Local Opens Dance Studio


Fourteen year old Glentunnel dancer Manaia Davies and her mother Yerane have recently undertaken a new venture with the opening of ‘The Compound’ dance studio in central Christchurch.

“The name came about in response to the Studio’s ideology,” Manaia explained proudly. “We are really about bringing the community and dance industry together.  ‘Compound’ is when two or more things are combined, so it just sat really well with that concept,” she said.

The dance studio idea was born after Manaia’s recent travels to Los Angeles for  the ‘Bodyrock’ dance competition. “I was selected to attend this event by Todd Williamson (an amazing choreographer who has worked with artists including Jennifer Lopez, Cardi B, BlackPink etc.) alongside twenty other incredibly talented dancers from all around New Zealand. While I was there for the competition I really wanted to extend my knowledge of hip hop so I took a lot of different dance classes through numerous studios.

It really opened my eyes to the atmosphere that was being created by these amazing people and dancers,” Manaia reported. “My experience overseas was definitely unforgettable and I met so many remarkable people. However when I came back home I realised that dancers from Christchurch lacked this kind of experience and atmosphere and so I wanted to create it for them,” she added. “The idea started initially with the intention of creating a show and facilitating a five week intensive course bringing down different choreographers from Auckland to teach. However, we then started to think about location and cost, only to find the answer was right there in front of us,” Manaia commented. “That’s when we just decided to go all out and create a dance studio of our own,” she said enthusiastically.

The Studio took around two months to get up and running and things fortunately fell easily into place. The Studio opening event attracted a lot of support and had a fantastic atmosphere that Manaia hadn’t experienced locally before. Manaia is currently teaching hip hop, and would also like to get some other styles of dance classes up and running in the near future. She and her close friend Melissa McCracken are the two main teachers in the Studio but they do bring down teachers from Auckland on occasion. These itinerant  teachers tutor pop-up classes so everyone can learn from their experience and talent. “The classes have been amazing so far and the reactions to the space are so special,” Manaia said. “Everyone understands what we’re about and how we want to encourage everybody and they seem to be all for it,” she added.

Manaia has always wanted a dance studio and feels very blessed to have one at her age. “Most fourteen year olds wouldn’t have this opportunity,” she said.

She is very grateful for it describing herself as ‘really just a girl who loves to dance’.

To find out more information visit Instagram: @thecompound_studio