Meet our team

It is with great pride that we present to you DanceWorks Studios amazing staff.

"Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success."

Deborah and Shaun Woodroofe - Directors

Shaun loves being backstage and is often found helping out backstage for the local theatre shows, School Shows, Dance Shows or the touring shows including the RNZB.
Debbie also loves to help out backstage usually in the costume, make-up or hair areas.

While they remained friends for a number of years they only decided to start dating in 2004 and then married in 2006.
Shaun is a qualified Chef and has had many different roles within this industry which includes Staff Management, Account/Business Management and of course Executive Chef roles.
Debbie started out as an Office Administrator, Call Centre Operator, Workforce Administrator, Team Leader and Account Management.
Over this time they have also owned and managed a Palmerston North cafe.

Debbie and Shaun have 4 children, 2 boys Camden and Seeley and 2 girls Danika and Roshan, all of them have a passion for dance and dance with DanceWorks Studios. Camden and Danika are now teaching for then studio and Roshan is as Assistant Teacher.

When the opportunity to purchase the studio arose, there was really no question about it. With all of their children involved in dance and such an amazing studio to continue to grow, it was a no brainer. Their ties to the theatre community and arts community here and around New Zealand is strong and they hope to bring exciting new opportunities to the studio.

Shaun and Debbie wanted to keep the studio going, not only for their children, but all the amazing students they have watched grow and all the students yet to find their dance passion.

Deonne Wenman - Operations Manager

Deonne has been married for 33 years and has 5 wonderful children and 4 beautiful grand babies.

Deonne became involved in dance around 10 years ago when her daughter developed a passion for everything dance. Now her grand children have also developed a passion for dance with 3 of them dancing with Danceworks. Deonne also has a passion for anything crafty, and often can be seen at craft fairs selling all the goodies she has made.

Deonne has always had a passion for organising, it comes naturally when you have a large family that need organising. When the position came up as Administrator for Danceworks Deonne thought she could incorporate this job into the hours she was spending waiting around at the studio, and she has not looked back.

Deonne is fondly referred to by many as Admin Queen and is the one that can answer all your questions, if she can’t she will find out the answer for you. Deonne has a great attention to detail which makes this role perfect for her.

Deonne tells us that she loves meeting new people and seeing the love of dance and pure joy on the faces of the students at Danceworks. She loves being able to watch the students grow through their years of dance.

Brooke Roydhouse

APDA Teacher Certificate

Brooke has a long history with the stage. She danced professionally for over 10 years overseas performing in the United States, Europe, South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
Brooke’s career begun with Maureen Ax in Palmerston North, from 18 she then crafted her dance career in Melbourne at Patrick Studios Australia.
Brooke has been a Singer/ Dancer with Princess Cruises and P&O Australia and Dance Captain at Resorts World Genting’s Casino in Malaysia. She has performed in the Countdown Arena Spectacular, Hairspray movie premiere in Australia and was in the top 100 in Australia’s first season of ‘So You Think You Can Dance’. Other highlights include being a regular extra in the popular Australia TV soaps ‘Home and Away’ and ‘Neighbours’.
Brooke has performed in New Zealand-based musicals including ‘Wicked’, ’Chicago’, ‘Rocky Horror Picture Show’, ‘Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat’ and Australian-based musicals - Jerry Herman’s ‘Milk & Honey’ and in Hugh Jackman's ‘The Boy from Oz’ at the Rod Laver Arena.
As well as performing, Brooke is the Jazz dance teacher at Dance Works Studios and Director of Ignite Dance Hub. She currently freelances as a dance tutor/ adjudicator in the New Zealand dance scene & in schools. She has worked with NZSD, Te Auaha, DanceNZmade, Kairos, National Youth Drama School, UCOL Performing Arts and SHE SHINES ON Dance tours as an assistant Tour manager in the USA as well as their team's coordinator. 

Alison Pond

Alison holds top qualifications including the Royal Academy of Dance Advanced Teaching Diploma and is also an examiner and tutor for the Royal Academy of Dance. Alison is a Registered Teacher of the Royal Academy of Dance and a NZAMD Teaching Member and has over 40 years experience teaching on the Kapiti Coast. She teaches Classical Ballet, Jazz, Stretch & Strength and is also available for private coaching and choreography.

