We are focused on providing a welcoming space for a passionate community of likeminded students, staff, families, and the wider arts community, who are jointly dedicated to maintaining a nurturing, respectful, inclusive and safe environment for the industry’s next generation.
Dancing since the age of three, Lia began her training with Sheila Laing Dance Centre and Claudia Maddeford School of Dance before heading west for an Advanced Diploma in Dance at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts.
Lia is Chair of The Royal Academy of Dance SA, Theatre Reviewer for the Theatre Travels and was previously Chair of Move Through Life.
Originally from Adelaide, Lilyana trained at the Barbara Jayne Dance Centre before continuing her studies at the Australian Ballet School from level 5, graduating in level 8. Whilst at the school Lilyana had the opportunity to train at the Canada’s National Ballet School as an exchange student. Lilyana performed in The Australian Ballet Regional Tour of Giselle.
After graduating with a Diploma in Dance, Advanced Diploma in Dance and Graduate Diploma in Classical Ballet, Lilyana went on to join the Queensland Ballet in 2018.
Returning back home to Adelaide, Lilyana has shared her passion of ballet through teaching. Coaching the ‘Billy’s’ in Billy Elliot during their Adelaide season and currently teaching classical ballet to the Musical Theatre students of the Elder Conservatorium of Music. Most recently she toured Australia in ‘An American In Paris’ as Dance Captain/Swing.
Queensland Ballet (2018)
La Bayadére (Greg Horsman), Firebird (Liam Scarlett), Carmen (Carlos Acosta), Swan Lake, Nutcracker & Cinderella (Ben Stevenson OBE), Parts per Million (Craig Davidson), B-Sides (Jack Lister)
The Australian Ballet School (2014-2017)
Almost (Graeme Murphy), Serenade (George Balanchine), Nutcracker, Snow Queens, Paquita, Giselle
After spending the past ten years based in New York and entertaining audiences across the globe, Philippa has returned to her home city of Adelaide. Earlier this year she stared alongside Paulini and Timomatic in the 2021 Pick of The Fringe “Disco Wonderland – Dance Til Dawn”.
Before returning to Australia in 2020, Philippa finished a US national tour as lead vocalist with Cirque Du Soleil. Select credits include Carnegie Hall – Celebrating Dean Martin, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Grizabella in Cats, Broadway By The Year – New York City Town Hall, a regular artist at Feinstein’s 54 Below, soloist with the UK National Symphony Orchestra and ensemble vocalist in 20th Century Fox’s The Greatest Showman. In 2011, Philippa was honored to win the prestigious Broadway’s Rising Star Award. Alumni American Musical & Dramatic Academy.
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From the age of 5 Valentina was trained in artistic gymnastics. From 1977 – 1985, she studied at the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Moscow. After graduation she worked as a soloist and principal dancer at the Moscow Festival Theatre. In 1991 Valentina was invited by a prominent Russian choreographer Vladimir Vasiliev to join the State Kremlin Ballet of Russia as a soloist and principal dancer.
Her repertoire includes: Swan Lake, Cinderella, Nutcracker, Giselle, Don Quixote, Ruslan and Lyudmila, Napoleon Bonaparte, Tom Sawyer, Sleeping Beauty, Paquita, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth and The Walpurgis Night.
During her career, Valentina toured worldwide across Great Britain, Japan, Ireland, France, Spain, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Taiwan, China, Norway and Canary Islands.
Valentina has worked with prominent Russian choreographers like Yuri Grigorovich, Vladimir Vasiliev, Andrei Petrov and Marius Liepa.
Valentina has taught ballet classes for professionals when she worked in the Kremlin Ballet and in Moscow Ballet La Classique. Valentina also conducted rehearsals. She enjoys working with children, and has extensive experience teaching youngsters in Russia, Japan and Great Britain.
In 2004 Valentina choreographed a composition from ‘Swan Lake’ with students from Charles Campbell Secondary School.
From 2005 Valentina has continued working at her ballet school, Pavlova School of Classical Ballet as a classical ballet teacher and principal.
Valentina has also worked at Mitcham Rhythmic Gymnastics Club since 2005 as a ballet teacher.
