About » Staff
We are fortunate to have a talented pool of dance teachers in Wanaka. They each bring a wealth of knowledge from many corners of the world, and some have trained within our school to advanced levels & now enjoy sharing their skills. Our staff gain a great deal of satisfaction teaching and working with our students. They are passionate about dance, and love passing on their skills to other enthusiasts within our community.
Anna Thomas (nee Yeates) background originates back to the Waikato where her love for dance began. She enjoyed Ballet, Jazz, Tap lessons & performances throughout her childhood. She obtained her Advanced RAD & BBO examinations through the tuition of Louise Hurley, Margaret Fairhead, Valarie Lisette, Carol Speirs & Prue Gooch. She was a nominee at the National PACNZ Performing Arts Ballet Competitions in 1990. Her Modern Jazz grounding was predominantly under the direction of Keri Davies at Drury Lane Dance School where she obtained her Solo Seal (NZAMD) & later Advanced American Jazz examinations at Directions (Hamilton).
Anna began teaching for Margaret Fairhead School of Dance while studying Sport & Leisure Management at Waikato University & perforned with the Drury Lane Theatre Company & Hamilton Operatic Society. She moved to Wellington to further her professional career in marketing & performed in Wellington Operatic Musical Shows - West End to Broadway, Ovation & Oklahoma.
Anna moved to Wanaka in 2004 to take up the role as Marketing Manager at Treble Cone ski area. She has since settled in the beautiful Southern Lakes, and now has a family of 3 daughters who also love to dance. Anna purchased Dance Wanaka in October 2011, and is excited to be sharing her passion for dance.
Anna has achieved her Advanced Jazz Addict Teacher Qualifications, BBO Pre Associate Teacher Qualifications, and regularly attends dance & teacher workshops/concourses to keep abreast with new techniques.
Briony studied with Robyn Sinclair (Dunedin) until the age of 16, before moving to Sydney to commence Full Time Training with Tanya Pearson. Briony has worked & danced professionally at the Vienna State Opera Ballet school, Vienna Volksoper & Tanzkompagnie (Dance Company) Theater St Gallen in Switzerland. Briony has completed her RAD Teacher Training Certificate with Hilary Kaplan and has taught in Sydney, Dunedin and St Gallen (Switzerland). She is a registered BBO teacher & regularly attends industry workshops to extend her professional development. We are extremely fortunate to have such a talented and experienced classical teacher in Wanaka sharing her experience & love for dance.
Dancing and performing has been a passion of Riki's since she started ballet at the age of 3 with Joy Lewis then Glenys Scandrett School of Dance in Invercargill. She later moved to Auckland to study full time dance at the Auckland City Dance Centre under Valerie Murray & Allan Barry where she worked under the guidance of many high profile teachers. From there she moved to Brisbane for a year to continue & develop her dance skills before returning home. Classically trained to RAD Advanced level & modern styles, her most recent stage performances have been with the Invercargill Musical Theatre Company, including Grease in 2013. She moved to Wanaka in 2011 & by day is an agent at Harcourts Real Estate.
Born in Russia, Alena studied at the Perm State Choreographic College and in 2011 joined the Imperial Russian Ballet Company. In 2014, she moved to New Zealand permanently and is now married with a young family enjoying Wanaka life. She teaches junior ballet and Open Ballet classes in the school.
Bridget was drawn to dance by a love of movement and the stage. Performing in musicals and training in NZAMD during her school years, she attended the (then) Wellington Performing Arts Centre to gain her Diploma in Performing Arts - Commercial Dance, a memorable and rewarding period which introduced her to a number of dance techniques. Bridget assists with admin support, teaches weekly Adult Booty Barre classes & has taught junior jazz classes at our Studios.
Claire began ballet at an early age with Christine Hogg school of dance in Australia and instantly fell in love with ballet, continuing to dance through her childhood, teens & into her adult life. She combined her love of dance with her love of theatrical performance and performed in amateur theatre in Melbourne with the Shoestring Theatre Company, performing in plays such as Caberet, West Side Story, Chorus Line and numerous other musical performances. After moving to New Zealand & relocating to Tarras & more recently Cromwell, she joined adult classes at Dance Wanaka to continue her ballet development. Claire’s passion for ballet and love of children soon saw her assisting with Sparkles preschool classes for several years. Due to popularity, Claire now teaches the Sparkles & Pre-Primary ballet classes in the Lowburn Hall, Cromwell.
Jaimee is a senior Hip Hop, Jazz, Contemporary dancer & teacher in the school. She received honours for her Urban Ignition, Jazz Addict & Lucidity examinations in 2018. She also completed her Urban Ignition Teachers Certification in 2018 & now teaches our Junior level Hip Hop Crews. She is Year 12 student at Mt Aspiring College.
Cecilia is a senior Ballet, Jazz & Contemporary dancer in the school. In 2018 she became a certified APDA Jazz Addict teacher. She was awarded honours in her Advanced Jazz, BBO Advanced Ballet, Lucidity Lev8, La Beaute examinations in 2018. She is Year 12 student at Mt Aspiring College.
Holly is a senior Hip Hop, Jazz, Ballet & Contemporary dancer in our school. In 2018 she received "top tier" award by APDA (highest marks in Australasia) for Level 9 Urban Ignition & Lucidity examinations, and achieved honours in her Advanced Jazz examination. She completed her Urban Ignition Teachers Certification in 2018 & teaches our Hip Hop Crews.
Daisy is a senior Hip Hop dancer in our school and now enjoys teaching our junior Hip Hop crews.
Tamara is a senior Hip Hop dancer in the school and an assistant/relief teacher.
Deidre Hutton is a relief ballet teacher at our school. She was a former ballerina in the Southern Ballet Company, teacher at Dunedin School of Dance, and a retired Preschool & Primary School Teacher. She has a wealth of knowledge to share with our students.
We have GUEST TUTORS teaching at our school on a regular basis.