Shelley Easton

BSC (SpExSci)
NZAHND (Hons) Solo Seal

Shelley commenced Highland at age 3. She is a member of the NZ Academy of Highland and National Dancing (NZAHND) with Honours as a qualified teacher and adjudicator. Shelley is a 10-time NZ Highland Dancing Champion from age 14 to 25 and attained Solo Seal at age 21. She has also competed successfully overseas, and performed in many international shows. She completed a Bachelor of Science at Massey University, with a major in Sport and Exercise Science.

Sarsha Forbes



Sarsha trained in many styles of dance with Alison Pond Dance Academy from the age of 3 until leaving for University, completing her exams through to RAD Advanced 2 Classical Ballet. At this time she took up a scholarship to attend La Salle College of the Arts in Singapore majoring in Musical Theatre. Sarsha has since completed her Certificate in Ballet Teaching and is a Registered Teacher of the Royal Academy of Dance and NZAMD. Sarsha has always had a passion for theatre and performing, both on and off the stage. She has performed and choreographed many musicals throughout New Zealand and continues to be involved alongside teaching.

Nicola Morrison

Nicola began dance at the age of 6 taking ballet at Maureen Ax School of dance and soon after picked up Jazz and contemporary.  After school, Nicola continued her dance training at Whitiriea Performing Arts in Wellington for two years earning a Diploma in Performing arts.  Returning home to PN, she found a passion for teaching, and choreography at her original dance school, and was choreographer for the Musical "Hair"

In 2016 Nicola moved to Melbourne and continued to perform in musicals, including "Jesus Christ Superstar - ensemble", "A Chorus Line - Val", "A Chorus Line - Vicki/ensemble", and "Strictly Ballroom - Dancer".

Nicola is excited to have returned to PN to begin teaching at Danceworks and pass on her knowledge and love of dance to the younger generation.

Danika Woodroofe

I started dancing Jazz at the age of 5 and I was hooked.

From then I continued to slowly add more genres, first Tap then Ballet, Contemporary and Acro.
Dance has played a massive part in my life, there are many dancers that I have looked up to over the years who have now moved on in their dance lives.

My passion for teaching has developed over the last few years as an Assistant Teacher. I now want to share that passion with all of the students I teach. I hope to pass on, that someday, if you keep trying and don’t give up, you can be like the people you aspire to and achieve whatever you want.

I have always loved dance and I want to continue to dance no matter what happens. Dance makes me happy and the DanceWorks family is an amazing, supportive family.

Jess Redman

I started my dance journey at the age of 4 with a ballet class and 10 years later I’m still here and dancing almost every day. Through the years I have loved trying out other dance styles and now am glad to have had the opportunity to do so many.

Dance has become an important part of my life. Dancing has opened up so many opportunities for me like competitions, performances and workshops. I have met some amazing and talented people and made some great friends because of dance. I would love to keep teaching and helping others to enjoy dancing.

Camden Woodroofe

My name Camden but at the studio everyone knows me as Mr C. I am a tap teacher and current student at DanceWorks Studios and this is my second year as a teacher.

At the studio I currently teach junior tap classes, open adult tap and a stomp class which is brand new this year, but I am able to teach a range of genres such as contemporary, ballet and jazz.

At DWS I am also a student where I currently learn jazz, contemporary and ballet. Last year I completed my Advanced 2 Asia Pacific Dance Association (APDA) tap exam with honours with distinction completing the tap exam syllabus for APDA and will now move onto solo seal this year.

Last year I also competed in tap at the Performing Arts Competition Association of New Zealand (PACANZ) at the National Young Performer Award (NYPA) against 68 other amazing tappers, where I was one of twelve which made it through to the semi-finals.

When I am not dancing I am busy with my other two hobbies which are music and fish keeping which I also love.
My motivation for teaching definitely comes from the students. Seeing all the smilies and happy faces during class is so heart warming. I am always so happy to see that the students love dancing and enjoy coming to class. This makes me love teaching even more.

My goal has always been to bring tap dancing back to Palmy! And it will continue to be my goal. Tap is slowly making its return one year at a time so get involved, put some tap shoes on and give it a go!

Teaching is an awesome experience and I am very glad to be a part of the team at DWS. I will see you out on the dance floor!

Larina Hansen

Larina started Classical ballet at the age of 4yrs with Beverley Rowles in Wollongong, NSW. She trained through the RAD syllabus and completed all exams successfully including Advanced, gaining her ARAD. She also competed in many competitions growing up and had a wide range of performing opportunities.

