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 HSOD for many years to come.

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JULIE FLEMING

Classical Ballet (A.R.A.D.)

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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LISA BENNETT-FRICK (RAD)

Classical Ballet (R.A.D. CBTS)

Lisa trained and danced with the Australian Ballet School and Australian Ballet Company, Queensland Ballet Company, Opera Australia and various ballet companies in Europe. She has taught classes at Bangarra Dance Theatre, Sydney Dance Company and Opera Australia. Lisa thoroughly enjoys choreographing and creating dance pieces across the many facets of ballet. A very busy Lisa also works as a dental nurse in a Melbourne dental surgery whilst also owning her own ballet school in Sydney!

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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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ELLA MEEHAN

Classical Ballet & Contemporary

Ella Meehan began her dance training at The Dance Studio completing all Royal Academy of Dance examinations from Grade 1 to Intermediate with High distinctions.  Whilst at HSOD Ella also trained in Jazz and Contemporary, and was the recipient of multiple classical ballet and jazz scholarships. After finishing VCE, Ella was accepted into the prestigious Victorian College of the Arts (Melbourne University) and successfully completed the Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance).  Ella then travelled to Europe & the US to participate in intensive contemporary dance workshops. Through these experiences Ella had the opportunity to meet a diverse range of professional dancers and choreographers in the contemporary dance field. As of 2016, Ella has returned to Melbourne and is undertaking a double degree of Health and Biomedicine (Osteopathy) at Victoria University.

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ISABELLE BECK

Acrobatics

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 13 years at HSOD 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 even 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 HSOD reception. She is currently studying Public Relations at Swinburne University and aspires to work within the media in a public relations role.

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KATIE KINCH

Baby Toes

Katie started learning ballet when she was 3 years old. In 2003 she came to The Dance Studio and since then she has 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 HSOD 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 HSOD staff members and is a beautiful and nurturing ballet teacher to some of our youngest HSOD dancers. Katie Kinch successfully auditioned for Kelly Aykers’ Full Time Dance and is currently in her first year of study in this course.

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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. She has trained in multiple styles of dance, including ballet, jazz, tap and contemporary. Laura has had experience choreographing dances throughout her senior school years for high school productions and performances. Laura is now studying Business/Arts at Monash University and enjoys teaching classes at The Dance Studio. You will also see Laura behind the HSOD reception desk as one of three of our fantastic administration staff members.

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LAURA BIRKS

Baby Toes & Administration

Laura began at The Dance Studio 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 HSOD administration staff members. Laura is currently studying Exercise Science at LaTrobe university.

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ZOE COPPINGER

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.