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At Norris Studios, our goal is to create a welcoming environment. We aim for every student, regardless of their skill and ability; to learn and have fun while nurturing a love and respect for the art of dance.

ABOUT THE STUDIO

Established in 1971 by studio director Carolyn Norris, Norris Dance Studios focuses on teaching students from 2 years old to adults with a desire and passion for dance. We are a successful school that has won many awards both nationally and internationally. Our focus and philosophy is to cater to the individual needs of each dancer to ensure that every student reaches their maximum potential. We know that no two students are alike and our curriculum is created so that each student gains the most out of their learning experience. We offer classes from beginner and recreational training through to elite programs, helping those students who wish to create career pathways in the dance industry.

Directors Carolyn and Kylie Norris have lived and breathed dance their whole life and provide a wealth of decades of knowledge in the industry. Carolyn has taught for 49 years and is still seen in the classroom working closely with our young dancers to teach foundation techniques. Solid technical training is critical for any young dancer starting their dance journey. Her career background is in cabaret and after many years of working as a professional dancer herself Carolyn spent the last few decades travelling NZ with her cabaret floorshow; working alongside some of the industry’s best.

Kylie, Carolyn’s daughter has 22 years of teaching experience and has travelled the world extensively teaching, choreographing, and adjudicating. She has spent the last four years working throughout Australasia, U.K, Singapore and Hong Kong. In 2019, Kylie with her business partner Lucy Ellis created and co-wrote IDT; an online International Dance Syllabus that trains jazz technique. The business has seen great success in its first year with over 500 studios all over the world investing in teaching the work in their classrooms. Kylie is excited for the future of Norris Studios and is continuing to implement the knowledge she has gained from her overseas experiences into the studio.

At Norris Studios dancers will not only be provided with a full dance education in technique and performance skills, but learn life lessons of commitment, responsibility, and work ethic taught through dance.
We personally look forward to meeting you and working together to create opportunities for your children to release the star within!

MEET THE NORRIS TEAM

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Carolyn Norris - Director

Carolyn established Norris Studios in 1971. With over 45 years experience teaching Tap, Jazz and Cabaret dance styles, Carolyn continues to encourage her students to reach their full potential. Having started Tap dance herself at the age of 10, she went on to dancing in Cabaret Floorshows professionally from 14 years of age; which included Royal Command Performances. Carolyn went on to create her own dance company – the famous “La Belle Follies’ team of Cabaret Dancers in 1983. La Belle Follies traveled extensively throughout New Zealand for many years, working with the industries best.
Carolyn is not only a dance teacher but a highly skilled dressmaker. The studio is known for their stunning costuming and much of this can be credited to her incredible skills and flair.
Carolyn has grown her studio to now offer many genres of dance to further service the high demand in the Auckland area. She is renowned for producing disciplined, highly skilled and talented students, whereby some have continued on to further their dance studies at various performing arts institutions here, and overseas. Her students have won many awards within the New Zealand competition arena, and have gone on to have successful careers within the performing arts industry.

KYLIE NORRIS - ARTISTIC DIRECTOR

Kylie has 24 years’ teaching experience, both at her studio in Auckland and in studios throughout Australia, Asia and the UK. She is a trained Jazz, Tap & Ballet dancer herself, and holds her Teacher’s Certification in the NZAMD Syllabus (New Zealand Association of Modern Dance).

She has taught many dancers who have learned their foundation technique, diversification through learning multiple genres, performed on national media such as television, along with national & international competitions – receiving recognition and accolades for her intricacy in choreography & costume design at the highest levels.
A number of Kylie’s dancers have continued in the industry, making their mark on the international stage.

Kylie is a Co-Director of Norris Dance Studios in Auckland – a successful business which has been in operation for 50 years. 2021 brought the 50th Jubilee year of the business and Kylie shares the directorship with her mother – Carolyn Norris.

Between 2015-2019, she has travelled internationally, teaching student workshops, teacher trainings and choreographing throughout NZ, Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore and the UK.