At age 16yrs she moved to Melbourne to study full time at the National Theatre Ballet School and was fortunate to work with some amazing teachers. During this time she was invited to take classes with the Australian Ballet Company. After finishing her studies at the National, she travelled to London to compete in the RAD Genee Awards and travelled through Europe taking classes with many different schools and ballet companies including the English National Ballet. She was offered a 12 month scholarship at the Princess Grace Dance Academy in Monaco and studied the Russian Vaganova syllabus with Marika Besobrasova. During her time in Monaco performing highlights included dancing at the Prince's Palace of Monaco and with Les Ballets de Monaco. After returning to Australia she was inspired to move into teaching and discovered her new passion for helping to develop young dancers and train them through the RAD syllabus.

After teaching for a few years, Larina took up the opportunity to travel to Japan and danced professionally for 2 years on contract and performed as an extra with the ABT (American Ballet Theatre).

Her time overseas sparked a love of travel and once back in Australia she moved into studying travel and completed a Diploma in Travel and Tourism. Larina worked in travel and events management looking after international tours, including dance groups which kept her connection to dance. Now making a return to teaching, Larina is excited to continue her love of teaching and to help inspire the next generation of young dancers. 

Alaina Sims

Since 2004, Alaina has danced, choreographed, taught, and coached dance and cheer across the United States. In 2007, she received a Bachelor or Arts in dance from Henderson State University in Arkansas (USA) and took the position of dance department director and choreographer at a fine arts charter high school. While in Northwest Arkansas, she also served as a board member and dancer for Arkansas Dance Coalition and dancer/choreographer for the Snowy Range Dance Festival at the University of Wyoming.

In 2010, Alaina moved to Los Angeles to pursue dance and film. As a dancer for contemporary dance companies LA Unbound and Amaterasu Dance Company, Alaina performed at venues around Greater Los Angeles. Her modern choreography was chosen for performance at both Pasadena Dance Festival and MixMatch Dance Festival in Santa Monica. While in Los Angeles, Alaina also served as cheer coach and competition choreographer for two schools in Los Angeles Unified School District. Her 2013 JV squad placed 1st at USA Nationals, and her Varsity squads placed 3rd at USA Nationals and 4th at the UCA West Coast Championships.

Alaina returned to Northwest Arkansas in 2014 and once again took a position as dance director and educator at Arkansas Arts Academy. While there, she directed concerts, taught classes, and choreographed for the high school dance program as well as serving as guest choreographer for the NWA show choir.

Before moving from NWA, Alaina served as Artistic Coordination Director of the Pineapple Tree Contemporary Ballet Company, a non-profit community outreach company, from 2014-2016. She choreographed and performed for the main company and organised and choreographed community outreach programs for the training company.

Commercially, Alaina has choreographed corporate videos for Wal Mart. Her musical theatre credits include Oklahoma, Peter Pan, Grease, and Scrooge. 

Charlotte Wenman

Meet Charlotte, a dance enthusiast since the age of 7, spinning her way through the world of ballet, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, and Acro. She's not just a dancer; she's a dance teacher with a heart full of passion. Teaching is where Charlotte truly comes alive. Constantly seeking chances to grow and learn. She is looking forward to continuing to progress her skills in this area. Competitions are her thing, a space where she not only challenges herself but also revels in the thrill of dance. This year, she's all set to hit the competition floor again, sharing the excitement with her students. Charlotte's journey is all about progress – hers and her students'. Charlotte is also starting her Nursing journey through UCOL this year.

Grace Nemeth

Grace has been dancing since the age of 4 with Alison Pond at Kapiti Dance Centre where she completed her ballet grades up to RAD advanced 2. Grace started out doing RAD ballet for her first few years before discovering NZAMD contemporary and jazz. Grace was accepted into the New Zealand School of Dance as a Contemporary Associate. Grace has also received nominations to attend the NZAMD Scholarship weekends where she participated in both Contemporary and Jazz sections in 2017, 2018 and 2019. In 2018 Grace was also selected as one of few to reach the finals of the scholarship weekend. 

After years of competitions and discovering the love for choreography Grace received a modern PACANZ nomination before moving to Auckland after being accepted into Unitecs Bachelor in Performing and Screen Arts programme Majoring in contemporary dance. 

Since then Grace has moved back to the Kapiti coast and is completing her RAD Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies with mentoring from Alison Pond. 

