About

About

Brighton Dance Academy (BDA) is one of the most prominent dance schools in Melbourne, catering for all ages. Students who learn dance at BDA receive training from professional teachers who encourage students from beginners to advanced level dancers. Recreational dancers also have the opportunity to enjoy dance in unique classes designed just for them. BDA students have gone on to train at the likes of the Australian Ballet School, Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School, Laine Theatre Arts in the UK and the Australian Conservatoire of Ballet.

 

Website photography care of Belinda Strodder.

Meet Our Team
Courtney Donald

Courtney Donald

Courtney Donald

Courtney Donald

Courtney began dancing at BDA in 2011 where she developed her love and passion for dance and performance. In 2013 she began as an assistant teacher for Natasha Abrahams and went on to assist Jess Daniel. She has studied ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip hop and acrobatics at BDA and has represented the school in many of these styles. Courtney has been a competition soloist and troupe member for many years and was the recipient of the Southern Federation Dance Olivia Steadman Scholarship in 2015 for her solo performances. She has completed the highest SFD jazz exams and RAD graded ballet exams with distinction while also completing vocational ballet exams. In 2016 Courtney attained her SFD jazz teaching certificate and also completed teacher training with The Acrobatic Dance Association. Courtney hopes to combine her university studies with her dance training to run a dance therapy program in the future. Courtney adores teaching a range of styles at BDA and aspires to pass on a love and appreciation of dance to all of her students.

Natasha Abrahams

Natasha Abrahams

Natasha Abrahams

Natasha Abrahams

Natasha was a student at Brighton Dance Academy from a young age, which fostered her love and passion for dance throughout her life. Natasha has been a member of staff since 2009 teaching Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Acrobatics and Conditioning, working in the Administrative team since 2010, becoming Studio Manger in 2017, until she stepped down after a big COVID-19 two years. With her Bachelor of Health Science and Masters of Occupational Therapy, Natasha works as a Paediatric Occupational Therapist alongside her position at BDA. Natasha gained her Jazz teaching certificate through Southern Federation of Dance, is a qualified Gymnastics coach and judge, and has also attended the Royal Academy of Dance training program for Pre-Primary - Grade 3 Ballet. Natasha brings her knowledge of dance, gymnastics and Occupational Therapy to her classes at BDA and teaches with high energy and enthusiasm. She loves watching her students grow and develop into young adults and beautiful dancers.

Anka Ditmann

Anka Ditmann

Anka Ditmann

Anka Ditmann

Miss Anka Ditmann’s extensive dance background includes Classical Ballet, Contemporary, Folk, Yamen and Flamenco. As a dancer, Anka studied with world renowned teachers in Europe and the U.S, and danced with various dance companies in Israel. Her qualifications include a Batchelor of education at the Tel-Aviv University, a Royal Academy of Dance Teaching Diploma and a Pilates instructing diploma. Anka started teaching at the age of 16 and has worked with hundreds of students preparing them for RAD exams, VCE exams, competitions, concerts, auditions and TV shows. Having previously run her own dance studio, Anka has taught Ballet (RAD and Vaganova) as well as Contemporary (Graham) to all levels, from pre-schooler to pre-professionals for over 30 years. Anka is very passionate about teaching all her students, both children and adults, and approaches teaching in a holistic and integrated way. Anka is always looking to further her knowledge of Ballet, education, psychology, and anatomy.

Bradley Griffith

Bradley Griffith

Bradley Griffith

Bradley Griffith

Brad has been training in dance art forms since he was a child, studying Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Ballet and Lyrical. Eventually moving to Melbourne where he continued his training at PSA, Hip Hop Crews (Beatphonik, Sole symphony) and Burn City Waack, For the last 7 years he has focused his training in more street and club styles such as Hip Hop, Waacking, Voguing & House. He has worked professionally overseas in Singapore, Malaysia, L.A and Japan and has been teaching children to adults for the last 10 years at many different schools around Australia. Brad believes dance is for everyone, you just have to unlock that passion inside that connects you to the music, and the rest is just training hard. Inspired by different dance cultures, his aim is to share his knowledge, educate and inspire others.

Jacqui Avakian

Jacqui Avakian

Jacqui Avakian

Jacqui Avakian

Jacqui started dancing at Brighton Dance Academy at 5 years old, studying Jazz, Tap, Contemporary and Ballet. Jacqui was first an assistant teacher before transitioning into teaching her own classes in 2017. She is also part of BDA’s Administrative Team. Jacqui has completed SFD Examinations in Tap and all 10 levels in Jazz. Jacqui has also completed teacher training with the Acrobatic Dance Association. Jacqui holds a Bachelor of Biomedical Science from Monash University and is currently studying a Doctor of Physiotherapy at the University of Melbourne. She loves studying the anatomy, physiology and biomechanics of the human body and brings this knowledge to her dance classes. Jacqui’s love of all aspects dance was fostered at BDA and she is excited to have the opportunity to give back to the BDA community.

