 15 and started her Nadine Antoinette School of Dance in 1993. Over the years, the popularity of one of the oldest formalised types of dance — dating back to the 15th century — has remained about the same.

“There are always little ones who want to try — numbers have stayed fairly consistent over the years. For most it is a hobby or a valuable discipline to learn.

“Some children have natural ability and some have to put in a lot of hard work.”

To be a professional dancer, there are hours of practice and commitment ahead, she says.

One example is former student Lana Phillips, who is now freelance dancing in Europe. Then there is her most recent protégé, 15-year-old Austin Rice, who has just been accepted into the 2018 intake at the New Zealand School of Dance to study classical ballet full-time.

“His goal is to get into a ballet company, and to see him progress towards this has been amazing.

“He recently passed his advanced one Royal Academy of Dance exam with distinction. It makes me so proud.

“It is a great achievement — they don’t take many students and lots apply. I am really looking forward to seeing him develop.”

But it is not all about turning children into ballet dancers.

“A shy child who comes for their first class and cries because they are scared to leave their mum . . . then years later they are a doctor or an accountant or a lawyer. It’s nice to know I have been part of that development.

Inspiring children

“To me it is about inspiring the children I teach and hoping that I can assist them in their journey in life.

“It is something I know I have passed on to former students who I now see doing the same thing with their students.

“I have taught hundreds of kids from 4 to 18 and see them go on to become awesome people — it is why I love it.”

When it is time to say goodbye to students, she always ends up crying, she says.

Highlights of her dance-teaching career have been seeing the final product of some of the shows she has created. Every two years she produces a show with dancers from her school.

“It is too hard to pick a favourite — they have all been so different.”

Next Saturday, two years of planning and six months of effort come to fruition when she will present the classic ballet The Nutcracker at the War Memorial Theatre.

Staged by Proctor Productions, with dancers from the Nadine Antoinette School of Dance, the Gisborne production of The Nutcracker will have some surprises.

“It is the traditional style of ballet but I have added some characters to incorporate the littlies. With close to 100 performers in it, of whom 50 are eight years and under, I have incorporated some surprises for the audience that make it more exciting for the kids.”

The shows give her dancers the opportunity to perform on stage like a real ballet company.

There will be two shows, a matinee and evening performance on Saturday, November 18.

Nadine is a natural choreographer. This comes from putting on and being involved in many genres of dance, as well as being involved in stage shows.

“When I hear music it talks to me. I love choreographing . . . . I create the dance with no pre-set ideas, working with the student.”

Trained in classical ballet

The daughter of Margaret and Laurie Stuart, Nadine started classical ballet when she was four, with Elva Stratton her first teacher.

She learned under both Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) and British Ballet Order (BBO) teachers, then later also learned tap dancing under Gill Clout. A summer school out of town when she was 10 gave her a taste of modern jazz and contemporary dance.

“I just loved it and started doing that as well. There were no teachers in Gisborne but I was doing it whenever I could get classes.”

Growing up, Nadine says she wanted to play netball but only managed one season because of her passion for dance.

“If I wasn’t at school or reading books, I was in a dance class.”

She also learned to play the piano and, for a time, helped out in the pits at the speedway.

In her sixth form year she was a Rotary exchange student in NSW Australia.

“I lived the first term on a farm in Blayney, then my Rotary Exchange twin sister lived here with us for the next term and attended school at Campion College with me. She was my bridesmaid and I was hers. We still continue our relationship. She and her husband came here for Neil (Proctor) and my 25th wedding anniversary last year.”

In 2009, Nadine had the opportunity to travel to Palm Desert, California — one of Gisborne’s Sister Cities.

“I was lucky to be selected to represent Gisborne and attend the McCallum Theatre Institute Aesthetic Education Summer Workshop for teachers. This is a workshop which places the arts at the centre of inquiry- based learning.

“It is about teaching kids in a different way — seeing art in everything. It has given me a different perspective on how I teach in an ever-changing world. I was honoured to be invited back, in total attending five times.”

Worked for council

Nadine has not just been a dancer and dance teacher over the years, she has also always worked full time in various places before her current job in the legal section of Gisborne District Council.

She is also a wife of 26 years to Neil — “I could not do what I do without him, he cooks all the meals” — and mother of 14-year-old Nathan, who is heavily involved in competitive swimming and surf lifesaving, which she supports as much as she can.

She has been president of the Gisborne Ballet Group for 15 years. The group runs an annual competition weekend for local dancers to get on the stage and perform and compete. Through fundraising, the group aims to help dancers like Austin Rice so they can get to workshops and classes out of town. She has also served on the committee of Braemar Dancing, Gisborne Competition Society and Gisborne Theatre Arts — and has been involved in car club racing over the years.

“Yes, I do have a big wall planner . . . next year is already filling up .”

■ Tickets for the Nutcracker can be bought from Stephen Jones Photography or online at Ticketdirect.co.nz

■ The dancers pictured with Nadine are, clockwise from front left, Grace Worters, Georgia Worters, Eva Mirko, Rylee Haughey, Sofia Zame, Georgia Shanks, Katelyn Deere, Jessi Papworth, Maggie Preston, Danielle Bell, Michaela Miller, Phoebe Naske, Zoe Hall and Giorgia Hart.

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Laraine Hindle - 1 month ago
Fantastic Nadine, you are a real inspiration and the kids love you.

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