ACG Tauranga student pirouetting to the US

Madeleine Limmer. Images: Supplied

ACG Tauranga year 11 student Madeleine Limmer has been accepted to the University of North Carolina School of the Arts High School dance programme.


The programme is the exclusive educational affiliate school of the American Ballet Theatre, renowned for its esteemed alumni and industry connections.

Madeleine has been dancing since the age of three, and she has spent the last three years attending summer intensive dance programmes in France and the USA.

Living in New Zealand made it difficult to audition live, but a video audition saw her gain offers to multiple full-time programmes, including The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia and Joffrey Ballet School in New York City.

Ultimately, inspired by her hero, renowned ballerina Gillian Murphy, she chose UNCSA.

Madeleine says UNCSA has a strong academic curriculum and also teaches drama, visual arts, music and dance in preparation for university and careers in those fields.

Madeleine’s mother Deborah Limmer says ACG Tauranga have supported Madeleine from the start to follow her ballet dream, installing ballet bars for her to practise and allowing her access to the gym during study blocks so she doesn’t have to train late at night.

“The biggest challenge we have had raising a very disciplined ballerina is to find a school that understands and supports the time she has needed to train,” Deborah says.

“Madeleine has always had academic and dance aspirations and at times, has been told to concentrate on one over the other, but she has refused to do that and ACG has backed her 100 per cent.”

Deborah says Principal Thea Killian helped Maddie with her applications, writing her a reference letter and guiding her through the process of applying.

Her teachers helped get her grades transferred to the US equivalent, opened the gym at 7am for her training, and tailored fitness training specifically for her.

“When we were first looking at ACG and our children potentially attending this school, they told us that ACG is here for the children, that they would find out what they need to help them to succeed. I agree 100 per cent!”

Madeleine’s teacher Nicky Gawler says Madeleine is an incredibly well-balanced student.

“She is driven and dedicated and this desire to achieve has allowed her to succeed at both her studies and her dancing, without one negatively impacting the other.

In fact, the discipline that she has to apply to her dancing has helped her to develop an incredible work ethic when it comes to her studies.

“An example of her dedication is her desire to complete her IGCSE History coursework before she departs for America, even though she will not be following the Cambridge curriculum at her new school.”

Madeleine will start at UNCSA High School in August.

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