Faculty

Principal

Karen Suttie R.A.D RTS, T.Dip
Trained since the age of 3 at the Roxanne McCourtie School of Dance in Nelson Bay and Tessa Maunder in Newcastle, Karen has completed her Classical Ballet training from Primary to Advanced. As well as Royal Academy of Dance Classical Ballet, she has done exams in D.E.S and Khorobushka National Character Syllabus’s.

In 1993 she completed her HSC in Classical Ballet and went onto to study the Royal Academy of Dancing Teaching Certificate and Teachers Diploma, obtaining both.

Opening the studio in 1994, Karen specializes in Classical Ballet, but also teaches Jazz, Contemporary and National Character.

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Teachers

Keira McCann Cert IV MA
Keira started her training in Dubbo at age 4 with the Dubbo Ballet School. Moving to Newcastle in her teens she enrolled at Studio 2324. In 2000, the year she landed the lead role of Dorothy in the Studio’s production of “The Wizard of OZ”, she won the Senior Scholarship.

Competing in many eisteddfods she gained numerous placings and championship awards. After studying Classical Ballet full time at the Studios

She made the successful transition from student to teacher. Having also completed her Certificate IV in Make-Up Artistry she has a passion for Contemporary Dance.

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Penny Wilson L.G.T.D.A
With her Les Griffiths Tap Dancing Association Teachers Certificate obtained with Honours, Penny Wilson is our resident tap teacher. Trained under the expert tuition of Donna Michilitsis from age 5, Penny earned her student teachers certificate while still a teenager.

With a talent spotted early she played the role of “Gretel” in the “Sound of Music” when she was 8 years old. She was in the dance chorus of the musical “The Music Man” at age 14 and then went on to choreograph the St Phillips Christian College musical “Suessical the Musical” aswell as create the costume designs.

Having completed Trinity singing exams to Grade 5, Penny also has experience in many other styles of dance including Jazz, Ballroom and Latin dancing to add to her achievements.

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James Tolhurst
Born in Newcastle, James Tolhurst has been dancing since the age of 10, at Robyn Yvette Dance and Talent Centre in Nelson Bay.  A versatile dancer, he has performed throughout Australia and the world in various eisteddfods and styles. In 2013, he placed 6th at the Dance Worlds competition in Orlando, USA and as a member of the Robyn Yvette USA Tour Group, James performed in the “Dance The Magic Christmas Parade” in Disneyland, as well as performing at Universal Studios, Los Angeles. 

He has been involved in Musical Theatre since 2011, as both a choreographer and performer in the Metropolitan Players productions of Grease (2011), The Phantom of the Opera (2013), Hairspray (2014) and The Little Mermaid Junior (2014). As a musical theatre tutor and choreographer at Hunter Drama, James will be choreographing Fame Junior (July 2015), alongside the Metropolitan Players production of Mary Poppins (August 2015).

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Ebony Chalmers
Trained since the age of 5 in Royal Academy of Dance Classical Ballet, Contemporary, Pilates, Jazz and Tap, Ebony has a strong interest in Classical Ballet, Body Conditioning and Contemporary. She completed her studies at MWM studio under Marie Walton Mahon and progressed through the full time program at the National College of Dance.

In 2008 she commenced freelance teaching across the Hunter Valley predominantly with RAD Classical Ballet and Contemporary and has been teaching ever since.

Having a passion for safe dance practices, she teaches students about their bodies and how to work safely, while concentrating on injury prevention, technique and progression in all classes and all genres.

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Jesse Atwood
Jesse is a Novocastrian with many qualifications and experience.
After training at the National College of Dance, Jesse moved to America to Study at the Miami City Ballet School.
He has obtained his Diploma of Dance Performance, Cert IV Of Dance Performance, BBO Solo Seal Tap and has also studied with the Australian Pilates Academy.
He is a member of the Royal Academy of Dance and has attended classes with many prestigious Schools including Houston Ballet, San Francisco Ballet and Alvin Ailey.
His Choreography achievements include "So You Think You Can Dance" as assistant to Debbie Linnert.

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Guest Teachers

Yvette Milwright B. Ed
Yvette was RAD trained (to Advanced level) and developed a strong interest in contemporary dance, choreography and production. Over the years she has won a number of both state and national choreographic awards.

Some of her past choreographic accomplishments include: Starstruck, Department of Education events, Hunter and State Dance Festivals, sporting events, SYTYCD, as well as the Artistic Director/Choreographer for Rock Eisteddfod (for 15 years), Talent Storm and iRock events.

Yvette has run numerous DEC dance workshops for both primary and high school students, as well as teachers. She is currently teaching dance at Toronto High School from years 7 through to 12, including special needs students. She was co-principal of Studio 2324 (with Karen Suttie) from its opening in 1993 up until 2000. Yvette has had both past and current year 12 students nominated for NSW HSC Callback for Major Performance. A recent highlight of her career was being involved in a meeting with Abby Lee (of Dance Moms) to discuss the changing face of Dance in Australia. Yvette holds a Bachelor of Education Degree and has been teaching for over 20 years.

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Emily Kempfe BD Dip Ed
Emily began her dance training at Dance West in Young and Cowra Ballet School and knew it would always be a major part of her life. She joined QL2 (formerly Quantum Leap Youth Choreographic Ensemble), performing in multiple works and touring regional NSW with their piece ‘Reckless Valour’.

She went on to study dance full time at Wesley Institute Sydney obtaining a Bachelors degree in Dance (Classical Ballet). She also studied acting at the Actors Centre Australia and Dance and Technology at the University of New South Wales.

Since graduating Wesley she has worked with multiple independent artists theatre companies as both an actor and dancer before discovering her passion for teaching. She returned to University to obtain her Graduate Diploma of Education (Dance/Drama) and has been teaching ever since.

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Michelle Davidson L.G.T.D.A, WAAPA
Michelle has recently graduated from the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (W.A.A.P.A) with an Advanced Diploma of Performing Arts. She is currently working on ABC's Playschool. During her time at WAAPA she has performed in roles such as 'Masha' in The Seagull directed by Marcelle Schmidtz, the lead role of 'Tiffany' a Cabaret singer in a new Australian work by Hilary Bell and many other productions such as Under Milk Wood and Threepenny Opera.

Before studying at WAAPA, Michelle completed with a Distinction a Certificate IV in Music Theatre. Michelle commenced dance lessons at the of age of five. She has completed her LGTDA (Tap) Teachers Certificate and trained in classical (RAD), contemporary and Jazz.

She has also studied AMEB singing exams and performed as a featured vocalist in Star Struck and the Schools Spectacular. Michelle has also been a member of the Talent Development Project. She has performed in numerous musical productions, plays, films and corporate events and has danced on tour in the USA.

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