Faculty

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JESSICA MASSON

Principal

Jessica has completed a Certificate IV of Performing Arts (Dance), Pre-Primary and Primary Teaching Certificates with the Royal Academy of Dance, London, as well as RAD & ATOD jazz, tap and classical examinations.  Following her vocational dance training in Melbourne, Jessica travelled to NYC to train at the world famous Broadway Dance Centre.  A versatile dancer trained in many styles of dance, Jessica specializes in teaching the theatrical styles of jazz and tap.  Jessica also adores teaching ballet classes to the 2 to 7 year old age groups, as this is where the magical journey of dance so often begins.

Her extensive career as a performing artist, includes performances at the TV Week Logie Awards, countless productions held at Melbourne’s Crown Casino, performances with many children’s entertainment groups such as Humphrey B Bear, The Wiggles, Powerpuff Girls & Sesame Street shows, feature dancer in various Bollywood films, back up dancer with the Robbie Williams and Kiss tribute bands, as well as many major sporting events including AFL Grand Finals, Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Australian Open.

Jessica has also owned and operated a talent agency providing models and dancers to clients such as Myer, David Jones, National Australia Bank, Loreal, Harris Scarf, Vodaphone, and Australia Post, to name a few.  Jessica has been a staff member at the school for over seven years, with four of those years as Assistant Director and Head of Theatrical Dance.  In 2015, Jessica was both delighted and humbled to become the Principal of The Dance Studio and looks forward to providing a rich, stimulating, nurturing and progressive dance education for the students of The Dance Studio for many years to come.

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JULIE FLEMING

Classical Ballet (Dip RBS TTC, ARAD, AISTD)

Julie studied vocationally at the Dance School of Scotland, Glasgow and The Royal Ballet Upper School, London graduating with her diploma in Classical Ballet  from the prestigious Teachers Training Course. She has over 25 years teaching experience with children and students of all levels internationally. As a tutor for the Royal Academy of Dance, Julie regularly lectures dance teachers in their professional development, is a specialist in the new RAD examination syllabus and conducts national teacher training courses. She also assesses various modules of the RAD teacher training qualifications and is often invited on teaching faculty across the country for intensive workshops and coaching with students in preparation for their examinations. Until recently, Julie was the Vice Chair of the Victorian Panel of The Royal Academy Of Dance.

Julie lives in Melbourne with her husband & two sons and loves escaping into the world of ballet!

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RACHEL DIFFEY

Classical Ballet (R.A.D. CBTS)

Rachel was a student of Hazel Durant (ARAD) and Rosamund Mussell (ARAD,AISTD) before commencing her professional training at Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts, London. There she gained a BA Hons in Dance and Theatre Performance, succeeded in many ballet, jazz and tap exams, and gained I.S.T.D Associates in both Classical Ballet and Modern Theatre Dance with Distinction. Rachel then embarked upon a 6 year performing career with 5 Star Celebrity Cruises as dancer, ensemble singer, dance captain/company manager, adage and aerial artist. In 2009 Rachel successfully completed the Royal Academy of Dance Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies and is a registered RAD teacher.

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LAURA FREW

Contemporary, Jazz & Tap

Laura has always possessed a keen passion for the performing arts. After many years of dancing in country Victoria she decided to pursue her performance dreams and completed a degree in Musical Theatre at the Ballarat Arts Academy (BAPPA) and also completed The Space Dance and Arts Centre’s full time dance course.

Laura’s performance highlights include travelling throughout China as part of a Broadway dance tour and being involved in a number of comedy and dance shows at the illustrious Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Here she performed her own show ‘Winter is Coming’ to sold out audiences, as well dancing in comedian Dave Callan’s “A Little Less Conversation 2”. Other recent performances in Edinburgh, Adelaide and Melbourne Fringe festvals include Variety shows such as ‘The Best of the Fest’, ‘Hot Dub Time Machine’ and ‘Late and Live’. She was a featured dancer in the 2015 Oxfam Comedy Gala.

Laura absolutely loves teaching and always looks forward to choreographing new things and seeing the smiles on her students faces when they are performing.

Laura’s teaching specialities are jazz, contemporary and tap.

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MADELEINE BECK

Jazz, Tap, Acrobatics, Baby-Toes

Madeleine began dancing at the age of 4 at East Ivanhoe School of dance. Later she finished 2 years of fulltime training at Jason Coleman’s Ministry of Dance where she completed both her Certificate IV and Diploma in Dance.  Madeleine has been taught by choreographers such as Jason Coleman, Paul Davis, Adrian Ricks and Yvette Lee.  She has performed in shows for Disney Australia, Opera Australia, Nine Network, the City of Melbourne & Mattel, to name a few.