Cabaret has played a significant role in her career, with 15 years professional experience as a dancer and choreographer for La Belle Follies with performances throughout New Zealand.
For 4 years, she was the Artistic Director for Encore Cabaret – a dinner/show cabaret venue in Auckland, choreographing all performances and designing full Cabaret costumes with her flair and attention to detail. Another aspect of noteworthy inclusion is her unique choreography style and costume design.

Kylie has created #NORRISfit – a program designed to teach extensive technique across all genres, all ages & incorporate the fundamentals of dance, injury prevention and industry knowledge. She also engages teaching from guest tutors to enhance the opportunities available for her students and encourages team work at all times.

In partnership with Lucy Ellis, in 2019 Kylie co-created International Dance Technique (IDT). IDT is a jazz technique-based syllabus which is available to studios and individuals and has subscribers all over the world.

International Dance Technique is a studio syllabus designed to develop plyometric agility, strength, fitness, flexibility and strong jazz technique in dancers of all ages and abilities. IDT includes progressive stretch exercises and age appropriate conditioning exercises to strengthen muscles, increase agility, control and power in dance combos. The syllabus grades progressively train all relevant Kick, Turn and Jump techniques, plus video tutorials are included on the portal for many of the dance elements. All IDT exercises are short, easy to teach and easy for students to learn and retain. IDT aims to keep the dancer motivated to reach their full potential as a technical dancer.

Kylie has been creating and developing successful dancers with exceptional technique for decades. Through travelling internationally, Kylie has honed her teaching skills across all ages and levels, bringing an exciting teaching method to your students.
Companies recognize her as highly sought-after choreographer with her own distinctive style.

She teaches with a focus not only on dance education & performance skills, but to learn life lessons of commitment, responsibility and work ethic taught through a love of dance.
During 2020-2021, while in lockdowns due to the pandemic, Kylie has initiated and provided a successful online program for her students, encouraging them to engage with their tutors, continue their learning while not in the studio, and nurturing their love for dance.
Outside of teaching, she enjoys spending time with her family and friends and travelling, exploring new locations and opportunities.

Elise Jennings

Elise Jenkins has been dancing with Norris Studios since she was 4 years old under tuition by both Carolyn and Kylie Norris. She trained for 14 years in Jazz, 6 years in Tap and 3 years in Hip Hop (all NZAMD). She went on to complete a Bachelor of Education – Primary School Age in 2011. She has competed with many Norris Troupes over the years with some amazing results. Elise has now been teaching various levels with Norris for eight years and is a valued staff member who excels in teaching examination levels and gaining outstanding results from her students. She has recently taken on teaching soloists at competition level and loves watching the growth in her students both personally and in their dance ability. She loves teaching for Norris Studios and considers the studio a second family.

Jessica Toatoa

Jessica began dancing under the guidance of Norris Studios tutor Kylie Norris where she achieved NZAMD top jazz award at the age of 14yrs and The Ora Burnett jazz scholarship at 15yrs.

In 2014 Jessica went on to expand her repertoire as a dancer and auditioned for the Palace Dance Studio, where she was chosen to join crews Sorority, Request & The Royal Family led by internationally acclaimed choreographers Parris Goebel & Kiel Tutin. Whilst under the company she was casted in many of Parris’ productions including GoldMynd & Moonchild.

Performed alongside All female Adult crew ReQuest at 16yrs, opening for R&B star Ciara in her Christchurch and Wellington shows & featured in the Justin Bieber’s hit music video “Sorry”.

Late 2016 she went on to explore more of the dance industry and began teaching around New Zealand. In 2019 she was selected by Beyonce choreographer Dana Foglia to attend her 3 month summer mentorship in Los Angeles.

Now at 21 years of age Jessica signed with top talent agency, GTA and was booked by Creative Directors The Squared Division as one of the sixteen successful back up dancers for the Queen of C-Pop, Jolin Tsai’s World Tour.

Jessica travels back & worth from NZ to LA for work and to continue up skilling as she builds her Career in Dance.

