Staff

Philippa McMeechan-Principal

philippaPhilippa’s early training was with Alexandra Barnes and Kathleen Yates, and in this time she studied ISTD Imperial, Cecchetti and RAD ballet, in addition to Modern, Tap, National and Repertoire. In 1980 she received a ‘Special Commendation’ from Joyce Percy at the Imperial Society Classical Ballet Award Finals, and in 1982 Philippa was placed 2nd in the annual Cecchetti Society Mabel Ryan Award at the Barbican. In 1984 Philippa danced a classical solo at the Dominion Theatre London, as part of a selected children’s performing arts ensemble. From 1980 – 1985, Philippa was awarded scholarships with the Cecchetti society to attend weekly classes in London, following which she furthered her training at the Central School of Ballet in London, dancing the 2nd year Contemporary solo at the annual performance at the Embassy Theatre in 1986. She went on to tour nationally with Ballet Central, performing a wide range of classical and contemporary ballets.

In 2003, Philippa was invited by the Head of St Edmunds College to join St Edmunds Prep school, as the dance teacher. Following this in 2004, Philippa joined the staff at Duncombe School where she currently leads the Early Years and Key Stage 1 dance programme. Philippa has also worked for the renowned Vacani School, which until recently, was chosen by the Royal Family for their dance tuition.

Having established The Buntingford Dancing School in 2002, Philippa’s aim is to combine the roots of her early training with other dance forms and theatrical experiences to inspire her young pupils.

Philippa holds ‘Associate’ and ‘Diploma in Dance Education’ qualifications with the ISTD, is an ‘Associate’ member of the IDTA, and is a qualified Montessori teacher.

Christina Hadjisavvas – Teacher

christinaChristina studied dance at The Dance College for 3 years, and graduated in 2009. Here she gained her ISTD Ballet, Tap, Modern and National CDE qualifications, as well as her vocational advanced exams.

Christina has performed in many local shows and dance festivals, and still performs as a cabaret dancer alongside Andy Mawbey and The Big Band, in shows across the country.

Christina has also performed as Cinderella with the National Youth Ballet and during her training with The Dance College performed for them on many occasions at “The Junction” in Cambridge.

 

Jemma Wadsworth – Teacher

Jems Biog.Jemma trained at The Dance College part-time, alongside studying for her A ‘level’s at school.

Her early training began with The Deborah Knights School of Dance, where she attended lessons in Ballet, Tap and Modern from the age of three.

Jemma currently works as a fully qualified Teacher of Dance and Drama at The John Henry Newman School, Stevenage.

She is also a fully qualified member of the ISTD and IDTA, holding Associate status teaching qualifications with both societies.

In July 2008, she graduated from Middlesex University, Trent Park with a BA Hons degree in Dance and Choreography with Performing Arts. Whilst at University Jemma studied Dance History, Classical Ballet, Street, Modern Jazz and Contemporary Modern dance.

More recently Jemma trained under the Graduate Teachers Programme and was awarded qualified teacher status, gaining ‘Outstanding’ under the OFSTED grading criteria.

Before turning to a career in full-time teaching, Jemma divided her time between teaching dance and her other love, performing.

Her performance credits include Cinderella with Bradley Walsh, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with Toyah Wilcox, and Aladdin with Lucy Benjamin, in which Jemma went on to understudy the part of Aladdin for several performances. Other performance credits include Copacabana, Crazy for You, Titanic – A new Musical, 42nd Street, The Full Monty, Alice in Wonderland, Beauty and the Beast and many more.

Jemma runs her own Dance and Drama School and has taught for a number of years as a freelance teacher for other Dance and Theatre Schools in the area, putting pupils through competitions, exams and bi-annual dance shows. She also taught for North Herts College, offering dance courses to Adults.

Natasha Mead- Teacher 

10670123_10152272910022142_2744974173942063593_nNatasha attends Ballet, Tap and Modern dance classes with the school. Natasha teaches our youngest dancers on a Saturday at the United Reformed Church Hall and also assists with classes at Duncombe School. During her time at Freman College Natasha was a Sports Leader and now has a degree in Sports Coaching and Physical Education from Anglia Ruskin University and recently achieved Qualified Teacher Status having completed her training at North East London Teaching Alliance. Natasha teaches PE at a Secondary School in Barnet and is also working towards her DDI (Diploma in Dance Instruction) in Cecchetti Ballet.

Shannen – Teacher

shannen-barrett-6-of-2-2Miss Shannen teaches on Thursday evenings as our Street Dance teacher.

Shannen trained for 3 years at the Italia Conti Arts Centre, where she completed her DDI, DDE and P.C.E teaching qualifications.

She has recently finished in the post of Dance Captain at a Warner Leisure Hotel on the Isle of Wight.

Shannen has over 5 years worth of teaching experience working with all ages and is very excited to become part of the team, here at the Buntingford School of Dance.

Elloise – Teacher

Miss Elloise teaches our pupils for competitions.

In 2013 Elloise graduated from Stella Mann College, with a National Diploma in Professional Musical Theatre. In 2014 she was awarded a scholarship to the ISTD Springboard programme and recently has been attending The Dance College to obtain her DDI Teaching Qualifications in Modern and Tap.

Elloise is an experienced performer and choreographer for dance competitions/festivals. We welcome her to the team!

Lily Bown – Assistant

FullSizeRenderLily has been a pupil at the school since 2002 and takes classes in all genres of dance.  Lily is currently in her second year at college where she studies Performing Arts and is hoping to go on and study performing arts with a teaching degree at university and become a performer before starting a career in teaching.  While at Freman College Lily completed her Sports Leader UK Level 1 Award in Sports Leadership. After assisting at a number of Miss Philippa’s classes over the years Lily is now assisting Miss Natasha with all Saturday morning classes for our youngest dancers at the URC Hall and is working towards her DDI (Diploma in Dance Instruction) in Cecchetti Ballet.

Felicity Sandell – Pianist

Our pianist Felicity has a wealth of knowledge and experience. She was a junior exhibitionist at the Royal College of Music and went on to gain a BMus. from Nottingham University. Following this she took her LRAM teachers Diploma and has successfully guided many pupils through their piano examinations. We are very lucky to have her accompanying and inspiring our classes.

Zoë Eaglesfield – Administration

DSC_0102.JPGZoë has a BSc in Management & Systems Science and worked in administration for several years before taking time out to be at home with her three children. Among her administrative duties, Zoë manages the waiting lists and is at the URC Hall Classes at the start of each half term for anyone with queries or payments.