Nicole Hough – Director
From very early beginnings, Nicole trained with the best in the Industry including Bernadette Langshaw-Clark, and at Pineapple studios (London). Fully qualified in RAD Classical Ballet, Nicole found her love of teaching to be grounded in Jazz which she has successfully taught for over 20 years across Sydney. Throughout her performing career Nicole has worked with top choreographers and been cast in many Sydney shows including Corporate gigs, Commercial Dance contracts with Di Heaton, Super League, Sydney City Roosters, Canterbury Cheerleaders, Hannah Barbera, Australia’s Wonderland and Walt Disney Productions.
2012 now marks an important era for Nicole joining forces with Hornsby Dance to form INDUSTRY PERFORMING ARTS. Her passion for teaching is evident in her solo and group routines and she is proud of her students’ many successes at local and national level Eisteddfods and being cast in professional children’s shows with RegProm Marketing &
Shannon Briscoe- Director
At the age of 5, Shannon commenced her dance training under the guidance of Samantha Simpson and Nicole Hough. She has completed all her R.A.D ballet exams and achieved her Advanced 2 ARAD. Shannon completed full-time ballet at The Conlan College training with some of Australia’s elite. Whilst on her journey to becoming a ballerina, she realised her passion for teaching ballet. Shannon has since achieved her R.A.D teacher’s certificate and is currently sitting her final year at Macquarie University studying Primary school teaching with a side major of Dance and creative arts.
Samantha Simpson (RAD Solo Seal)
Samantha’s extensive training includes elite tuition at McDonald College and the Australian Ballet School. She won numerous City of Sydney Ballet Championships and was a finalist in the RAD Bursary, City of Sydney McDonalds Scholarship, SODA Scholarship and The Isobel Anderson Awards twice. Professionally, Samantha worked with the Australian Ballet, Royal Ballet, Northern Ballet (UK) and Nancy Ballet (France with numerous guest choreographers. She performed in Sleeping Beauty, Nutcracker, Graduation Ball, Don Quixote, Swan Lake, La Fille Mal Gardée and Romeo and Juliet. Completing her RAD Teaching Certificate with High Distinction, Samantha has passionately taught ballet across Sydney for over 15 years and has succeeded in preparing students for the Australian Ballet School IJP programs and beyond. She is proud of her students’ success in solo and group Eisteddfods both locally and at national level.
Jessica Stokes is a commercial based dancer and choreographer from Australia. In 2010 Jess hit TV screens in our 3rd series of “So You Think You Can Dance” as a top 20 finalist and made it through to the final 6. Jess has been apart of the film “Happy Feet 2” working as a Motion Cap artist along side of Director George Miller and Choreographers Wade Robson and Dein Perry. Also being apart of the most recent Australian Film “Goddess” and one of India’s biggest Blockbuster films “Dhoom 3”. Some of her credits include; X Factor, So You Think You Can Dance, Aria Music Awards, Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards, Dolly Teens Choice Awards, Australia’s Got Talent, Australian Idol Grand Finale, AFI Awards, Hey Hey It’s Saturday, Australia’s Next Top Model and more.
Ashleigh started dancing at age 12 in her hometown Agnes Water QLD. Ashleigh had a naturalability for dance and it was not long until she wanted to pursue dance as a career. Ashleigh moved to Sydney at age 18 to complete a full-time performing arts course at UrbanDance Centre where she trained with Juliette Verne, Veronica George, Amy Campbell, Loredo Malcolm, Paul Saliba, Michael Fransisco ‘Sisco’, Nacho Pop, Rosa Aguis, Tiana Joubert, Kim Parrish and more. After completing full-time Ashleigh became a member of the faculty at Urban Dance Centre and worked along side her well renowned full-time teachers. She gained valuable experience working in the industry as both a dancer, choreographer, director and teacher.
Ashleigh has been in many music videos including ‘Israel ft Che’nelle’ & ‘Laura-Leigh’. She has danced for MC Hammer, Matt Lee K ‘Usher Album Launch’, as a J-Foxx Dancer in the RussianCoachman, Luna Park Dancer and Entertainer, Dancer and Entertainer for the ‘Ivy’, ‘Dolton House’and ‘The Hilton’ Corporate events. Although Ashleigh enjoys the corporate entertainment world her true passion lies with contemporary dance and choreography. Ashleigh became Co-Director and Choreographer ofTwisted Element Dance Company. Choreographer for Foxy Loxy Entertainment. Choreographed the ‘Australian Glee Cast’ that toured LA. Choreographs well-renowned studio eisteddfod routines and solos. And also holds many workshops throughout the NSW & QLD region, specialising in lyrical/contemporary.
