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Mary has been teaching at the School for 9 years. At the age of 10 she won a RAD Scholarship. She went on to join the Royal Ballet School and danced with the Royal Ballet and Opera Ballet at Covent Garden. Mary went on to teach at the Bristol School of Dancing and also at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. Having also run her own dance school for many years, Mary has a wealth of experience, both of performing and teaching,  to offer our ballet students.

Mary Johnstone ARAD

RAD Ballet

Emily Hepworth DDE    Principal

ISTD Modern, Tap & Jazz

Emily trained at The Centre Performing Arts College in London with Karen King, graduating with a full DDE teaching qualification from the ISTD in Ballet,Tap and Modern. After leaving college she taught extensively in many local dance schools in Surrey and Kent, gaining 100% pass rate for all students submitted for examinations. Emily also taught Modern, Tap and Jazz at Rosalle for over 7 years before having the pleasure of taking over as Principal. With a fantastic teaching team at Dance First, Emily continues to grow and develop the school, inspiring the next generation! Emily is also a fully qualified Pilates instructor, having trained with Polestar Pilates in London.

Michelle Bigland BBO

RAD Ballet & Nursery

Born in Kenya, Michelle moved to Vancouver Island, Canada as a young child where she began dancing at the local dance school.  By fourteen she had been offered a place at the National Ballet of Canada in Toronto.  Missing the west coast, Michelle eventually returned to Vancouver to further her career working with professional dancers such as Joe Lauglin, Reid Anderson , Earl Kraul and Beverley Bagg. In 2007 Michelle moved to London where she was given the opportunity to work with West London School of Dance.  This encouraged Michelle to focus her career on dance education, which led her to acquire her teaching certification through the British Ballet Organization.  

Annabelle trained at Doreen Bird College, graduating with a BA (Hons) degree in dance and theatre performance. Whilst at college, she toured with Bird Theatre Company, gaining experience both on-stage, as a performer and dance captain, and off-stage as a stage manager. After graduation, Annabelle worked with a number of emerging contemporary choreographers on new performance pieces in a variety of genres. Annabelle has taught dance for the past 18 years and was previously deputy head and acting head of an established dance school based in Surrey. Throughout this time, Annabelle has taught ballet, tap, modern, jazz and contemporary to students at both local dance schools and vocational schools and has recently completed the RAD CBTS.

Annabelle Mannix ARAD   Head of Ballet

RAD Ballet

Hayley Chilvers DDE

ISTD Modern, Tap & Jazz

Hayley graduated from Italia Conti where she gained DDI and DDE qualifications in Modern and Tap. Since qualifying she has taught at various schools all across London, from baby classes, pre- professionals, professionals and adult beginners covering a range of styles including; tap, modern, jazz, contemporary, street and musical theatre. She has taught BTEC and HND level and recently qualified as a gym instructor too, teaching fitness to both children and adults.

Hayley is also an experienced performer with an impresive resumé, collaborating with a wide range of companies and artists. Her experience has allowed her to develop a extensive range of skills and a versatile, adaptable way of working.

Hayley enjoys sharing her professional experience with the Dance First students.

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Alexandra Gravett

School Administrator

Alexandra is our first point of contact at the school and a vital member of the team. Dealing with enquiries regarding classes, timetables, class trials, uniform and invoicing, Alexandra is there to help. Full contact details can be found on our 'Contact' page.

Maria Christodoulides DDI

ISTD Modern, Tap, Jazz & Acro

Maria has always had a passion for dancing and performing and graduated from The Centre Performing Arts College with a DDI teaching qualification in Modern and Tap. Maria is currently working towards DDE with Karen King.

As well as teaching, Maria trains with hip hop / commercial companies several times a week. She enjoys teaching children as she loves to see her students flourishing in confidence as they master new skills. 

Phoebe Henderson DDI

RAD Ballet

Phoebe graduated from Performers college in 2013 with a National Diploma and her DDI teaching qualification from the ISTD. Since graduating, some of Phoebe’s performing credits include: New Jersey Nights (UK Tour), Puttin’ on the Ritz UK Tour, Spirit of the Dance (Niagara Falls), P&O Australia Cruiselines, Classical Spectacular (Royal Albert Hall) and Princess Cruiselines. Phoebe has years of teaching experience in all genres, training students locally and in the London area and loves to share her passion with the next generation of dancers. Phoebe is delighted to join the faculty and is looking forward to working with the Dance First students in September.

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