Meet our team

It is with great pride and satisfaction that I present to you DanceWorks, my teachers and students work so hard to maintain the standards expected of a DanceWorks student, in doing so many discover a second family. I have a young daughter myself and feel as if I have another hundred or so more every time I come to work.

"Some people seem to think that good dancers are born, but all the good dancers I have known are taught or trained."- Fred Astaire

Marika Harvey BSpeX, ARAD, RTS RAD

I started dancing locally at the age of 7, in 2000, at the age of 17, I moved to Australia in pursuit of a dancing career to Ecole Ballet Studios gaining more than just dance skills! I have competed all ballet exams to Advanced 2 level in the Royal Academy of Dance Syllabus and was able to gain Associate of the RAD by doing so it isa great honour by doing so. While studying in Australia the opportunity was presented to audition for the Sydney 2000 Olympics, this was an amazing journey and I have so many wonderful memories, performing in the opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic games was very surreal. In Australia I discovered a love of choreography and performance and was encouraged to explore both.
Since returning to New Zealand in 2005, I have taught dance at L Dance Studio in Wellington and Maureen Ax School of Dance here in Palmerston North before opening Platinum Dance in 2009. During this time I completed both a Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies and Bachelor of Sport & Exercise. In only 6 years of teaching there have been many successes including many students going on to full time training, the latest being Emma Martin who is now at the New Zealand School of Dance.
In 2009 I was given the Student City contribution to Dance Award, and this year a 'Globe Award' for best choreography in the musical 'Slice of Saturday Night'.
Dance has taken me around the world and back again, and have had so many performing opportunities. Dance is a life long passion I have evolved from a student to pre professional, professional, to teacher then Studio owner, now I'm transitioning into a dance mum myself its a life style not a job and and I wouldn't have it any other way.

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. 

Brooke Parsons

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. 


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.

Karli Theron Adv Dip in Dance

Advanced 1, Certificate IV in dance, Diploma of dance (Elite Performance), Advanced Diploma of dance (Elite Performance)

At age 3 I started ballet because as my other would say, "she wouldn't stop using my table as a stage. Fell in love with ballet almost straight away and knew from a very young age what I wanted to do. At age 10 started with contemporary and modern dance classes and completed all my AIDT exams ages 16, around the same time I had completed all RAD exams including intermediate old and new syllabus, adv. 1 old and new syllabus. During these years I had competed in multiple competitions including three years competing at the South African National Championships for performing art, receiving 1 Bronze, 4 Silver and 6 Gold medals for both solo and group pieces. I had told my mother at the age of 14 I was going to chase my dreams and move countries to do so. I auditioned internationally and got excepted into 4 of the five places I auditioned, and after great thought and research, I chose The National Theatre Ballet School in Melbourne Australia for multiple reasons but mostly the performance experience and the actual studio time. I started full-time ballet training at The National Theatre Ballet School in 2016 and performed in amazing production by incredible choreographers such as Matthew Thompson, Beverly Jane Fry, Alicia Frias Jackson, Mellony Stephenson, Claire Campbell, Christopher Wheeldon and Damian Smith. I've performed in ballet such as Coppelia, Les Patineurs, Pied Piper, a Deconstruction in Three Parts(flamenco), From the Ashes(flamenco), An Unkindness of Ravens (contemporary), Graduation Ball, Within the Golden Hour (neo-Classical by Christopher Wheeldon) Composition in White (classical), Don Quixote, Pure Reaction(contemporary), Paquita and The Nutcracker. Now graduated with both Diploma and Adv Diploma. If anyone was to ask me what I'd like to give to other young dancers starting out, I'd simply say "it doesn't matter where you come from or what your situation is, you can chase your dreams and you can become them, I'm a small town South African girl who had big dreams, if I could so can you."

Rachel Bothwell

I grew up around dance, my mother is a dancer and teacher and she instilled a love of dance from an early age. I did most of my growing up in Auckland and began dancing and performing in front of audiences at the age of three. At eight I started ballet lessons in the Royal Academy of Dance Syllabus [RAD] and continued my classical ballet training up to Advanced Two. While continuing my own dance training I began assisting teaching at fifteen, taking classes alongside my mother (and mentor). I enjoyed having the opportunity to share my knowledge and passion for dance with others and realised then my love of teaching. I decided to continue to study dance further at universitywhere I gained valuable knowledge and skills while training under some leading New Zealand dance professionals. After completing a Certificate in Sport and Recreation,

I studied towards a Bachelor of Dance for two years. In 2012 I relocated to Palmerston North and began teaching ballet and contemporary dance at a local dance school before becoming a part of the DanceWorks family in 2014. It is an immense privilege to teach the junior ballet students at DanceWorks and to pass on my love and appreciation of dance to a new generation of aspiring young dancers! When I am not teaching I am spending every spare minute with my daughter, Mikaiah, who is also growing up surrounded and inspired by dance!


Caitlin Sanson

Kia Ora, I'm Caitlin the new Hip Hop teacher at Dance works. I am also currently a student myself at Anomaly Dance studio and I have been dancing since i was 7 years old and teaching since i was 14. My dance vocabulary is mainly Hip Hop but i have also done Jazz and have self taught myself a little bit of Contemporary. I am currently also a student myself at Anomaly Dance studio as well as taking on teaching her. I've complete all 6 levels of NZAMD exams as well as being chosen to participate in the NZAMD scholarships in 2015 which is a privilege in itself being chosen let alone making it through to finals which is top 10 out of hundreds of dancers. With many years of experience under my belt i've had many opportunities to attend workshops taught by some big hip hop dancers from around the world as well as compete in many different competitions around NZ.

Abby-Rose Bailey

I started dancing at age 2, and have never stopped. Dance quickly become a passion of mine which has taken me to other cities in NZ and where I have made life long friends.

Dance is my sport, let’s me be creative and live my passion.

I have attended numerous Phoenix workshops, competed in PACANZ troupes, choreographed numerous winning school dance competitions and competed both locally and regionally. Highest achievement to date is:
top tier award for contemporary. 
2018 Director’s award DWS. 
2019 Senior supreme - Most versatile dancer DWS

Steph O'Connor

Assistant Teachers

Assistant Teachers

Brianna Bold

Assistant Teacher

Jess Redman

Assistant Teachers

Yianni Fovakis

Assistant Teacher

Danika Woodroofe

Assistant Teacher

Ayla Cooksley

Assistant Teachers

Alexia Fovakis

Assistant Teacher

Camden Woodroofe

Assistant Teacher

Mārie Jones

Assistant Teacher

Lola van Dyk

Assistant Teacher

Charlotte Wenman

Assistant Teacher

Isabella Jones

 

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