Madeleine specialises in Jazz, Tap and Acrobatics and is also adored by our little Baby-Toes students!

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JOSHUA AUSTIN

Jazz, Contemporary & Hip Hop

Joshua Austin, a Sydney born performer now located in Melbourne, completed his Diploma of Dance Technique at DanceWorld studios as well as training at Patrick Studios Australia. He has worked extensively both internationally and locally, beginning his career on Australia’s commercial scene working for artists such as Delta Goodrem, Guy Sebastian and Jessica Mauboy. Joshua has performed as a principle dancer for Vertical Shadows Contemporary Dance Company, made his musical theatre debut with the Production Company’s season of Kismet and has toured extensively dancing for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.

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ISABELLE BECK

Acrobatics, Jazz & Tap

Isabelle has been dancing for 16 years at Niche Studios (formally East Ivanhoe School of Dance)  and is currently completing her first year in the full-time dance course at The Space Dance and Arts Centre. Isabelle made her first professional theatre debut in the Australian tour of Billy Elliot the Musical in the lead role of “Debbie”.  Isabelle teaches acrobatics at The Dance Studio alongside her sister Madeleine.

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GEORGIA BENNETT

Classical Ballet, Contemporary & Administration

Georgia has completed all Royal Academy of Dance Classical Ballet examinations from Primary to Intermediate level. She has trained in a variety of styles over her 16 years at TDS and has choreographed many award winning pieces for school competitions and charity events. Georgia has been a student at The Dance Studio since 2002 and her love for dance has encouraged her to continue to participate in dance classes to further her dance education. Georgia is an absolute delight with our tiniest of Baby-Toes students as well as being very popular with our older ballet and contemporary dance students. Georgia is also one of our star administration staff members who you will see working at TDS reception. At the end of 2017 she graduated from Swinburne University with a Bachelor of Communications (Public Relations). She aspires to work within the media in a public relations role.

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KATIE KINCH

Classical Ballet & Baby Toes

Katie started learning ballet when she was 3 years old. In 2003 Katie commenced at The Dance Studio (formally Hawthorn Studio of Dance) and has since completed all RAD exams from Grade 1 though to Intermediate as well as completing VCE Dance. Katie also trained in contemporary and jazz whilst at TDS and took part in the senior troupe that performed in Disneyland, L.A. in 2014. Katie has also completed many years of assistant teacher training alongside our senior staff members and is a beautiful and nurturing ballet teacher to some of our youngest dancers. Katie Kinch successfully auditioned for Kelly Aykers’ Full Time Dance and has successfully completed the course.

Laura-Parsell

LAURA PARSELL

Classical Ballet, Jazz, Tap & Administration

Laura has been dancing since she was 4 years old, completing all of her Royal Academy of Dance Examinations and Theatrical Dance Examinations at The Dance Studio (formally Hawthorn Studio of Dance). Laura has loved dancing since a young age and has trained in a variety of styles at The Dance Studio, her favourite styles being jazz and contemporary. Laura is now studying Business/Marketing at Monash University and enjoys teaching classes at The Dance Studio. You will also see Laura behind the TDS reception desk as one of our fantastic administration staff.

Laura-Birks

LAURA BIRKS

Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop & Administration

Laura began at The Dance Studio (formally Hawthorn Studio of Dance) as a Baby-Toes ballet student at the age of 4 and from then on has completed both Royal Academy of Dance Examinations and Theatrical Dance Examinations. She has trained in a variety of styles for over 13 years with her favourite styles being Hip Hop and Tap. In high school, she enjoyed choreographing her own routines through being elected house dance captain for 3 years. Children seem to naturally gravitate towards Miss Laura’s friendly smile and warm nature, making her the perfect Baby-Toes Ballet teacher! Laura is also one of our wonderful TDS administration staff members. Laura is currently studying a Bachelor of Physical Education at Deakin University whilst also working at Trampoline Park BOUNCEinc and ’The Reach Foundation’.

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ZOE COPPINGER

Jazz, Tap, Lyrical & Musical Theatre

Making her professional musical theatre debut at the age of 18 in the Production Company’s sell out season of Gypsy, Zoe has continued to perform in numerous productions. Most recently she has been a part of TML Enterprises Australian tour of Fiddler on the Roof as well as Storeyboard Entertainment’s all-star production of “Follies in Concert”, she is also about to perform in the upcoming musical “Curtains”. Zoe has trained in all facets of dance at Michelle Slater Coyne Performing Arts and has been a teacher for 6 years.

