This year marks Garry Trinder's twentieth anniversary as director of New Zealand School of Dance. As Karen van Ulzen discovered, it was a varied career path that led him to the position.
WHEN Garry Trinder took on the job as director of the New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) 20 years ago, one of the first things he did was write to the Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland. Having always regarded that international competition as the pinnacle of standards, he knew that to be endorsed as one of the participating schools “smacked of a certain eminence”. He laughs. “I received a lovely letter back from the president saying thank you for your letter but we don’t know anything about you.”
“I’ve kept that letter,” he says today. “So when we got the recognition to become a partner school of the Prix de Lausanne in 2006, for me it meant we were making progress, we were standing alongside our peers.”
Trinder isn’t one to boast. He is usually a self-effacing man who tends to deflect compliments and praise. It seems typical of his personality that he chooses this example, because he is not making the claim for himself, but allowing another respected organisation to do it for him.
Under his control the NZSD has made leaps in standards, becoming a respected international school. It is not an easy thing to achieve in a country even more geographically isolated than Australia, with a small population, and a bigger, brasher continent just across the ditch. Against these odds he must attract top talent, keep up with world trends, and stay up front among the jostle of schools looking for students.
Trinder knows a fair bit about world trends, having spent a great deal of his life in various parts of the world.
He was born in Liverpool in the UK, into a working class theatrical family. His uncle was the Tommy Trinder, one of a generation of enormously popular wartime music hall comedians, who hosted the TV show Sunday Night at the London Palladium for years . . .
This is an extract from "Not one to boast", published in the April/May edition of Dance Australia. To read the rest of the article, buy Dance Australia at your favourite retail outlet, or online here... OR never miss an issue by subscribing here.
Pictured top: Garry Trinder taking class at the New Zealand School of Dance. Photo: Stephen A'Court.