Tania began dancing at the age of 5 but her genuine passion for tap arose in her early teens when she started to complete the B.A.L Tap Syllabus. Achieving Honours in her exams, Tania knew her love of tap was only at its surface. Throughout her schooling Tania completed numerous eisteddfods and still today she is involved with many of Australia’s leading dance competitions.
In 2012 Tania started training with nationally and internationally known artists including Derick Grant, Sarah Reich, Aoedle Cassel as well as Shane Preston, Winston Morris, Glenn Wood and many others. Tania has also worked alongside other great Australian tappers like Glenn Dumbrell for the 2015 Chinese New Year Festival Parade, Tracey Wilson and many others including current and ex-Tap Dogs. In 2013 Tania completed her University degree of BA Arts Major in Dance. Through her degree she enhanced her abilities to explain movements, explore shading and tones of sound and the musicality of dance. She now is a full time dance teacher at various studios across Sydney and is constantly performing on weekends for various tap, hip-hop and cheerleading events so she can keep up-to-date with the new styles and standards in dance.
With 30 years of dance experience, Melanie’s specialty lies within Street dance styles and choreography. Styles include Hip Hop, Commercial Jazz, Breaking, Popping, Locking, Krump & House Dance. All enhanced by her background in Contemporary, Classical Ballet, Jazz, Tap & Musical Theatre.
Melanie’s Performance/Choreographic credits include: Johnny Ruffo, Danielle DeLaite, Senani, Amanda Perez, Israel, Random, Selwyn, Lordz of the Fly, Maya Jupiter, Foreign Heights, Sneeky Sound System and Joseph Gatehau of Australian Idol. Other Choreographic achievements include: The Opening of the Urban Music Awards 2006/2007, Big Day Out, Sweatfest, Ministry of Sound, Battle of the Year, Sleazeball, and Corporate entertainment for Hewlard Packard, Apple Ipod, Telstra, Footlocker and Adidas. Melanie has been teaching for well over 20 years, is currently in high demand and is well respected as one of Sydney’s Leading and most experienced Dancers, Teachers and Choreographers. She is currently employed as Johnny Ruffo’s Choreographer and has just completed work on his latest Single ‘Untouchable” as well as his tour choreography.
Jessica started dancing at the age of 3. Jessica attended the Sonja Dene Dance Studios where she gained most of her training in ballet, jazz, contemporary, musical theatre, hip-hop and lyrical. Jessica pursued full-time training at the Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching Academy for 2 years and received the opportunity of competing in the Youth America Grand Prix and the Genee International Competition. In 2011 Jessica furthered her full-time training at the Vocational Ballet College and Academy Ballet. She then moved to New York City that same year to attend the prestigious Joffrey Ballet School. After graduating the school in 1 year, she accepted a contract with the Joffrey Touring Company NYC. She was a company member for 2 years and had the privilege to travel along the East Coast of America and to Florence, Italy.
Ben has been dancing since the age of 7, with focal training in Ballet, Contemporary and Jazz. This further developed to exploring other styles, ranging from hip-hop, acrobatics, musical theatre and tap. Being a former IPA student, I thought about my next step after graduating high school and decided to attend Ev and Bow Full-Time Dance Training Centre for a year and receive my Certificate IV in Dance, under the guidance of Sarah Boulter and Adam Blanch. Ben was awarded DanceLife Unite Senior National Champion and received a 3-month scholarship to train in New York City at Broadway Dance Centre, where he was lucky enough to assist international choreographers at workshops, conventions and open classes.
Ben will soon begin a new production that he have been cast in, being ‘King Roger’ with The Opera Australia, beginning in December 2016. Ben has been accepted into the new upcoming season of The Dream Dance Company for 2017, choreographed by Sarah Boulter and Directed by Marko Panzic.
Ben wishes to continue to inspire and be inspired by other dancers around him and share his knowledge with them, whilst further developing his love and passion for dance and teaching.