Sophie Finlayson

I started ballet lessons at the age of 4 and now, 12 years later, I’ve added multiple different styles to my repertoire, and dance has become something that I do almost every day. Growing up dancing has given me an enjoyable life and has taught me plenty of life lessons which I've gained many attributes from. 

I love to dance and Danceworks has been such an awesome, supportive environment that I can do my passion in. Looking back on everything that I've been able to do with danceworks as my family, made me realise that I want to help the next generation of dws kids have that same experience. What better way to do that other than teaching?

Dance is something that is really special to me. I sincerely hope it is something that sticks with me for the rest of my life.

Leanora Potten

Leanora has been a part of the dance world since she was 3 years old in England, having started ballet classes she fell in love quickly and found a true passion. 

Since moving to New Zealand she became a member of Dance Unlimited and sat ISTD Ballet, Modern & Tap and APDA Jazz exams. Alongside being a student she also became an assistant teacher of Ready Set Dance and competed in many competitions throughout her time with the studio as well as competing in PACANZ. 

Her love of performing really pushed her to start singing classes and this is where musical theatre started to become her life. She performed in multiple PNGHS/PNBHS productions in her time at high school, choreographed many dances for Diversity Dance company earning a top choreography award, gained a scholarship in dance with NZQA at year 12 and completed her Grade 8 Trinity Musical Theatre Exam. Unfortunately COVID halted her to pursue a career in Performing arts, and she moved on to work as an account manager and marketing representative, but this did not stop her devotion to theatrics. She started  performing with Act Three when she was just 16, with her most recent show being Jersey Boys playing the part of Francine Valli.

She absolutely loves teaching and being able to create and share her own passion with the DanceWorks family!

Jessica King

Jess grew up in the lovely Bay Of Plenty, where she studied Jazz, and Broadway style, alongside taking part in as many shows with Tauranga Musical Theatre as she could.
She sang and danced her way to Australia after highschool and completed a diploma of musical theatre/ dance at Patrick Studios in Melbourne, but it still wasn't enough.
So after a "year off" as a dance teacher she completed a degree in musical theatre at NASDA in Christchurch.
Since then she's traveled Australasia performing in children's shows, and as part of an entertainment team on board P&O cruise ships.
Jess has moved to palmy with her partner and is so happy to be a part of the Danceworks team.

Meghan Lagah

I started dance aged 4 with MacDonald’s school of dance in ballet, this progressed into many other genres including, Tap, Hip hop, Jazz and contemporary.

I finished dancing in 2021 after 14 years of dance stepping back for a gap year, yet quickly realising how boring life is without dance in the mix.

While also being in a dance school, outside of dance during my high school life I was fortunate to be a part of the Hip hop dance troupe, for my senior years which only added to my love for the activity.

Dancing helped me grow as a person and I am very excited to start a new journey teaching at Danceworks.

Ashleigh Shaw

I started my dance journey at 7 years old in Palmerston North. I loved modern and jazz and tried contemporary, and ballet. 

I have done Irish dancing here in Palmerston North and also tried cheerleading and absolutely love all styles and am always willing to try anything! 
I started coaching Gymnastics at 17, and never looked back. 

In 2019 I was able to go to London and begin my OE. I managed to start a Gymnastics programme at a school I taught at and had big dreams to join a club and coach overseas. However, the pandemic meant that could not happen and I am back at home where I love to be. 

Acro means that I can put my love for dance and gymnastics together. 
I cannot wait to learn off my colleagues and students. I thrive on students achieving skills they didn't think possible. Production time is my favourite. I am so excited to be back in the studio. 

Imogen Crane


My name is Imogen. I am very excited to share my knowledge & experiences with you while helping & working alongside you & your performance journey. 

I have been very fortunate to have had over 10 year's professional experience in performing, Dancing, Aerial, Tours, Cruise Ships, Media Launches, Modelling, Runways & TVC, all while travelling the world in doing so. 

Born in Australia, (Ausie, Ausie, Ausie!!) I moved to Palmy 2 years ago with my husband, bought our first home & now sharing this crazy life with our beautiful 1 year old baby boy, Neihana. 

I am looking forward to meeting you all here in the studio!

Miss Imogen Xx

Kate Ramshaw

My name is Kate, and I'm one of the newer teachers at DanceWorks, I'm currently teaching Tap, Jazz and Lyrical.

I started dancing at the age of 9 which is late in the dance world but I fell in love with dancing very quickly and found a passion for it that I'll never let go of.

