Staff

Philippa McMeechan – Principal

Philippa’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. 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 the 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.

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 the Fellowship qualification of the ISTD, their highest level teaching award, and is an approved tutor for the DDE teaching qualifications. In 2019 following successful recruitment and training Philippa became an ISTD Examiner, and now combines her teaching commitments with examining throughout Europe.  Philippa is also a Associate of the IDTA.

Christina Hadjisavvas – Teacher

Christina 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.  Christina has successfully entered many candidates for exams in Ballet, Modern and Tap and is a great asset to the team!  Christina also runs her own dance school in Sawston.

 

Natasha Donghi – Teacher

Natasha 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 DDE in Cecchetti Ballet.

Lily Bown – Teacher

Lily has been a pupil at the school since its inception in 2002 and attends classes in Ballet, Tap and Modern.  Lily has completed a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Performing Arts and the Level 5 Higher National Diploma in Performing Arts.  Lily is currently continuing her teaching qualifications and also teaches at Hertford Regional College, on their UAL and HND courses.  Lily teaches Ballet, Commercial and our Adult Tap class. She is currently working towards her DDE in Cecchetti Ballet.

Rachel Teeling-Smyth

Rachel began her dance training in Hitchin, taking weekly classes in Cecchetti ballet, tap and modern. She also danced with the Cecchetti associates and scholars in London.

​Rachel continued her training KS Dance Ltd, a full time vocational dance school in Cheshire. She gained a National Diploma in Professional dance and also gained her DDI and DDE ballet teaching qualifications in the Cecchetti method.

​After graduating Rachel began her teaching career. She has taught ISTD Ballet at Dame Bradbury’s Private School in Essex and currently teaches for Tippy Toes Ballet Ltd and Hot House Dance.

Rachel is currently teaching Ballet clases.

Josie McMeechan

Josie began dancing at Buntingford School of Dance from the age of 3 taking weekly classes in Ballet, Modern and Tap.

At 16, Josie continued her training via a scholarship at Bodywork Dance Company where she studied Dance and Musical Theatre. Josie was offered many opportunities with the college including being selected to dance on the main stage at Move it dance convention 2 years in a row. She graduated from Bodywork with a level 6 diploma in professional dance in 2020.
Josie is currently studying for a BA honours in Professional Practice, Arts and Creative Industries at Middlesex University.

Soon after graduating from Bodywork Josie began her teaching career. As well as teaching the Modern/Jazz and Dance Mash classes for Buntingford School of Dance, she is also a dance teacher at St. Edmunds College.

Carys Thomas

Carys has danced ever since the age of 3 but she absolutely fell in love with ballet right from the start. Carys trained and took her professional RAD ballet exams in Intermediate and Advanced 1 gaining distinctions in both. Carys successfully auditioned and became an associate at Tring Park for the Performing Arts Classical Ballet Academy in 2014 and trained there for 4 years. Carys is currently working towards her DDE teaching qualification in Cecchetti Ballet and successfully gained a scholarship to take part in the Cecchetti Ballet summer school for teachers 2021.

Carys assists the ballet classes for the schools youngest dancers and Dance Mash on Saturday mornings for Buntingford School of Dance.

Jemma Wadsworth – Teacher

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 Marriotts School, Stevenage.  She Associate teaching qualifications with the ISTD and IDTA.  In July 2008, she graduated from Middlesex University, Trent Park with a BA Hons degree in Dance and Choreography with Performing Arts. 

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 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.

Zoë Eaglesfield – Administration Manager

Zoë 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 handles all the enrollments and new registrations, alongside manages the waiting lists, invoicing and much more and is the first point of contact for most people contacting the school.

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.

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