Emily Higgins began dancing at Vivienne Winter School of Ballet from the age of 2. Having completed training in the Royal Academy of Dance achieving distinctions from primary right through to Advanced Two, Emily is currently studying Solo Seal. A finalist in the Royal Academy of Dance Awards on multiple occasions and have been award the Badenoch Iversen award. For the past six years Emily has represented South Australian as a member of the South Australian National Calisthenics team, achieving success as a member of the winning Junior National team and runner up of the Junior National Graceful Girl Championship. Emily has been in Full Time programme at GWB Studios for the last two years. Studied genres include Classical, Lyrical, Contemporary, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Vocal and Commercial. She is a passionate dancer who enjoys working hard, taking every opportunity to perform, setting and achieving goals with enthusiasm.
Jemma Allen is a vibrant performer and teacher specialising in musical theatre, jazz and cabaret. She has trained and worked with several of the top vocal educators in Australia, such as Roseanne Hosking, George Torbay, Daniel Puckey, Lauren Henderson, and Elle Nichelle (Vocalab). She has a Certificate IV in Dance from the Australian Company of Performing Arts and has trained at the Elder Conservatorium in jazz voice and musical theatre. She has recently returned from Melbourne where she trained full time as a musical theatre at Jason Coleman’s Ministry of Dance as a scholarship student in 2021.
Sheila Laing began her classical training at the age of four, at Bush Davies School, Romford, UK.
Although classical ballet was her first love, she was also a very talented theatrical dancer, winning many awards throughout her her years of training. At the age of sixteen, Sheila decided to open her own school, with students winning many awards in ballet and musical theatre competitions.
In 1986, Sheila travelled to Adelaide to accept a position as assistant to Miss Eileen Hogarth, who later retired and handed the reins over to Miss Laing, who renamed the school ‘The Sheila Laing Dance Centre’ and immediately extended the school to include full-time students, a first for South Australia.
Sheila has choreographed many ballet productions and her students have gained much success in various ballet competitions throughout Australia. Some of her most memorable acclaims are having choreographed for the ABC series ‘The Music Makers’ and winning National Choreographer of the Year from the TV series ‘Pot of Gold’.
Sheila’s former students scattered in various companies throughout the world – not only in classical companies but also in theatre, television and movies. Some of her students (who you might recognise) include Richelle Brookman (GWB Entertainment, GWB Studios, McFarlane Brookman Theatres), Lia Cox (Royal Academy of Dance), Brett Simon (The Australian Ballet 2007-2018), Noi Tolmer (Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Company), Melinda Privopoulos (Director, Bodycentric, Adelaide), Michelle Hofmann (Turning Point Dance, Adelaide), Carissa Neate-Lammers (Director, Carisma Dance, Adelaide) just to name a few.
In 1996, Miss Laing became a ‘Dual Examiner’ of the Royal Academy of Dance and later sold the Sheila Laing Dance Centre in 2004. This has allowed her to spend more time guest teaching and concentrate more on her examining commitments all over the world.
Since the age of three, Gemma has trained in ballet, jazz, tap and contemporary dance, studying and completing Borovansky and Cecchetti syllabi and CSTD tap exams.
Beginning her dance training at Dance Dimension and later at Barbara Jayne Dance Centre, Gemma competed in many SA-based and interstate dance competitions, winning tao and theatrical championships. At age eight, Gemma landed her first professional role as an understudy for the role of Marta in The Sound of Music with the Gordon Frost Organisation. Following this Gemma performed in many pro-am musical theatre productions with The Met and the Therry Dramatic Society, including Gypsy, Anything Goes, Holly Dolly, 42nd St, Crazy For You and The Boy From Oz.
Gemma has taught at various dance schools across Adelaide, teaching exam syllabi, competition teams and solos, as well as full-time course dance students. She is an accredited Acro teacher with Acrobatic Arts and specialises in jazz, tap, lyrical and contemporary dance.
Alongside her career as a dance teacher, she is also a qualified social worker, advocating for and supporting our most vulnerable members in society. As a dance teacher, Gemma values nurturing her students’ talents and exploring their needs to further enhance their full potential.