George Weir

George Weir

George Weir

George Weir

George began dance classes when he was 14 years old. During his initial years of dance, he performed with Stompin Youth Dance Company and Quantum Leap (The Australian Choreographic Centre). George has trained at the Queensland Dance School of Excellence, and formalised his classical ballet training at New Zealand School of Dance. Whilst at NZSD George fell in love with contemporary dance technique and choreography. After NZSD George returned to Australia and in 2011 he enrolled in the Diploma of Dance Teaching and Management at Box Hill Institute. During this time George was motivated to formalise his training in contemporary dance, successfully auditioning for VCA. 2020 he graduated with a BFA in Dance from the VCA / University of Melbourne. Over the years George has worked with many dancers and choreographers, the most notable being Stephanie Lake, Phillip Adams – BalletLab, Becky Hilton, Gerard Van Dyck and Prue Lang. George has also worked with Sports Girl, choreographing several of their Spring/Summer collection runway shows and was featured in the music video ‘Anyway’ by Slum Sociable. In 2022 after a significant break from performing George returned to the stage as the Guest Artist for the National Theatre Ballet School’s production of Snow White, where he danced in the lead role of Snow White’s Prince. George’s extensive technical training in classical ballet and contemporary dance provides him a wealth of knowledge, thus giving him a unique and well-grounded approach to teaching. George likes to inspire and uplift his students, ensuring classes are inclusive of all learning styles and abilities.

Catherine Bam

Catherine Bam

RAD CBTS

Catherine Bam

Catherine Bam

RAD CBTS

Catherine started ballet at the age of 3, and completed her RAD exams in Johannesburg, South Africa. She attended the National School of Arts, where she studied Ballet, Contemporary and Spanish dance, as well as Music, Anatomy and History of Ballet. Catherine moved to the UK in 1999 and became a senior member of the GL14 Dance Company, performing many styles on stage, including ballet, tap, hip hop, and contemporary. She moved back to South Africa in 2009, where she completed her RAD CBTS (certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies) qualification. Catherine has been teaching the RAD syllabus since 2010, she has extensive experience in entering candidates into examinations and boasts a 100% pass rate for her students in all levels. Her patience, dedication, professional and caring manner are great assets that she continues to bring to each lesson. In July 2019, Catherine and her family moved to Melbourne, Australia, and joined the BDA family in 2021.

Justine McKelvie

Justine McKelvie

Justine McKelvie

Justine McKelvie

Justine began dancing at the age of 4, training at BDA in a variety of different styles including ballet, jazz, contemporary and hip hop. After graduating high school, Justine completed two years full time at Brent Street Performing Arts, where she received two diplomas, in both Classical Contemporary and Performing Arts, graduating with honours. Since then, Justine has continued her training whilst working as a dancer for various corporate events with companies such as Pulse Entertainment and this year has performed in ‘After Midnight’, a Sydney based Cabaret. Justine is just so excited to be returning to BDA and sharing her passion for dance with her students.

Laura Brown

Laura Brown

Laura Brown

Laura Brown

Originally from New Zealand Laura studied at Deborah Hale Musical Theatre for many years doing the NZAMD syllabus in Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop and Contemporary as well as RAD Ballet and musical theatre. She moved to Melbourne in 2006, where she studied and graduated from Dance World Studio’s with a Diploma in Performing Arts. After graduating Laura worked for Princess Cruises, traveling the world and performing aboard the Crown Princess and Grand Princess ships. Now working as a teacher/choreographer takes her all over Melbourne and Australia. Working for various dance schools and companies including BDA, Australian Arts Alive, Girls from Oz, Kinder ballet and the Australian Girls Choir. Laura has always loved teaching and she is passionate about helping each student become the best dancer they can be no matter what the style of dance. She continues to take class, go to workshops and is constantly working to become a better teacher and choreographer so she can pass all the years of knowledge on to her students.

Mishaela Taekema

Mishaela Taekema

Mishaela Taekema

Mishaela Taekema

Mishaela has been dancing since she could walk. Mishaela trained at TDC growing up with a strong focus on Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Hip Hop and Acrobatics. Currently holding her certificates 1-4 in dancing, Mishaela is proficient in teaching from ages 2 to adults. With an abundance of teaching experience, Mishaela prides herself on bringing out the best in her students and pushing them to reach new heights in their dancing.

Tanaya Dolumee

Tanaya Dolumee

Tanaya Dolumee

Tanaya Dolumee

Tanaya developed her love for dance at Centrestage Performing Arts School where she studied all dance styles for 18 years. After finishing school, she completed full time dance at Showfit, before returning to Centrestage to start her dance teaching career. Alongside teaching, over the last few years, Tanaya has performed in the Australian Opera’s production of Aida. Tanaya is excited to pass on her love of dance to the students at BDA.