I danced at Maureen Ax School Of Dance before moving to DanceWorks Studios. I currently dance in the genres of tap, jazz, lyrical, and contemporary. I also compete in the DanceWorks performance plus programme and attend many competitions throughout the year.

I remember vividly Debbie asking me if I wanted to take over a class and become a teacher at DanceWorks. The idea at first was scary and felt like a lot of pressure but as soon as I gave it a go and started teaching I immediately enjoyed it and felt like this was more of a reward than a job being able to watch the kids grow and learn.

I plan on spending my year dancing and teaching as well as working towards my goal for the future of being an oncologist.

Although I'm at the studio almost every day I would not change it for the world. Dance has given me so many opportunities and memories I'll cherish forever and I will continue to work hard and hopefully give my students the same love and encouragement I had and which I'm so grateful for.

Georgia Lunn

Georgia Lunn began Ballet at age 3 under the R.A.D syllabus. She then shifted to Michelle Robinson Dance Studio where she continued to pursue her dance education under I.D.T.A dancing Tap, Jazz, Ballet, and Contemporary.  

Georgia competed in many competitions growing up dancing in every category possible. She danced as a child dancer in the 2018 RNZB production of the Nutcracker, gained her PACANZ Ballet Nomination in 2020 and competed in 2022.

In addition to her dance education Georgia also choreographed for 3 School Productions, many group and solo routines for DNZM that won Regionals and Nationals.

Currently Georgia is a 2nd year Student at Massey University studying a Bachelor of Business Studies with a major in finance.

Georgia has been teaching and choreographing for schools and dance studios since age 10, after gaining her first qualification I.D.T.A Pre Associate at 16 she then taught for Red Star Dance.

While working at DanceWorks Georgia is also working towards her qualifications in I.D.T.A, A.P.D.A, and R.A.D.

Georgia is delighted to join the DWS family!

Charlie Gilmour

Charlotte began her training in 2007 at the Maureen Ax School Of Dance in Palmerston North, where she trained under Maureen Ax, Louise Baker and Brooke Parsons. Upon completion, Charlotte was offered a full scholarship to Village Nation Performing Arts in Sydney, Australia where she trained under Jacqui Howard and Wayne Aspinall. Charlotte has worked as a performer on ‘The Voice Australia’, with Joe Jonas, Kelly Rowland, Delta Goodrem and Boy George. She was also a dancer for the launch of ‘SBS Football World Cup’ and was part of the live filming for an Australian tv show, ‘Dance Boss’.

She had accepted a dance contract in Greece with Remarc Agency for 2020 however stayed home due to Covid.

In her return to New Zealand, Charlotte has been choreographing, teaching and adjudicating nationwide while also working in ‘Unity Dance Company’, based in Wellington.

Arianna Walker-Grey

Kia Ora Koutou! Ko Arianna ahau, he uri nō Te Tairāwhiti engari e noho ana au ki Te Papaioea. Hello everyone! I'm Arianna, I am from the East Coast but I live here in Palmerston North.

I started dancing when I was 2 years old, my first Ballet teacher was Maureen Ax and when I turned 3 I did Jazz with Marika McConachy now known and loved by you all as Mrs. Marika Harvey. As I got older I had many more Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical and Hip Hop teachers, Jessica Tildesley who is now Mrs. Jessica Graham, Hannah Heng who is now Mrs. Hannah Smith, Nicola Morrison who is now Mrs. Nicola Field and teaches here at Danceworks, and Louise Baker who is now Mrs. Louise Flack and runs the Tararua School of Dance.

Each of my teachers played a massive role in my Dancing and all these years later I still have so much knowledge and skills gained from them and am forever grateful for what each of them taught me. I stopped dancing competitively when I was 14, but some highlights were securing a place in the international Genee awards for Ballet after placing highly at the National Qualifiers, winning lots of categories in the PNDA dance competitions, early Dance NZ Made, as well as competitions all over the North Island in Whanganui, Kapiti etc.

Though I haven't danced competitively for years, my love for Dance has always been a massive part of my identity and beginning my Dance Journey again here at Danceworks fills my cup more than anything! I have such a love for our young ones and I am so excited to begin teaching them what is has been engrained in my mind since childhood!

He mihi maioha ki a koutou katoa 🥰

Sarah Rowe

NZAHND (Hons - Theory)

Sarah commenced Highland Dancing at age 5.