Nichola NIEMACK

Nichola started dancing at age 5 at Nicola Wheeler Dance Academy in East Auckland taking Jazz and Hip Hop before training under Brigid Carter Chan in 2008 taking NZAMD Jazz and Contemporary exams where she gained Distinction in all exams. Nichola also has extensive training in Latin, Heels and Ballet. Nichola is a dancer for Les Follies and Event Flair . She has competed as a dancer from a very young age and started her journey as a choreographer from the age of 17 working with troupes from Carter Chan Dance , Auckland West Dance Academy and Jayes Dance Studio where she has been responsible for soloists, duos and troupes for the past 5 years. At the start of 2019 Nichola worked with a Jazz troupe where they represented New Zealand and placed second in the world at the “Global Games” in Hawaii. Nichola has completed a Bachelor in Contemporary Dance at Unitec where she danced full time for 3 years training in Contemporary, Ballet and Choreographic Practice and has worked with and been taught by some of the most influential and celebrated choreographers and Dancers in New Zealand including Michael Parmenter, Sarah Foster -Sproull and Malia Johnston .

RACHEL LYNCH

Rachel has been dancing with Norris Studios since she was 5 years old. She trained for 13 years with the studio- this included 13 years in Jazz and Tap, 7 years in Contemporary, 5 years in Hip Hop, and 4 years in Ballet (all NZAMD). Throughout her exams, she received 3 NZAMD nominations for Jazz, 1 nomination for Tap and 5th place in the finals, 2 nominations for Hiphop, and 1 nomination for contemporary. Rachel also spent 10 years of this time as a competition dancer in Solos, duos and troupes. She competed at regional, national and international competitions and performed at Cocal Cola Christmas in the Park. Rachel began working professionally as a trainee cabaret dancer for Divas Cabaret at the age of 14, graduating to a resident dancer at Encore Cabaret under Carolyn and Kylie Norris at the age of 18. From 19 years of age, Rachel has been a company dancer and promotional model for Diamond Entertainment, and has started her third year for the Breakers Dance Team and Momentum Productions. Rachel has returned to Norris Studios as our Cabaret teacher, also working with the Junior Troupe and solo training. She is in her second year at the University of Auckland.

PAIGE

Paige has danced with Norris Dance Studios from the age of 5, under the guidance of Kylie and Carolyn Norris. She has trained in all genres of dance including acrobatics, tap, jazz, hip hop, commercial jazz, lyrical, contemporary, ballet, cabaret and musical theatre, competing as a soloist and troupe member over the years. She has travelled nationally and internationally for competitions and was part of the award winning Origami Troupe, winning the pre-teen division in Battle of the stars at Showcase in Gold Coast Australia 2017. Paige was also a troupe member in the team that won the highest scoring team at New Zealand Dance Awards in 2021, also competing as a soloist and placing in the top 15 senior top dancer soloist division. She has studied the International Dance Technique syllabus created by Kylie Norris and Lucy Ellis and the Bodylab Syllabus by Belinda Moore, and features in their syllabus videos. She has performed at Coca Cola Christmas in the Park over the years and more recently was an entertainer at the Auckland Blues rugby season of 2021 and a guest performance for the Black Ferns Test Match in 2022. She has trained in NZAMD tap and jazz exams, qualifying for scholarship weekends and placing top 10 in tap. Paige really enjoyed teaching last year and is excited to return and is looking forward to helping students reach their full potential and seeing what progress can be made this year.

Joel Hewlett

International performer Joel Hewlett is proud to be a former student of Norris Studios where he trained extensively in performing arts. He attained some of the most prestigious awards throughout the NZ competition scene which saw him highly praised and notably entertaining. Since making his professional debut over a decade ago some of his credits include;

Starlight Express (New Zealand)

Hairspray (Australia)

A Chorus Line (Australia/Singapore)

Mr&Mrs Murder (Fremantle Media)

Celebrity Cruises (Alaska/Asia)

Ash vs Evil Dead (Starz Network)

Aladdin (Australia)

The Book of Mormon (Australia)

Joel is looking forward to sharing over ten years of industry knowledge and experience, welcoming you to the fascinating world of musical theatre.

