About Us

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Bennett_School_of_Ballet_and_Jazz_dance_classes_dunedin_ballet_dunedin_ballet_classes_dunedin_dance_classes_for_children

Principal: Shona Bennett

 L.C.B.A-C.I.C.B

Holder of CUA40313 Certificate IV
in Dance Teaching & Management
Registered Teacher of Cecchetti Ballet Australia and Jazz Dance New Zealand
Member of NZADT

With an Licentiate in teaching, Shona is fully qualified and registered to teach ballet.  She is also a registered teacher of Jazz Dance NZ.  In 2011 Shona passed her Licentiate Teaching Exam and is holder of Certicate IV in Dance Teaching and Management.

Shona began her training in Dunedin at the age of six with Helen Bray and went on to study at the NZ School of Dance as a teacher trainee, withdrawing from the course due to serious injury.  Once recovered and still with the passion to teach, she trained under Helen Bray to sit her first teaching exam. Since opening in 1994 with one class, the school has steadily grown, instilled with the philosophy that all children and adults should enjoy the world of dance and how it can benefit their lives.

Shona's future goals are to sit further teaching exams, continue to learn about dance physiology, anatomy and injury prevention, and to continue building on the high standards of achievement at the school, above all sharing a love and enjoyment of dance with all her pupils.

Our Teachers

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Jemma Dougherty

Advanced 1 Cecchetti Ballet
I have been teaching at BSBJ for 6 years and dancing for 11 years.  I find sharing my passion for dance with our students very rewarding and love seeing them expand their creativity and confidence.  I have completed my exams in Cecchetti ballet syllabus to an advanced level and I am working as an early childcare assistant as well as teaching.


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Bennett_School_of_Ballet_and_Jazz_dance_classes_dunedin_ballet_dunedin_ballet_classes_dunedin_dance_classes_for_children

Meredith Walker

Cecchetti Advanced 1 Ballet
I started ballet lessons at the age of five and have been dancing at the Bennett School of Ballet and Jazz since 2011. In 2014 I began volunteering as a student helper for Tiny Tots classes, before becoming a teacher in 2018. I have really enjoyed sharing my love of dance and watching students learn and grow in confidence. Currently, I am studying Law and Politics at the University of Otago and continue to attend classes in ballet and jazz. I am really looking forward to another fun year of teaching, and helping students prepare for exams and the end of year concert. 


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Emma Holloway

Advanced 2 BBO Ballet, Advanced BBO Jazz, Advanced UK Tap, Advanced BBO Character
I am a Sydney born dancer, trained in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Character, Contemporary and Hip Hop. I started working as a dancer at the age of 17 and completed numerous overseas contracts in India and Taiwan as well as performing in Sydney and around NSW. I began teaching in Sydney, taking Jazz and Hip Hop classes. I started attending classes at Bennett School of Ballet and Jazz in 2008 when I moved to Dunedin and began teaching classes for Mrs Bennett in 2011. In 2013, I started taking Jazz syllabus classes, preparing students for their exams and I now take classes in Jazz, Tap, Musical Theatre, Adults classes and prepare students for competitions with solos and troupes dances.

I have kept performing since moving to Dunedin, was in the Big Night In at the Stadium in 2011. I was also part of the Otago Dancers for 4 years dancing at various corporate and sporting events and flew to Los Angeles to perform at Disneyland in 2015. I have been involved in the Musical Theatre scene in Dunedin for a since 2014, choreographing the likes of Mamma Mia, Grease - The Arena Spectacular, Mary Poppins and Wicked to name a few. This year I’m very excited to be working on Mamma Mia in the Arena.

I’m really looking forward to the year ahead at Bennett School of Ballet and Jazz, I'm can't wait to see the returning students and meet the new ones and look forward to getting started on their new grade work.

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Kilda Northcott

Growing up in Kawerau, I studied dance and performed end of year shows with the Ruby Conway School of Dance.   I then went on to study fulltime in Auckland at The New Zealand Dance Centre directed by Russell Kerr and Basil Pattison, followed by study at The Bodenwieser Dance Center in Sydney, Australia & modern dance at The Merce Cunningham School in New York, New York, performing in both those cities. Returning to Auckland in the late 1970's I became a founding member of Movement Theatre in Education & then The Limbs Dance Company.  I returned to Sydney in 1983 and joined Darc Swan directed by Chris Jannides who also founded Limbs.  In 1989 I returned to New Zealand to become a founding member of The Douglas Wright Dance Company then freelanced as a performer/teacher of dance in and around New Zealand.  Based in Wellington, I taught contemporary dance at The Wellington Performing Arts Center.  I was also co-director & co-choreographed works with Lyne Pringle as part of Bipeds.  I then moved to Dunedin where I have been since 2006. I am about to return to the stage (after a total right hip replacement) with Douglas Wright in his latest work  'A Kiss Inside' at the International Arts Festival in Wellington in March. I am looking forward to returning to Bennett School of Ballet & Jazz to teach contemporary.