Maggie Rose Scott Hill

Maggie Rose Scott Hill

Maggie Rose Scott Hill

Maggie Rose Scott Hill

Maggie began her formal music training at a young age; she began piano lessons at age 3 and continued these for 15 years. She was trained formally in the classical Suzuki music method, however, she is also competent in other genres such as jazz, contemporary and neo-classical. She has completed AMEB piano exams up to Grade 6 level. Maggie has also undertaken formal voice training, beginning in 2013 and continuing for 6 years. She has training in a range of vocal styles, specialising in jazz and contemporary voice. She has completed her AMEB Grade 6 voice exam. In 2017, Maggie undertook VCE Music Performance, specialising in contemporary voice, and the year after, was accepted to the Victorian College of the Arts. At the VCA, she completed a year of a Bachelor of Music, specialising in Jazz and Improvisation. Maggie has also completed her Grade 3 AMEB music theory exam and extended this knowledge at the university level. She began working as a private piano teacher in 2019, where she discovered her passion for teaching. Within her lessons, she aims to create a safe and comfortable environment, in which students are gently encouraged to explore their voice and expand upon their musicianship. Students will be exposed to a range of singing techniques and styles, as well as general music theory knowledge in which to ground these techniques. Maggie is currently studying for a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne and hopes to pursue a Masters of Music Therapy in the future.

Kiria Clemans

Kiria Clemans

Kiria Clemans

Kiria Clemans

Kiria started her formal music training at a young age by learning piano for seven years. She completed up to Grade 5 AMEB piano exams as well as completing Grade 3 music theory exam. She has always been part of a choir, from Australian Girls Choir, to being in all available school and university choirs. She completed VCE Music Performance in 2016 specialising in contemporary voice. Kiria has been in amateur musical theatre productions every year for the past seven years and has enjoyed playing characters such as Cinderella’s mother in ‘Into the Woods’, and as one of the Boylan sisters in ‘Annie’. She loves being able to give back to the community through community theatre, which she has done for the past three years with starring roles. In 2019 she was the vocal director of an original musical performance with a community theatre company, working with both a children chorus and an adult ensemble. In her classes, students will learn different singing techniques, so they can use their voice comfortably and tunefully. She loves having the opportunity to help people of all ages learn about their unique voice and guiding them beyond what they initially thought they were capable of, by providing a safe space for students to have fun, make mistakes, learn from those mistakes and ultimately find their voice. She has helped coach a number of students to achieve starring roles in their school musicals and into competitive musical casts such as the Young Australian Broadway Chorus. Kiria is currently studying an undergraduate degree of Arts at the University of Melbourne and hopes to further her music education alongside her degree.

Eloise Harris

Eloise Harris

Guest Teacher

Eloise Harris

Eloise Harris

Guest Teacher

Eloise joined BDA in 2016 after moving to Australia from the UK in 2014. Eloise started dancing when she was 6 years old and went to vocational school at the age of 10. Eloise has trained professionally in a range of dance styles and toured the UK and Germany as part of a performance company. Eloise has taught in the UK and the UAE as well as completing a Post Graduate Diploma in Community Dance at the prestigious Trinity Laban Conservatoire in London. Eloise is currently studying a Masters in Education (Dance Teaching) with the Royal Academy of Dance.

Rachael McGowan

Rachael McGowan

Guest Teacher

Rachael McGowan

Rachael McGowan

Guest Teacher

Originally from England, Rachael graduated from the Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Ballet Education degree program and the Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Dance at the Academy’s headquarters in London, England. Whilst studying here, Rachael had the opportunity to work as an assistant alongside world-renowned Royal Academy of Dance Examiners and Teachers as part of the Dance School. Rachael has gone on to teach throughout the UK, Canada, America and now Australia, successfully preparing hundreds of students, both children and adults, for RAD examinations as well as training dancers for full time vocational schools, youth companies and associate programs. Rachael specialises in teaching the vocational levels and teaching adults. Choreography, especially for large events, makes up a significant part of Rachael’s work and she has had the privilege of working with a live orchestra for both the 2011 and 2012 Proms in the Meadow. Rachael has also choreographed for festivals and eisteddfods, charity events and more recently full length classical productions as Ballet Mistress for a Canadian youth company. Having sustained a serious injury, Rachael has since developed a passion for Dance Science and now also teaches practical based Anatomy and Physiology classes to her students. Rachael is a qualified Mat and Reformer Pilates instructor as well as a qualified teacher of the Progressing Ballet Technique program. Rachael regularly attends courses with Lisa Howell, The Australian Ballet and IADMS, strongly believing that as teachers, our responsibility is to prepare dancers not just for the current season but for a life time of dance. Rachael has been a member of the RAD Victorian Tasmanian panel since 2015. In June 2018 Rachael was appointed to the Panel of RAD Examiners, examining throughout Australia and internationally.

Jodie Robson

Jodie Robson

Office Admin.

Jodie Robson

Jodie Robson

Office Admin.

Diploma of Dance (Teaching and Management) – Box Hill Institute. Member of Southern Federation of Dance Board Examiners. Jodie began teaching at Brighton Dance Academy in 2000 and took on administration and management roles over the years, before leaving in 2012 when she had her first daughter. She returned to teach in 2015 and then took a break from dancing after having her second daughter and then suffering a knee injury. In the last few years, she has been very happy to return to the dance studios as a teacher and is so pleased to be back at BDA working in the office. Jodie continues to work as a Jazz and Tap examiner for the Southern Federation of Dance.

Our Values

Celebrating Movement

Brighton Dance Academy provides dance classes to all ages and abilities from beginner to pre-professional level. We believe in nurturing students and pride ourselves on the positive culture within our school.