Hayden Lockwood

Hayden has been involved in acrobatic sports his whole life. After being enrolled in gymnastics when he was 2, he went on to represent NZ then transitioned into competitive cheerleading where he competed at The Cheerleading Worlds.

Hayden began coaching gymnastics as a teenager and has continued to develop his skillset and transfer his knowledge to cheerleading and dance acro.

Hayden is also a highly regarded cheerleading judge and has been selected to judge The Cheerleading Worlds in America for the past 3 years.

BELINDA MOORE

Belinda Moore is a dancer, choreographer, movement coach, body conditioning specialist and performance industry veteran. She has worked throughout NZ, Australia and the United States for some of the biggest companies in entertainment globally including NBC Universal, Comcast and Disney, performed in events alongside Kesha, Lorde, Jamie Foxx, Jake Gyllenhaal, Halle Berry, Miss Americas 2016, 2017, 2018 & 2019, country music star Ty Herndon, Broadway superstar Linda Eder and the biggest global names in Dancesport and Ballroom Dance. She danced in the Emmy Award-winning Nashville Christmas Parade – nationally syndicated to millions of television viewers across America, Universal Studio’s Macys Christmas Parade, the Pro Bowl, for Disney, New Zealand Fashion Week, operas Carmen and La Traviata and tours with prestigious American swing bands The Glenn Miller Orchestra and The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.


Belinda was a cheerleader for the All Blacks, Blues, Breakers, Warriors and the Black Caps, worked as a featured dancer in television series’ Legend Of The Seeker, When We Went To War, Maddigans Quest, Xena, This Is Not My Life and in the feature film The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and was a founding dancer at Encore Cabaret under the choreography of Kylie Norris.


Belinda has worked as a stills and live model, acted in ad campaigns for Instant Kiwi and McDonalds, appeared in music videos for Elemno P and Dei Hamo and directed, produced, choreographed and danced in ‘Bound’ at the 2013 Auckland Fringe Festival.


Prior to dancing, Belinda competed in rhythmic gymnastics for 11 years, representing New Zealand throughout Europe, Australia, Asia and North America including the 1994 Commonwealth Games and the 1995 World Championships and was twice New Zealand National Champion.

JESS GRAHAM

Jess is originally from Christchurch and now residing in Auckland. She is super passionate about dance, teaching & inspiring others through dance. As a young girl, Jess started out teaching herself at home, learning all the steps from world tours, music videos or just freestyling making her own choreography up.

As a young teen she then began to learn how to bgirl/break that then lead to a lot of regular hip hop classes.

Jess graduated with a certificate from Hayley Dance Company (full time study) which was contemporary based. Later in her year of study, she was hired as the hip hop teacher, creating and teaching the style to the company.

Jess has been a cheerleader for the Canterbury (rugby) Crusaders from 2010-2015. She has travelled overseas to Australia, America, the Caribbean, and Hawaii to coach teams, compete, perform and up skill.

In 2015 her crew ‘POLAROIDS’ (from Zion Studios) competed in Hip Hop Unite nationals winning & qualifying for the World Championships which the represented NZ & placed 2nd in the adult division at the World Championships.

In Jan 2020 Jess took a Hip hop crew “Supreme” to Nationals Showcase placing 1st in the teen Hip-hop section qualifying for “Battle of the Stars.” The team placed runner up overall in the teen section & qualified for worlds in Italy.

Jess has choreographed, coached crews, competed and performed at SDNZ HHI HHU NZCAF Shakedown, Battleground, Showcase, Fight for Life, All Blacks vs Australia (rugby), ANZ netball tournaments & Coca Cola Christmas in the Park for many studios & crews around NZ.

Her students and crews have won many awards and had outstanding results all around Australasia.