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Libby Bloem

Cecchetti Advanced 1, JDNZ Advanced 2
I started rhythmic gymnastics at age 5, and at age 10 I started dancing at BSJB to help improve my gymnastics. However, 3 years later I feel in love with dance and decided to make a full switch. I started as a teacher helper in 2015 because I loved the idea of sharing my newfound passion of dance with the younger kids. I am in my first year of tertiary study at Otago university, studying psychology and sport science, for which I am very nervous but very excited for. I am very much looking forward to the 2020 dancing year as I continue teaching as well as my own classes in advanced 2 ballet and jazz, musical theatre and competition classes.

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Bennett_School_of_Ballet_and_Jazz_dance_classes_dunedin_ballet_dunedin_ballet_classes_dunedin_dance_classes_for_children

Student Helpers 2020

Back left to right: Abby Knowles, Sophie Silcock, Kate Ward, Lucy-Kate Woodhouse, Lillian Holmes
Front left to right: Phoebe Harris, Ana Finnie, Madeline Simons, Clara Ballantyne

Student Achievements

A number of our students have excelled in their training and continue to pursue careers in dance

  • COREY MUIR
    Presently working as Cruise Director for Coral Princess after career as dancer/dance captain/assistant cruise director on cruise ships around the world.
  • GRACE MCKAY
    Graduate of the National Theatre Ballet School in Melbourne, has been working in the field of Pilates/Yoga training.

  • NINA WRIGHT
    Winner of the 2005 Cecchetti Scholarship to attend Summer School in Melbourne

  • VIVA FOSTER
  • Graduate of Contemporary from Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance, London and National Theatre Ballet School, Melbourne.  Currently on contract with Laban Dance Company (London).  Winner of the 2006 Cecchetti Scholarship to attend Summer School in Melbourne, also winning a part scholarship while at Summer School in 2006.  Third place in the Junior Section and Audience Choice Award at the National Ballet Awards held in Christchurch, September 2008.
  • JEREMY BECK
    Winner of the 2007 Cecchetti Scholarship to attend Summer School in Melbourne.  Graduate of NZ School of Dance (contemporary).  Danced with Footnote Dance Company as freelance dancer. Currently freelance dancer in New Zealand.
  • GLENDENE ROUT
    Graduate of WA Conservatoire of Classical Ballet (Perth). Graduate of Lee Academy of Dance in Sydney. Worked with The Wiggles, dancing and promotional work in India.  Contract starting in April 2017 with Moulin Rouge, Paris.
  • DANNIELLE HAYDE
    Graduate of Whitireia New Zealand with a Diploma in Performing Arts (Dance).  Danced in Les Folies de l'Amour and Silhouette Pro dance ensembles. Performed in a commercial for Huawei, with Scarlett Johansson. Dannielle has also studied circus skills in Wellington.
  • LISA CRAIG
    Graduate of Australian Ballet School, Melbourne.  Chosen for an exchange programme with Canada's National Ballet School and the School of American Ballet.  Currently has contract with Australian Ballet Company and was the 2015 Bloch Ambassador. Third place in the Senior section at the National Ballet Awards held in Christchurch, September 2008.  Received a two week scholarship to attend Summer School at Ballet Victoria, Melbourne.  Winner of the 2008 Cecchetti Scholarship to attend Summer School in Melbourne.
  • FIONA LEE
    Passed her Associate Teachers Exam in the Cecchetti Method.
  • KYMBERLEY WILLIAMS
    Passed her Associate Teachers exam and Associate Diploma Part 1 & Part 2 in the Cecchetti Method.
  • CLAUDIA SOLE
    2017 started full time dance training at Transit Dance in Melbourne.
  • KATE WATERMAN
    2017 started full time Circus training at The Circus Hub in Wellington.
  • JAMES BURCHELL
    2018 started full time Classical Ballet training at NZ School of Dance in Wellington.
  • HAHNA NICHOLS
    2018 started full time Contemporary training at NZ School of Dance in Wellington.

Productions

Each year the Dance School holds a production

  • 2019     Christmas Carol     
  • 2018     Snow White
  • 2017     Hansel and Gretel
  • 2016     Aladdin
  • 2015     Cinderella
  • 2014     Peter Pan
  • 2013     The Snow Queen
  • 2012     The Christmas Carol
  • 2011     Wild Wild West
  • 2010     Aladdin
  • 2009     Cinderella
  • 2008     Peter Pan
  • 2007     Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
  • 2006     Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • 2005     Wild Wild West
  • 2004     Christmas Carol
  • 2003     Snow Queen


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Bennett_School_of_Ballet_and_Jazz_dance_classes_dunedin_ballet_dunedin_ballet_classes_dunedin_dance_classes_for_children

 

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