Faculty

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.

Jessica is a proud member of  ‘Ausdance Vic’. Ausdance VIC provides a platform for the state’s dance sector needs to be heard and creates an environment for dance to thrive.

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.

KATHRYN BOTICA

Classical Ballet (Dip NZSD, ARAD RTS) & Administration

Kathryn trained under Paula Hunt (former RAD Artistic Director) at Wellington Dance Academy. She competed all her RAD exams up to Advanced 2 with Distinction and placed runner up at the New Zealand National Ballet Awards. Kathryn went onto train at the prestigious New Zealand School of Dance graduating with a Diploma in Dance Performance. She danced with the Royal New Zealand Ballet in productions of Swan Lake and A Christmas Carol. Kathryn is a Registered RAD teacher is focused on delivering quality dance training – encouraging students in a positive manner to be their best. From January 2020, Kathryn has also joined our Reception and Administration team. You will find her behind the desk most mornings, assisting particularly with the Junior School.

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.

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.

BAUS SABRY

Hip Hop

Baus Sabry is a full-time professional Hip Hop/Breakdance performer and teacher of over ten years. Baus currently represents Australia in leading dance crew, the SuperHoodz. Baus’ dance career has lead him to many performance opportunities, recently performing in Disneyland, Universal Studios and on Hollywood Boulevard. You will regularly find Baus performing with his crew at sporting events like the Australian Open, Australian Cricket’s big bash, and NBL’s Melbourne United Basketball games. Baus is an inspirational and energetic teacher and prides himself on his consistent delivery of engaging classes.

TEHYA CAMPBELL

Reception & Administration

Tehya began dancing at the age of 3 and trained for over 15 years in a variety of styles, specialising in Jazz and Contemporary. Tehya has also trained in Latin and Ballroom styles and has acquired a Certificate II in Dance during her VCE studies. After several years working in management roles, Tehya rediscovered her love of dance and passion for working with children, joining The Dance Studio’s administration team. You will find Tehya’s friendly face behind the desk in reception every weekday, handling all parent liaison and managing all enquiries from new and existing students and parents. Tehya will guide you through the enrolment process with TDS, from your first registration of interest to the creation and enrolment of the perfect dance program for each individual student.

LILY HARDING

Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Lyrical & Contemporary

Lily’s love of dance began at a very young age, training in all styles of dance, including Ballet, Lyrical, Jazz, Contemporary, Tap, Hip-Hop and Musical Theatre. Lily has many years of performance experience, participating in shows and receiving outstanding results in both interstate and international competitions. Lily has completed her Classical Ballet examinations with ATOD and has consistently received results of a very high standard. Throughout her training, Lily has always loved working with younger students and watching them progress. Lily’s passion combined with her patient and energetic teaching style supports her students to achieve their goals and build their love of dance. Lily has completed a Certificate II in Dance and a Diploma of Musical Theatre at Spectrum Full Time Performing Arts. She is excited to continue teaching, training and working in the industry this year.

ELLEN PEPPER

Contemporary, Lyrical & Jazz

Ellen commenced her dance training at Hawthorn Studio of Dance (now The Dance Studio) before continuing her training at The Australian Conservatoire of Ballet. She then completed her secondary education at The Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School where she excelled in all genres of dance, specialising in Contemporary and Classical. Ellen attained a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance Performance) from Queensland University of Technology in 2016 and is also a certified Xtend Barre instructor. Ellen’s professional experience includes dancing in The Australian Ballet’s production of The Nutcracker, Performing with Expressions Dance Company, Beijing Dance Festival and most recently completing a contract with Disneyland Paris as a parade performer and face character. Ellen is very excited to be returning to The Dance Studio faculty in 2020 to encourage a love of dance grow in our youngest students.

HOLLY MASSON

Uniform Shop Manager

Holly specialises in human resources and brings with her a decade of experience managing large teams in the events industry,  as well working as a photographer and nanny.
At TDS, Holly manages the uniform shop and costume inventory. It’s really important to Holly that all the students are fitted correctly and are comfortable while they dance.

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 also assists with the operation of our uniform shop.