Jess is currently now teaching in schools, dance studios & for soloists all around the Auckland region and really loves being back teaching dance after travelling and working as a flight attendant.

Jess prides herself in teaching students respect, confidence, passion and a hard work ethic.

‘Always remember to believe in yourself , find your inner superstar, dance to inspire & be inspired.’

ERIN MEEK

Erin Meek is a dancer, choreographer, actor, and teacher with experience across various forms of the performing arts. She has worked with several of New Zealand’s leading contemporary dance companies, numerous theatre companies and is experienced in acting and dance for screen.

Erin grew up studying and performing ballet, contemporary dance, lyrical and jazz dance, singing, and acting technique. In 2016, she was selected for the Royal New Zealand Ballet Mentor Program and graduated from the New Zealand School of Dance in 2019 with a Diploma in Dance Performance, majoring in contemporary dance with a minor in ballet. Since graduating, she has worked with choreographers including Malia Johnston and Taiaroa Royal, and danced with companies Black Grace, Dance Plant Collective, and Okareka Dance Company. She has also performed as a freelance artist at various large-scale events including the World of WearableArt Awards Shows. In 2022, Erin graduated from the Actors’ Program. Erin has worked in the theatre industry in shows including Alice in Wonderland (Alice), Much Ado About Nothing (Beatrice), and Nora: A Doll’s House (Nora 3). Her screen appearances include acting work in various short films and television, and stunts in film.

Erin’s choreography has received several nominations and includes works with dance studios, schools, and theatre companies. In her dance teaching, Erin is passionate about the importance of safe dance practice, functional technique, and somatic awareness. In her acting coaching, Erin believes in offering a creative and nurturing space for students to deepen their understanding of craft and performance.

Karen Ruske

Reg: BBO Teacher, Examiner BBO, GDQ, PGDip Performing Arts (UOA)

Karen is a freelance Dance Teacher, Choreographer, Examiner, Stage Manager and Assistant Stage Manager. Until the end of 2021, Karen was also the Director of RPA- Ruske Performing Arts in East Tamaki. Here she offered Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Hip Hop, Contemporary, Acro, and Musical Theatre. Karen’s dance training is immense covering Jazz, Ballet, tap, contemporary, and Musical Theatre. Karen also travels the length of the country Examining for the British Ballet Organization (BB0) and Global Dance Qualifications (GDQ).

As a Freelance Choreographer, Adjudicator and Examiner, Karen has a very busy timetable. Karen has worked for several organisations including BBO July Intensive week in CHCH, The Artist Doctors Association, Dance your Southern Sox off, Mark Hadlow and the Christchurch City Council, Auckland Musical Theatre (AMT) choreographing Downtown, Amici and AMT for Evita, New Plymouth Operatic Phantom of the Opera, Company for Harlequin Theatre, The Addams Family for MPA, Jersey Boys Act 3 Productions Palmerston North, to name a few. RPA also produced a number of Musical Theatre productions as well, including Once on this Island Jr, Honk Jr. ASM for Auckland Theatre Company’s North by North West, and Coke Cola Christmas in the Park 2022 (Auckland).

Karen has travelled to the USA where she took a large group of dancers to perform at Disney and Universal Studios. While in LA they attended workshops with some of the world’s best at top-rated Studios. They then flew to NY and attended a large number of shows as well as participated in multiple Musical Theatre workshops.

Karen believes that everyone should have the enjoyment of dance and works to help the dancer find their best self, with positive encouragement and drive to help the dancer reach their full potential.

Ange Lynch

My history with Norris Dance Studios began approximately 16 years ago when both my daughters Rachel & Sarah began classes as Junior students. With just a short break of a couple of years in the middle, I have been working as the Administrator / Reception for most of that time. I also have the privilege of working on our studio and competition costumes. Prior to joining the Norris team, I was raising our family of 3 (now adult) children and working in customer service at several international companies. I look forward to meeting you and being of assistance in any way that I can – enquiries about classes, enrolments, uniforms, merchandise and anything in general!

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