- Content Creator
Enrolled in dance classes before she started primary school, Nerida Cortese has been dancing almost since she could walk; and turned her childhood passion into a glittering career, including more recently - a large and dedicated following on social media!
The vibrant, energetic, mum-of-two has been training, performing and choreographing dance for the last 30 years, and is known to Kiwis as the bubbly star of shows including “Battle of the Ballroom,” “So You Think You Can Dance” and “Dancing With The Stars.”
Australian-born Nerida grew up in a tight-knit family, with a love of the outdoors thanks to her father, who took her skiing, motorbiking, sailing and surfing – his adventurous spirit stayed with her after his tragic passing when Nerida was just 11.
Seeing her natural ability on the dance floor, Nerida’s mother encouraged her to take up ballroom dancing at 14, which she found an instant affinity with. At 17, she moved to Sydney to train at an elite level, living on just $40 a week for food – with every spare dollar going on lessons, costumes and travel to competitions!
Paired with a Kiwi dancer, Nerida moved across the ditch to compete and represent NZ at the ballroom dancing world championships, beginning the Kiwi chapter of her life. She went on to represent New Zealand internationally in Dancesport Competitions throughout Asia, United Kingdom, Europe and the USA.
It wasn’t long before she was appearing on our screens as the country embraced the ballroom dancing craze, which has never left us since!
Working on DWTS, Nerida was involved in choreographing and teaching visually exciting routines suitable for inexperienced dance partners (including Shane Cortese, Monty Betham and Shane Cameron). Since 2015, she has been choreographer and dance producer for the show, and reprises this role each year. She has also choreographed for the NZ TV Media Awards, stage productions, corporate events and team building days.
Nerida married Shane Cortese in 2009 (her first DWTS partner) and together they are parents of Kees and Jett. Parenthood has brought both great joys and challenges for Nerida; with Kees being diagnosed on the autism spectrum when he was two; and Jett affected by multiple allergies as a baby.
Nerida has spoken publically about navigating her family’s health issues, and the approaches she has taken to best support her boys (including refined diets and removing toxic chemicals from the home). Every obstacle, she has faced with her trademark energy and positivity.
Nerida is a classic “people person,” who loves nothing more than quality time, spent either with family and friends, or her students; with whom she can share great conversation, a good laugh or knowledge of something they are passionate about.Nerida herself is passionate about performing and teaching dance - it thrills her to see people improve, and fall in love with dance as much as she has.
In more recent years, social media has provided a way for Nerida to reach a wider audience with her zeal for dance. During the 2021 Lockdowns, Nerida partnered with Jett to present regular energetic dance routines on Tik Tok and Instagram, much to the delight of her following, who cannot get enough of their fancy synchronised footwork!
When Nerida isn’t on the dancefloor, she is learning how to play golf and tennis; skiing, tramping, biking, at the beach; or catching as many gigs, plays and shows as she can. Or you will find her cooking in the kitchen with partner Steve.
Nerida is an ambassador for Breast Cancer Cure, and she has worked on co-labs with Corbin Rd Skincare, Suna Pilates, Augustine, Alaska Tees and Adairs NZ. She enjoys working with brands that reflect her own energetic and sunny outlook on life!