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Gaylene Sciascia - Dancing Whakapapa


Gaylene Sciascia - Dancing Whakapapa

By Lyne Pringle

Gaylene Sciascia has been a pioneer in many respects. Through her career in dance she has been the initiator of many groundbreaking ventures - New Zealand Highland dancing champion; one of our first American Masters in Dance students; dancing in the first home-grown modern dance company to tour the country; establishing Whitireia Performing Arts course – the first of its kind in Aotearoa.

This article takes a deeper look at her career and life. Gaylene’s mother had a dancing school, so she began dancing as a young child in the big garage of their family home in Auckland. 

 In her second year at the school of Physical Education  “Modern dance entered my life”. John Casserly returned from the USA at this time bringing fresh ideas and a new way of moving. As a result of this commitment, the School of Physical Education has been a seeding ground for many people who have influenced the development of modern and contemporary dance in Aotearoa.

Following her studies, Gaylene was accepted into a Masters programme at the University of Utah, here she attended classes with Ririe-Woodbury, a famous dance/education company, and experienced the techniques of Alwin Nikolais and Bill Evans. 

In the early 70s, Gaylene graduated and returned to teach at PE School.  At this time Gaylene began the great love affair of her life with Piri Sciascia, a vibrant young performer committed to teaching Maori language and tikanga. 

Read the full article (Iss. 28)  Dancing Whakapapa


Gaylene Sciascia - Dancing Whakapapa

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