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SHONA BENNETT - CICB (Licentiate) CBA, Certificate IV in Dance Teaching & Management, Advanced 1 Cecchetti, NZ Assoc. Modern Dance Intermediate, Registered teacher of Jazz Dance NZ
I started my training in Dunedin at the age of six with Helen Bray and then 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, I trained under Helen Bray to sit my first teaching exam. In 1994 I started the Bennett School of Ballet & Jazz with one class and have continued to grow the school during this time with the philosophy that all children and adults should enjoy the world of dance and how it can benefit our lives.
AMBER SWANEY - Cecchetti Advanced 1 Ballet, JDNZ Advanced 2
I have been with the Bennett school for 18 years and looking forward to another fantastic year! Currently I am working full time at Deloitte doing payroll for clients. I have had so many great memories with BSBJ and I love the spirit and warmth of the school. This year I am really looking forward to teaching jazz and sharing my love of dance.
JEMMA DOUGHERTY - Cecchetti Advanced 1 Ballet
I’ve been dancing at Bennett School of Ballet and Jazz since 2006 and teaching here for 4 ½ years. I am currently working at Cotton On Kids. I’m so excited to be continuing teaching this year and to see my students through their exams and the end of year concert. I hope to have another great year and learn more of the Cecchetti syllabus in preparation for the teaching exams I will sit this year and in the following years.
MEREDITH WALKER - Cecchetti Advanced 1 Ballet
I started ballet lessons at the age of 5, and have been dancing at the Bennett School of Ballet and Jazz for 7 years, where I now take classes in ballet and jazz. I have been volunteering as a teacher helper for Tiny Tots for the past four years and am very excited to begin teaching my own class this year. I am currently in my final year of high school and recently completed my Advanced 1 ballet exam. I can’t wait for another great year at BSBJ and to meet all the new students!
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.
EMILY FINNIE - Cecchetti Advanced 1 Ballet, JDNZ Intermediate
I began dancing in 2008 at the Bennett School of Ballet and Jazz beginning with Jazz followed by Ballet. As my passion for dance grew so did my classes, which now include Contemporary and Russian Character as well. I have been a student helper for the last 3 years and am now lucky enough to have my own class to teach this year. I am currently in my last year of high school and will also be working towards my own dance exams. This year I am looking forward to sharing my love for dance with returning and new students and of course excited about our end of year show.
EMMA HOLLOWAY - Advanced 2 BBO, BBO Advanced 1 Jazz, Advanced 1 UK Tap
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 throughout Sydney and around NSW. I began teaching in Sydney, taking Jazz and Hip Hop classes at ‘Macquarie Dancers’ and ‘All Stars’ dance studios. I started attending classes at Bennett School of Ballet and Jazz in 2008 when I moved to Dunedin. In 2011 I began teaching a Tap class at the school and Musical Theatre in 2012 and 2013. I also started teaching Jazz in 2013, preparing students for their exams and the end of year concert. Since being in Dunedin I have also performed in the Big Night In production at the Stadium in 2011 and been a part of the Otago Dancers since 2012 dancing at various Rugby, Cricket and Basketball games including the NZ Breakers and the All Blacks. In 2015 I flew over to Los Angeles to perform our show at Disneyland. 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.
Back left to right: Ana Finnie, Meredith Walker, Anastasia Smith
Front left to right: Emily Finnie, Libby Bloem