Dr. Briah Victory
Briah developed an early love for music and movement and grew up training in many facets of the performing arts. She entered the industry at a young age with professional credits including The Sound of Music Adelaide Season 2000, Black and White Australian film 2002, The Australian Ballet Company’s Sleeping Beauty Adelaide Season 2006 as well as a number of televised commercials and promotional shows. As a late teenager Briah left the performing arts industry to pursue a career in medicine.
She holds a Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery from The University of Adelaide and is currently enrolled in the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrist’s Fellowship Program. She has an interest in paediatric mental health and holds a Certificate in Perinatal Mental Health from the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Service of South Australia.
Briah found her way back to the performing arts world through choreographing and coaching performance pieces for aspiring dancers. Her work has been celebrated on a national stage with many award winning performances and two nominations for Get The Beat International Dance Competition’s Choreographer of The Year in 2017 and 2018.
To enhance her dance coaching abilities Briah has completed an Associate Diploma with the Australian Institute of Classical Dance and recently gained accreditation in Marie Walton-Mahon’s Progressing Ballet Technique. Briah is passionate about developing dancers with a secure technical foundation, robust understanding of their body and mind including how to keep themselves safe and instilling a joy of dance that can be individually celebrated and openly shared with others.
Chymz began dancing at an early age training in ballet before finding her true passion in hip hop. She brings her own flair as part of the NBL Adelaide 36ers and BBL Adelaide Strikers dance teams. Chymz is a seasoned choreographer based in Adelaide who loves teaching kids how to find their groove. She is incredibly excited to teach dancers how to find their own flow, groove and style. She believes in building your confidence and having fun while dancing!
Chylie Cooper was born in Thailand and grew up in Adelaide studying ballet with Jaqueline Tucker, Christine Underdown and performing with the South Australian Children’s Ballet Company.Her further studies were undertaken in Perth at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts , graduating with a Diploma of Dance. In 1996 she worked with Rex Reid at Dance Theatre Victoria, then danced with David Prudham’s Australian Dancers Company in Perth for its 1998/99 seasons and with West Australian Ballet.In 1999, Chylie joined Australian Dance Theatre in Adelaide under the direction of Garry Stewart.Chylie then moved to Sydney and joined Sydney Dance Company in 2000. She toured with the Company throughout Australia and to the United States, Mexico, Germany, Austria, New Zealand, China and the UK.In 2011, Chylie joined MOD Dance Company for a season premiere at Star city.During the the past seven years Chylie has performed independently and taught inSydney at Newtown High School of Performing Arts and Tutu studios. She is currently teaching at the Australian Dance Theatre.Sydney Dance Company repertoire: Stephen Petronio’s Underland; Meryl Tankard’s INUK2; Graeme Murphy’s Mythologia, Berlin, Salome, Air and other invisible forces, Free Radicals, the role of Miss Evelyn Rose and “rue de Paris’ in Tivoli, Ellipse, Random Play, the Superstar in Shades of Gray, The Bathroom duo in Some Rooms, Grand, Hua Mulan, The Director’s Cut, Ever After Ever, (appearing in highlights from Air and other invisible forces, Ellipse and Berlin) and in the premiere of Short Stories. Rafael Bonachela’s 360o and we unfold and Aszure Barton’s Sid’s Waltzing Masquerade. Narelle Benjamin’s; Gossamer.Other career credits: MOD Dance Company; Suite Synergy West Australian Ballet: Coppelia; Australian Dance Theatre: Plastic Space, Bird Brain; David Prudham’s; Australian Dancers Company: Virtuosity, Spilt. Dance Theatre Victoria: Peter and the Wold. Film and Television Credits: Mao’s Last Dancer: ABC Dance Academy
Tayla Curtis is a dancer/choreographer who grew up in Adelaide. After finishing high school, Tayla moved to Sydney where she studied at Brent Street Studios and received her Diploma in Elite Performance. Tayla has also trained under the guidance of Marko Panic and Katie Sanchez in The Dream Show Business 2020, where she had the opportunity to work closely with industry leaders, as well as artists such as Australia’s very own, Jessica Mauboy. She has also obtained her Certificate IV in Dance Teaching & Management and is a qualified dance teacher. Tayla has performed on THE VOICE AU as a dancer, as well as having performed at The Premiers Gala in Sydney for artists such as Tim Campbell and Casey Donovan. Tayla has always had a passion for creating & choreographing and has had the opportunity to both dance and choreograph for the Adelaide Fringe Festival across multiple seasons, as well as teach and share her style across Adelaide and Sydney for many years!
