Course Information

NAISDA delivers four nationally accredited courses:

10277NAT Certificate III in Dance Practice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

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10628NAT Certificate IV in Dance Practice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

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10629NAT Diploma of Professional Dance Performance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

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10841NAT Advanced Diploma of Professional Dance Performance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

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NAISDA follows a competency-based training and assessment system with students applying to enrol through an application and audition process. NAISDA’s trainers, assessors and visiting artists are highly qualified professionals with extensive industry experience.

NAISDA’s training is subsidised by the NSW Government for eligible students and through the Australian Government’s Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications. There are associated NAISDA costs that students and their families need to consider including uniforms, travel, personal items, food and accommodation.

NAISDA fees and charges for 2022 are currently under review. Further information about current fees and costs are outlined in the  NAISDA Study Guide.

During training, students studying Certificate III to Diploma qualifications are referred to as Developing Artists (DAs) with students studying Advanced Diploma known as Practising Artists (PAs).


Certificate III to Diploma

NAISDA’s Certificate III to Diploma courses run a full calendar year over four terms from January until December aligned with the NSW public school system.

Training includes practical dance technique across a range of dance genres, theory classes and cultural classes.

Cultural learning and knowledge is at the forefront of NAISDA training. The NAISDA Cultural Residency program underpins all learning and informs the development of Contemporary Indigenous Dance. This offers a unique opportunity for Developing Artists to build cultural knowledge and connection, and learn first-hand from our Elders, communities and knowledge holders.

Each year, NAISDA is privileged to welcome Cultural Tutors from Indigenous communities to campus. The full student cohort pays a return visit later in the academic year and travels to the Cultural Tutors’ home community for a week of remote cultural learning and sharing.

NAISDA produces two performance seasons annually; productions are presented on the Central Coast in alignment with NAIDOC celebrations and in Sydney at the conclusion of the academic year in November. These enable Developing Artists to develop artistic and creative excellence within a professional performance environment. Throughout the year Developing Artists may also participate in a variety of performances and workshops within the community and at corporate events.

Image by Lisa Haymes

Developing Artists are expected to travel to see performances and shows as part of their studies. Transport to these events is provided by NAISDA.

NAISDA enjoys strong partnerships with key organisations to deliver its secondment and professional development program. These unique secondments, which can last between two weeks to two months, enable Developing Artists to hone skills, develop contacts and learn how to maximise opportunities within a professional environment.

Language, literacy and numeracy foundation skills are built into NAISDA learning. NAISDA ensures a positive, holistic and rewarding learning experience for all Developing Artists and will provide assistance in this area if required.

Training delivery takes place 8.30am to 4.30pm during term-time weekdays. Occasionally training delivery can also take place on Saturday mornings. Hours and units of study are communicated through the NAISDA weekly timetable which is produced on a fortnightly basis.

Developing Artists must attend all scheduled classes to remain eligible to access full time study and are expected to attend a minimum of 85% of all units of study to fulfil ABSTUDY requirements.

Further information about courses can be found in the Curriculum Overview and NAISDA Developing Artist Handbook.

Click here for more information about studying 10277NAT Certificate III in Dance Practice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander at NAISDA Dance College.

Click here for more information about studying 10628NAT Certificate IV Dance Practice for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples qualification at NAISDA Dance College.

Click here for more information on studying 10629NAT Diploma Of Professional Dance Performance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples at NAISDA Dance College.


The Advanced Diploma

2021 is the first year that the Advanced Diploma has been offered. It was brought onto the NAISDA curriculum in February 2021 and is designed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists entering their final year of study before progressing to a professional dance career; or for artists already practising within the industry wishing to upskill their professional practice.

The Advanced Diploma runs for 18 months over three semesters of 20 weeks. This enables Practising Artists to gain important skills and knowledge without an extensive absence from the industry.

With flexible learning streams designed to enrich skills, the qualification is tailored individually to increase ability according to experience and practice in chosen areas.  The course is a combination of core and electives units, with three streams to choose from:

  • Community Dance Practice
  • Cultural Dance Practice
  • Professional Dance Practice

Hours of study for Practising Artists will vary depending on chosen streams and units. These will be determined in consultation with the Course Coordinators.

Further information about courses can be found in the Curriculum Overview and NAISDA Developing Artist Handbook.

Click here for more information about studying 10841NAT Advanced Diploma of Professional Dance Performance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples.

The Advanced Diploma is designed to:

1. Equip Practising Artists for portfolio careers and ensure they are ready for the changing context of artistic practice.

2. Address Practising Artists’ need for the development of transferable and interdisciplinary skills in future workforces.  This includes the trend toward career fluidity within the creative and cultural sector by providing artists with opportunities to retrain, enhance and diversify practice.

3. Position Practising Artists to effectively contribute to predicted, or unpredicted, new and innovative ways of working.

4. Address skills-innovation for Practising Artists in times of technological transformation, capitalising on opportunity with digital technology to create work, collaborate, reach audiences, maximise revenue streams and explore forms of expression.

5. Reflect a balance of art form learning and entrepreneurial skills.

6. Address the sector’s changing demands for learning, collaboration, connection, commercialisation and new income opportunities.

7. Address opportunities to apply skills across a range of other industries beyond the cultural and creative sectors.


Course Selection Process

Admission to NAISDA is through an application and audition process. Selection is determined by the NAISDA Training Department. Developing Artists will be assessed on their ability to partake in full time study and a desire to pursue a career in the performing arts sector. During the audition process NAISDA will work with prospective Developing Artists to consider suitable accommodation choices either through the On site Cottages or the NAISDA Homestay Program. Accommodation will be organised prior to the Developing Artist accepting their place on a course.

There are no pre-requisite units within the Advanced Diploma. The course involves a high level of physical movement, academic study and individual feedback. It requires students to be mature, able to plan and organise, use their initiative and self-manage for study success. It is envisaged that Practising Artists will have advanced training and experience within their chosen performance stream.

NAISDA may assist Practising Artists with the provision or accessing of accommodation following discussion with the Advanced Diploma Course Coordinators

Find out more about auditioning for NAISDA and eligibilty.