Laura McQueen Schultz

RNZB-2589 For the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Photo credit: Stephen A'Court. COPYRIGHT ©Stephen A'Court

Laura McQueen Schultz joined the RNZB whānau as a Ballet Master in 2018 after a successful 19-year career as a professional dancer.  During that time, she was Associate Artistic Director of Young People’s Ballet, Ballet Master and stager for Grand Rapids Ballet, faculty teacher at numerous schools in the West Michigan area, choreographer and Co-director for Children’s Opera Workshop, and Outreach Educator for Grand Rapids Ballet. 

Laura grew up in Grand Rapids, Michigan where she studied ballet, at the School of Grand Rapids Ballet, under the direction of Charthel Arthur and Robert Estner.  As a student she also received imperative training at Houston Ballet Academy, San Francisco Ballet School, and the National Ballet School of Canada.  After training, Laura danced professionally with Saint Louis Ballet followed by 17 years at Grand Rapids Ballet, many of which were under the direction of Patricia Barker. 

She had the pleasure to dance principal roles in The Four Temperaments, Who Cares?, Alice in Wonderland, Black Swan and White Swan, The Moor’s Pavan, Romeo and Juliet, Raymonda Pas de Dix, Giselle, Swan Lake, The Sleeping Beauty, and The Nutcracker. Laura was also privileged to have works created for her by contemporary choreographers such as Robyn Mineko Williams, Penny Saunders, Andrea Schermoly, Mário Radačovský, and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. 

Since joining the RNZB she has had the privilege to coach and stage several works from the RNZB’s repertoire. She has co-choreographed the hugely successful Ugly Duckling and Tāne and the Kiwi, alongside her husband Nick Schultz, fellow RNZB Ballet Master, for RNZB family education shows.  Teaching is also a big part of the job, allowing her to meet the tamariki of Aotearoa while on tour and she has the pleasure to teach classical majors at the New Zealand School of Dance.  

The enormous amount of information that is gained from working alongside world class stagers, and choreographers is the best part of being a Ballet Master.  Passing along the information to the next generation of dancers is what makes this the most incredible job.