ABBEY PHELAN

Jazz, Tap & Lyrical

Abbey is trained in many genres of dance such as Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Lyrical/Contemporary and Hip Hop and has been part of the Dance World for many years. Trained under the Australian Teachers of Dance and Royal Academy of Dance syllabi, Abbey also has vast experience in the performance industry.

Abbey has been a member of competition teams her whole dance life and has also performed in many shows and workshops around LA, New York, Florida and Melbourne. With a certificate II in dance and acrobatics, Abbey also holds a Bachelor degree of Nursing.

GEORGIA BENNETT

Baby Toes Ballet, Classical Ballet & Contemporary

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. 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.

VANESSA NORTHCOTT

Acrobatics

Vanessa is a professional dance artist and freelance choreographer from Melbourne AUS, currently a SCIMM Dance Company Member since 2019.

In 2018, Vanessa was a cohort member of Tr.IPP (Transit International Professional Pathway) directed by Israel Aloni. Here she was involved in collaborating with internationally renowned artists to create monthly contemporary works. Vanessa was an original cast member of ‘Colossus’ by Stephanie Lake where she performed at The Arts Centre in both 2018 and 2019. One of her most enjoyable performance experiences to date.

Vanessa trained at Patrick Studios Australia for Elite and Full Time studies (2012-2015), as well as graduating from Transit Dance Pre-Professional Contemporary Pathway in 2016.

Alongside her dance training, Vanessa spent 10 years as a National stream gymnast, achieving National Level 7 in a competitive training squad.

As an emerging choreographer, Vanessa has choreographed for several events, including Underground Melbourne, Grounded: Battle of the Arts and the Dance Architect Youth Choreographic Competition (2016, 2017), where she was awarded runner up for her conceptual piece ‘Wandering Mind’ in 2016. In 2017, Vanessa further developed her piece ‘Wandering Mind’ into a sell-out seasoned performance, showcased at the 2017 Melbourne Fringe Festival in the double-bill ‘Scatter-Brains & Doodle-Heads’.

ASHLEIGH CHEUNG

Acrobatics, Jazz & Tap

Ashleigh has danced at The Dance Studio (formally Hawthorn Studio of Dance) since the age 3 in a variety of styles, her favourites being Jazz, Lyrical and Acrobatics. In addition to completing all Royal Academy of Dance Examinations and Theatrical Dance Examinations, she has also been a dancer in the TDS Competition Troupe team for numerous years.

Ashleigh’s passion for performing has seen her on the stages of Disneyland LA, Universal Studios, Hollywood Boulevard and the annual Moomba Festival. After dancing with TDS for more than 15 years and spending 5 years as an assistant teacher learning from The Dance Studio’s leading teachers and choreographers, Ashleigh has joined the permanent teaching team and is now leading her own students through their dance journey.

SIANA MYERS

Classical Ballet, Jazz, Tap & Baby Toes Ballet

Siana began dancing at the age of 3 the The Dance Studio’s (previously Hawthorn Studio of Dance) Baby Toes program and has never stopped!

She has gone onto complete all her RAD exams through to Advanced Foundation, as well as Theatrical examinations, whilst also participating in TDS ventures such as the Moomba Festival, Victorian Dance Festival and the 2018 Dance Around the World USA trip.

Siana has now taken up teaching alongside the lovely TDS staff, fulfilling her passion for working with children, and hopes to inspire the new generation of dancers with her huge love for dance. Siana is currently studying a Bachelor of Business and Arts at Monash University.

SHARON FERNANDAZ

Contemporary, Jazz, Tap, Classical Ballet & Hip Hop

Sharon has been dancing in Australia the USA for the past 10 years with Melbourne Ballet Company  most recently with The Australian Ballet. Previously, she was doing back-up dancing for artists such as Joanne Ilanda, Yothu Yindi, CDB Deni Hines as well as being a regular dancer on “In Melbourne Tonight” with Frankie J. Holden did many segments on “The Footy Show” (both Channel 9).

As a very experienced and multi-faceted dance teacher, she has taught at numerous dance schools across Melbourne. Sharon thoroughly enjoys teaching adults and children nurturing them throughout their growth as people and as artists. She is very much looking forward to joining TDS in 2019 and can’t wait to share her love and joy for dance with our students.