Mia’s story

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Mia Bruning’s only in the first week of her first professional dance contract, and she’s already been flown to Mumbai, Bahrain, and Dubai. Mia graduated from Whitireia and WelTec in 2022 with a Bachelor of Creativity (Performing Arts). After hearing from previous graduates how incredible contracts could be in India, she knew it was the right opportunity for her.  

We spoke to Mia about her first week of work and look back on her time studying dance at Te Auaha, our creative campus in central Wellington. 

How are you feeling about going to India for your first professional dancing contract? 

I am super excited and nervous about this adventure. I’m already 1 week in and absolutely loving it. I’m also here with two other past graduates, Piper Morrison and Shavaun Tohil. 

What drew you to a contract in India?  

I knew of some other past graduates that had also done a contract in India and thought it sounded very exciting! They happened to be looking for more dancers, so I took up the opportunity. We get to perform at big Indian weddings, as back up dancers for movies, in music videos and at the IPL cricket matches. 

Do you have any plans for what you want to do after this contract? 

At this stage I'm open to finding another dance contract once I finish this one, anywhere that allows me to travel. Or I’ll extend my time here in India. 

How long ago did you graduate? And have you been doing any other work in the meantime? 

I only graduated at the end of 2022 so this is my first professional job. In 2021 while studying at Te Auaha I had the opportunity to dance in the film Pearl, directed by Ti West which was a huge hit overseas.  

How has your first week of work been? 

The first week of work in India has been a bit crazy. We first landed in Mumbai and had one day of rest, then we flew off to Dubai for our first gig at a wedding for 4 days. Straight after that we were on another plane to Bahrain for another wedding. And now we are back in Mumbai ready to fly to another city to film for a music video! So it’s busy busy busy! But we are so lucky we get to travel to such beautiful places.  

What drew you to study dance at Te Auaha? 

In high school I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do in the future, and realised I didn’t enjoy many subjects at school, but I had always enjoyed dancing. I saw that Te Auaha was the only commercial dance school in New Zealand so it was the only place I auditioned/applied for!  


What was your favourite part of study? 

One of my favourite things was probably the choreography assessments and getting to put them on stage! I love being able to see my dance creations come to life and perform on stage with all of the friends I created in my three years there. 

What’s been the most helpful thing you gained from your time studying? 

The most helpful thing I gained from studying was probably the one-on-one help from the tutors. Since we had a small and close group of people, we were easily able to communicate and have one-on-one time with our tutors. They gave us valuable feedback which has really helped us grow to a professional level. This has helped lead to many dance opportunities and events. 

What was your study experience like?  

I wouldn’t change my three years at Te Auaha for anything else. Personally, I think my year group got it the best during covid times, even though we had to go into lock down every single year. It really challenged us, but it also motivated us to be better. We were lucky that by the time we graduated the world was open again.  

I have made friends for life here. It was always such a vibrant and welcoming place to go to everyday. 

What would you say to someone considering studying at Whitireia and WelTec? 

Be prepared to put in the hard work to get to your final goal. But these will be the best years of your life, Te Auaha always made studying fun.

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