She is a member of the NZ Academy of Highland and National Dancing as a qualified teacher and adjudicator. Sarah danced competitively across NZ, achieving multiple top 10 places across various age groups. She has also danced internationally at many shows in the USA, China, Germany, France, Belgium and Scotland, with a career highlight, performing at the Edinburgh Tattoo in 2014.

Sarah is excited to be at Danceworks and have the opportunity to give back to an art form that has given her so much. 

Amy Grayson

Amy has been dancing with DanceWorks Studios since the age of 4, beginning with a Ballet class, where she truly found her passion for dance. Later on she also added to the mix Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical and Acro. This nurtured her love for Modern dance.

She has completed RAD Ballet up to Advanced 1 with distinction and has also achieved highly across the APDA syllabus for both Jazz and Contemporary. Amy also has completed Acro up to level 6.

Throughout the years Amy has competed
both regionally and nationally as a soloist and group member for DanceWorks. Some of her favourite highlights include travelling to the New Zealand Dance Awards national competition in Christchurch, where she placed third in her Lyrical category and in the top 6 for all of her other solos. Another highlight of Amy’s includes PACANZ 2022, where the DanceWorks group, Unity, made it to finals. She also proudly holds the title of Senior Solo Champion 2022 for Impact Nationals.

This year Amy is taking a step back from dancing so she can study full time at Victoria University, Wellington in a Bachelor of Architectural Studies. However she will be in and out of the studio during semester breaks and is looking forward to seeing everyone’s wonderful dancing. Amy can’t wait to teach where possible, helping to nurture and instil the love of dance in the next generation of dancers.

Louise Baker

Louise Baker completed a Diploma in Commercial dance at the Wellington Performing Arts Centre (now Whitireia) in 2010 receiving the first year scholarship for the most promising student.

During her time at WPAC she performed in the Wellington Musical Theatre production Gleevent as a solo dancer and was a Hurricanes cheerleader. Louise became interested in hip hop dance when she was accepted into Wellington's Infinite Dance Crew and went on to travel internationally with them, receiving 4th Place in the FISAF world championships. After a busy few years in Wellington teaching for Pump dance and Step out Dance Co Louise moved to Melbourne where auditioned successfully for a dance contract which took her to the Dominican Republic.

Louise returned home to teach for 8 months before setting off for London to travel, dance and teach. During her 2 years there she taught at Spencer Stage School in Notting Hill, became a London Cheerleader and continued to take classes at the famous Pineapple Dance and Studio 68. In 2014 Louise attended Urban Dance Camp in Germany where she was able to learn from some of the best jazz, contemporary and hip hop tutors in the world.

Louise returned to NZ and completed her Royal Academy of Dance Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies (CBTS) while teaching at the Maureen Ax School of Dance.  Louise has been a judge/tutor and guest taught at various summer schools, workshops and competitions over the past 7 years as well as teaching ballet, jazz and contemporary casually for DanceWorks studios in Palmerston North.

In 2022, Louise moved, with her family, back to her hometown of Pahiatua and restarted Tararua School of Dance. The school has grown to over 100 students in just under a year and Louise is now a registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD).

Kate Martin

Former Director of KM Dance

L.I.D.T.A Classical Ballet
L.I.D.T.A Modern Jazz

B.P.S.A Contemporary Dance
Dip. Performing Arts
Qualified Acrobatic Arts
Dance Adjudicator

Kate Martin is the former Director of KM Dance in Levin (now Levin the Movement) where her dance school taught Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Acro Dance, HipHop, Adult Fitness & Pre-school Dance from 2012 to 2022.

Kate taught most genres over her 10 years as a studio owner, but her specialties are Classical Ballet, Contemporary Dance, and Modern Jazz. Kate is very proud of the achievements of her dancers who consistently excelled in annual exams in Ballet, Jazz and Contemporary and whose competitive troupes and soloists performed well at dance competitions. Kate has also nurtured many dancers to continue to pursue tertiary dance studies and careers in dance as performers or teachers.

Kate is a qualified Ballet & Jazz teacher & Examiner of IDTA (International Dance Teachers Association) and is a qualified Acro Dance teacher with Acrobatic Arts. She has a Diploma in Dance from Whitirea (Now Te Auhua) in Wellington majoring in Commercial Dance and a Contemporary Dance Degree from UNITEC in Auckland.

Whilst IDTA is the syllabi that Kate is qualified in, she has experience with teaching ISTD & RAD Ballet and believes that one of the most important attributes of a teacher is to understand how to teach correct dance technique no matter what the syllabus is.