Jack-Wunsh

JACK WUNSH

Classical Ballet & Tap

After graduating from The McDonald College of Performing Arts, where he specialised in Music Theatre and Ballet, Jack moved from Sydney to study at The Victorian College of the Arts (VCA). After completing his RAD Advanced 2 examination, Jack performed with The Australian Ballet for their 2013 season of Don Quixote. While at the VCA, he was an ensemble member of Company 17’s production of Oh! What a Lovely War, Mate! (dir. Maude Davey) and was a featured dancer in the short film Sweet Dreaming, directed and written by Katie Escane. Jack was also a featured vocalist in Morning Melodies: Hollywood Movie Musicals. He was thrilled to perform in the role of Harry in Company (dir. Roger Hodgman) in 2017 and then more recently to take on the role of Gangster 1 as well as Dance Captain to Dana Jolly in The Drowsy Chaperone. Earlier this year, Jack played the role of Joey in the Tropfest film My Queen directed and written by Melissa Bahrum.

Justicia Bailey

JUSTICIA BAILEY

Classical Ballet & Contemporary

Justicia grew up in New Zealand where she trained at Mount Eden Ballet Academy completing all Royal Academy of Dance Classical Ballet exams up to Advanced 2 as well as Jazz and Contemporary NZAMD exams up until the age of 16. After moving with her family to Singapore she found an interest in all other styles of dance and decided to study full time at Dance World Studios gaining her Advanced Diploma of Dance Performance. Justicia has had an opportunity to learn under a number of professional dancers and choreographers while living in Melbourne, and is continuing to study her Bachelor of Business (management) and focusing on pursuing her teaching career. Justicia loves to teach ballet and lyrical and enjoys the rewards that come when watching her students grow and develop a love of dance for their selves.

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RUBY-MAE GRANT

Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop & Baby Toes

Ruby-mae began dancing at Niche, formally known as East Ivanhoe School of Dance at the age of six. Ruby-mae studied and excelled in all levels of her Cecchetti Ballet exams. She is currently studying Advanced Two Cecchetti Ballet under Nichole Davis at Niche Dance Studios. Ruby-mae finished in the top 1% of her year 12 Dance Performance exams and performed in the V.C.E Top Class Dance Season of Excellence in Victoria at the Melbourne Recital Centre in 2013. Ruby-mae danced in the 2013 full-time dance course at Jason Coleman’s Ministry of Dance, where she was taught by such choreographers as Jason Coleman, Adrian Ricks, Paul Davis, Kim Adam and Yvette Lee. Ruby-mae is continuously working and dancing professionally in all styles of dance.  Most recently, Ruby-mae performed as a dancer in a major Bollywood film and also performed the role as Victoria, the White Cat in the Nova Musical Theatre production of Cats. Ruby-mae specializes in teaching Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Tap and Hip Hop.

Christine-Allison

CHRISTINE ALLISON

Classical Ballet

Christine Allison trained in both Cecchetti and Royal Academy of Dance syllabi to Advanced level, as well as a full theatrical training with teachers including Fay Johnson, Elizabeth Hamling and Barbara Lynch. Her early years were spent competing in many eisteddfods and performing in children’s television programs. Christine commenced teaching whilst maintaining a full-time position in advertising and continued as a partner in a suburban dance school entering students for RAD examinations and eisteddfods.  She supported various committees over many years including the RAD Victorian Advisory Panel (secretary and editor of the newsletter), Ballet Teacher’s Workshop, Phoenix Festival of Dance foundation member and presenter of Folk Dance Technique for the Victorian Calisthenics Association.

In 2015 Christine conceived and directed RAD Through the Ages for the 80th anniversary of the founding of the RAD in Australia which was part of community-focused gala performances nationwide.

To date Christine has continued teaching RAD vocational levels, freelance eisteddfod choreography for solos and groups, coaching classes and guest teaching. She has adjudicated at many eisteddfods over the years and continues to attend local and interstate competitions.

Jasmine-Moses

JASMINE MOSES

Administration

Jasmine has been dancing since she was 3 years old, completing all of her Royal Academy of Dance Examinations at The Dance Studio up to Grade 8. She has trained in multiple styles of dance, including ballet, jazz, hip hop and contemporary. Jasmine is now studying Medicine at Monash University. You will see Jasmine behind the TDS reception desk as one of our fantastic administration staff members. Jasmine is also a part of our uniform shop team and accounts.

Charlotte-Rouse

CHARLOTTE ROUSE

Baby Toes

Charlotte started dancing at HSOD in 2007, where she has been dancing ever since. She has completed both RAD examinations from Grade 3 to intermediate, as well as Theatrical examinations. Charlotte has loved dancing from a young age and has trained in a range of styles over her time at The Dance Studio, her favourite styles being contemporary and jazz. She has trained as an assistant teacher alongside the amazing staff at The Dance Studio and continues to advance her knowledge by participating in classes whilst teaching Baby Toes and Preliminary classes. Charlotte is currently studying Fashion and Textiles at RMIT.