Kate began dancing at the age of 6 at Ecole Classique under the directorship of Prudence Bowen. At 15 she joined their full-time program (by then under new directorship) and later Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching Academy whilst continuing to train with Prudence Bowen privately. In 1998 she completed her RAD Advanced 2 exam, was awarded the Warringah Scholarship, received the RAD Bursary, won The McDonald’s Ballet Scholarship, was awarded the gold medal at the Genee International Ballet Competition and received a scholarship from The Prix De Lausanne International Ballet Competition to The Royal Ballet School in London which she commenced in 1999.
In 2000 she returned to Australia and began teaching at The Conlan College of Classical Ballet where she remained as head of Faculty under Simone Conlan as well as standing in as director for a year whilst Miss Conlan was on maternity leave. Kate spent 2 years in Western Australia with her then fiance Ben and taught for Samantha Leeman at Stevens Dance Academy. She completed her Teachers Certificate with the Royal Academy of Dance in 2003. Some of Kate’s choreographic highlights include winning McDonalds Sydney Eisteddfod Dance of Champions 2013 entry, Por una Cabeza. The Open Age Classical Groups from 2011 to 2016. Kate is married to Ben and has two sons, Mitchell and Archer.
At age 5 i started to train dance and acrobatics on the Central coast, NSW. I fell in love straight away with the thrill and feeling of flipping and tricking. I have been apart of Soul Entertainment, Dargie Entertainment, Central coast Mariners Entertainment, Australia’s got talent, The Today Show, Boys in Dance awareness programs and National Champion Acrobatic Troupes. I completed my Full-time at Lee Academy majoring in acrobatics being taught by Russian gymnast Vadzim Paliashchuk. Although my original dream was to hit the stage with Cirque, i couldn’t beat the feeling of teaching and passing on my love and passion for acrobatics. I currently teach at D3 Tuggerah for original Tap Dog Darren Disney. and I firmly believe in going for your goals and going hard and that is what I bring to class each and every lesson. No holding back.
Deborah studied RAD ballet and ISTD National Character as a child with Dalvern Thom and then went on to continue her studies full time with Joan and Monica Halliday, completing all levels including her RAD Advanced Certificate in ballet and achieving her ARAD status. After travelling extensively and performing internationally, Deborah returned to her teaching career and completed her RAD teacher training qualification with Prudence Bowen and has been an active RAD registered teacher since 1992.
At home in Australia, Deborah has been involved in much commercial work and has performed in a great many shows, events and featured in TV work and photo shoots. Deborah has also judged locally for the Showcase Australian Dance Championships Regional Competitions and Showcase National Finals in Australia and New Zealand. Deborah has also been on judging panels for dance competitions internationally, such as Canada and the USA and was in the very first cultural exchange performance in China.
For 12 years she was the Studio Director of the Deborah Johnson Dance Centre in Castle Hill and had many successes with her students having placements with the Australian Ballet school, VCA, Chicago Ballet, Elmhurst and the Moulin Rouge Paris. Deborah’s students have had abundant success on the competition circuit, winning many prestigious competitions, including Sydney Eisteddfod and training the Intermediate winner of the 2008 RAD Isobel Anderson Awards. In 2012 Deborah founded Northern Beaches Dance Co, which quickly grew to over 350 students by its 3rd year of operation.
During her time there, she extended her knowledge of preschool dance training with Beverley Spell from the USA and launched her own Tiny Stars preschool curriculum.
Deborah has recently sold her school and is currently working as a freelance RAD ballet teacher, working for some of Sydneys most prestigious full-time ballet schools such as Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching Academy. She is passionate about continuing her professional development and is experienced in exam preparation for all ages and levels.
Deborah has also overseen and been appointed Mentor by the RAD for many new teachers undergoing their teacher training qualifications.
Deborah has successfully been selected by the Artistic Director of the RAD, Paula Hunt to attend the 2018 RAD Examiners Training Program.
This year Deborah was fortunate enough to travel to the Institute of Arts Barcelona, where she attended the World Dance Movement Convention.
Deborah is looking forward to sharing her love of ballet and years of teaching experience with a new generation of dancers to inspire, as well as nurture the dancers and dance lovers of the future.