Previous to opening her own dance school in 2012, Kate spent many years freelance teaching & choreographing and performing professionally in New Zealand and overseas. In her “youth” Kate completed IDTA Ballet and Modern Dance to Adv 2 with Distinction and has also completed Major exams with Distinction for for NZAMD Contemporary, ISTD Modern Dance and AJDA and represented Palmerston North for Modern Dance at PACANZ.

Since selling her dance school at the end of 2022 Kate has been able to spend more time raising her 3 sons and being a Freelance Dance Teacher, Choreographer and Dance Adjudicator.

Kate is looking forward to being a part of the Dance Works team and to continue to share her knowledge and passion of dance with young aspiring dancers.

Alexia Clark

Alexia never had a choice not to peruse a career in theatre. From birth she was thrust into performances and shows (even if they were only the ones she made up and performed in the lounge) by her parents and grandparents.

After spending many years in Palmerston North learning ISTD Tap, NZAMD Jazz and RAD Ballet with the MacDonald School of Dance, she ventured down to the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art to make her love of musical theatre official. For three years she sang and danced every day before flying off to work in the Most Magical Place on Earth...Walt Disney World! Keeping up the adventure she jumped from entertainment at Disney to entertainment onboard a cruise ship (where she inevitably got stuck, thanks Covid-19) and now she’s back in Palmerston North to ride out Coronavirus.

Alexia has always loved teaching and can’t wait to share her knowledge and enthusiasm with everyone.

Hannah McDowall

Hannah has been a student dancing with DanceWorks for 16 years, starting with jazz and then joining ballet shortly after. Starting her ballet examinations with ISTD (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing) then changing to the RAD (Royal Academy of Dance). Completing all her ballet examinations, Hannah had since left Danceworks as a student and has returned to teach. 

Hannah has also completed exams in jazz from a young age, then joining contemporary and tap classes later on.
She has competed in competitions and enjoyed enhancing her performance skills in a different environment on stage. 
Hannah also has enthusiasm and passion for musical theatre. Being involved on and off stage in shows with Act 3 Productions. Some of these shows included Cats, Mary Poppins, Wicked, and most recently We Will Rock You. Hannah was awarded ’Best Choreographer’ in 2021 for her work in Sister Act 2020 at the Regent Theatre.  
Hannah has nearly completed her Bachelor of Teaching (Early Childhood Education) and has 5 years experience at local childcare centres as a teacher and dance instructor. With experience in teaching diverse needs and all abilities, Hannah also taught a dance group for special needs adults and finds new ways to interact and have fun! 
Hannah loves to build relationships with children and parents to foster a love of learning and dance. Hannah wishes to follow the path of her great teachers to pass on her passion and love of dance to students. “I have absolutely idolised all the teachers I've had, and if I can inspire and motivate more young dancers then I know I am doing my job right.” 

Tianii-Jade Simmons

I have been dancing since the young age of 10 and competitively since I was 12. In 2012, I found myself in my very first Dance Competition, competing in my first Hip Hop crew, which opened my eyes even wider into the performing arts industry. Ever since then I have been given many opportunities in Dance; placing 1st in Regional and National Secondary Schools Dance Competitions, Performing on stage in 2017-2018 at Coca Cola Christmas in the park in Auckland, Dancing in Maimoa’s music video ‘Kawea’, and being one of many who were very fortunate to fly over to LA on the She Shines On Dance Tour, Learning from famous choreographers and performing at Disneyland.

As well as performing, I was very fortunate to become a Performing Arts Tutor at Lakes Performing Arts Centre in Rotorua from the age of 16. I have taught Grades 1 through to 10 Urban ignition, as well as, Open Hip Hop, Jazz, Ballet, Contemporary, Special needs, Lifewise and Pre School Dance and have worked with Primary and High School students teaching Dance as well.
I have absolutely loved dance and teaching became a bonus, I cannot wait to see where the future leads.

Miss Tianii

Selena Ton

Hello, my name is Selena and I have been Dancing at DWS Studios since the age of 5.

I started in Ballet before gradually involving myself in other genres, such as Contemporary, Lyrical, Jazz, Hip Hop and Acro.

My favourite genres are Ballet, Lyrical, Jazz and Contemporary. I am currently a full time student at the University of Auckland where I am studying a Commerce/Science conjoint degree. My current prime interest is in psychology.


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