Meg studied contemporary dance full time at Adelaide College of the Arts and New Zealand School of Dance. She also spent time with Melbourne company, Chunky Move, studying their signature style, Counter technique. Meg has a strong training in Classical ballet achieving her RAD Advanced 1, Bursary, and Borovansky Solo Seal. She also has a strong training in Ashtanga Yoga and Pilates. For the past four years she has been teaching Pilates, Stretch, Yoga and fitness for Aleenta Barre and various Calisthenics clubs. Meg spent 2021 being mentored by and working with Melissa Laing of Melissa Laing Pilates Studio. Meg is also a qualified Acupuncturist and Doctor of Chinese Medicine with a Bachelor of Health Science (Acupuncture) and works for various clinics across Adelaide.
Jenni has combined her formative years as a Classical Ballet Student/Amateur performer with her academic years of pre and post graduate Physiotherapy study resulting in a passionate focus on Dance Injury / Education and Prevention. As a long standing member of The International Association of Dance Medicine and Science, Jenni remains up to date with the current research in Dance Medicine, treatment and preventative methodology. She holds strong beliefs in working with the junior dancers through their developmental years to achieve maximum potential, as well as following through with the tertiary students and professional performers in maintenance programs, specific rehabilitation and injury prevention protocols. Additional dance related work includes Assessor for the Cecchetti Method Teachers qualification, lecturer for the Royal Academy of Dance (SA Chapter), Anatomy lecturer for Certificate 2,3 and 4 in Dance and guest Pilates Instructor for the RAD.
Jenni is Director of Smart Health Training and Services, a private allied health / medical centre which works strongly on the philosophy for a collaborative care model. Here, she runs the Smart Dancer program, the Smart Rower program and Pilates teacher training.
Jenni is a Senior Educator and Examiner for Polestar Pilates Education, teaching both the Certificate IV and Diploma Levels of Pilates Qualification as well as the Advanced Post Graduate Modules. Through working on the Pilates Alliance Australasia and for Polestar Pilates Education, Jenni has been involved in industry consultation toward Pilates delivery and education standards in Australia.
Jenni holds membership with the Pilates Alliance Australasia, Australian Physiotherapy Association and sits on the committee for the Private Business Owners group,, Board member of Ausdance SA, member and sponsor of the Friends of Australian Ballet (SA), an elected member of Wilderness School Governing Council and Wilderness School Foundation Board.
Danika’s love of dance and performing began at a very early age.She was an incredibly shy and quiet little girl so at the age of three her parents enrolled her into dance classes and she has never looked back. Training in all genres of dance including ballet, jazz, lyrical, acro, musical theatre, tap, singing and many more, Danika’s confidence grew as did her love for performing. She entered the professional industry in 2015 playing Martain in the national production of The Sound of Music. In 2017 Danika was selected as the lead dancer for the opening ceremony of the international Astronautical Congress. Danika continued to train seven days a week, regularly competing at dance competitions where she won a number of national titles and was recently selected into Australia’s Dream Dance Creative Elite Team. As Danika continues to grow and develop as a dancer herself she has began to share her love of dance through choreographing performance pieces and coaching classes to the younger generation, with her work receiving award winning performances.
Maddie started dancing at a young age at Centre Stage Dance in New Jersey, and in 2005 continued her performing arts journey in South Australia. Having been involved in the Adelaide Performing Arts comminity for many years, Maddie made the decision to develop her dance and vocal training in Melbourne, completing her Diploma in Dance (PA) at Transit Dance (2019). Maddie has performed in Singapore as an acrobat in the show ‘Young Circus Time’ (2014), was featured in the 2015 Adelaide Fringe Show ‘Trapped’ as a vocalist/acrobat and in 2022 performed as a backup singer and dancer in Hans: ‘A night at the Symph-Honey’. She has additionally worked with Ding Productions, performing as a dancer in corporate and sport events such as the Master’s Game at the Adelaide Convention centre (2019), Adelaide Striker’s BBL (2020-2022) and the AFL (2021).
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