Husband and wife team, Hannah Bagshaw and Ekaitz Espino took over the Garden City Dance Academy in 2012. Upon returning to NZ after 10 years dancing and teaching in Europe they were eager to pass on their experience and passion for dance to the next generation of students. They consequently set out to create a caring and nurturing school where students of all ages can thoroughly enjoy dancing. Both recognised the benefits of dance, not only in developing skills and technique, but its ability to improve the physical, social and emotional health of students.

The GCDA mission therefore is to provide a programme of dance eduction that is engaging, fun and beneficial. We want students to create lifelong friendships and memories through dance and to enjoy the benefits of a dance education that will last a lifetime.

All students are welcomed and treated equally at GCDA. Teachers recognise that not all students will learn in the same ways. Auditory, visual and kinaesthetic teaching methods are employed to engage and relate to students in different ways. Also, reciprocal, inclusive and guided discovery teaching styles help to make classes more interactive and engaging. Ensuring students are totally engaged in what they are learning enables learning to be both successful and enjoyable for all students.


Enjoyment through dance is the principal goal of our programmes at GCDA. When we dance our brain releases endorphins which can trigger neurotransmitters that create a feeling of happiness, relaxation, fun and power. Music and dance activate the pleasure centres in our brains and reduce stress and tension. Teachers at GCDA work to create a positive atmosphere and fun and engaging lessons and experiences.

Teaching good technique is a fundamental goal in all classes in order to help the students to prevent injuries and to refine movement quality. We aim to create technically skilled dancers with the ability to dance using correct body placement and alignment and consequently to create beautiful lines, elegance and poise. Learning and mastering and finally performing new skills gives students a positive sense of achievement.

We always encourage a supportive family environment where students feel valued and respected by peers and teachers. Co-operative partner and group work activities are an important part of learning at GCDA. Group classes offer an opportunity for students to develop social skills and make new friends. In this environment, where students listen to each other, communicate ideas and solve problems together, lifelong bonds and friendships flourish.

Classes at GCDA are designed to improve the well-being of students through dance. We dance to improve cardiovascular health, increase strength, coordination and endurance and improve flexibility.

Dance also fosters children’s creativity and allows them to express emotions and their unique personalities in a safe space. All classes contain an element of free movement, choreography or improvisation. Performance opportunities give our students confidence and self-esteem.