Valerie Lissette

Principal - Ballet (RAD RTS, ARAD)

Valerie is a fully registered teacher and a life member of the Royal Academy of Dance. She began her dancing in Hamilton and later attained the Solo Seal examination and her Associate of the Royal Academy of Dance qualification, ARAD.

The Dance School was established in 1976, teaching just Ballet. Jazz, Tap, Musical Theatre and Contemporary are now offered. The school has established a reputation for excellence in dance training and theatrical performances.

Numerous students have gone on to further their careers in dance teaching and show business throughout the world. Valerie is very proud to have some of these teachers in her own dance school.

Rebecca McGlade


Rebecca started her dance training in the UK. She joined the Valerie Lissette School of Dance as a student when she moved to New Zealand.

She trained in Tap, Ballet, Jazz, Lyrical and Musical Theatre and completed exams in RAD Ballet, TDI Tap and AJDA Jazz.

Rebecca has been teaching our Tap classes for over 10 years. Her expertise, precision and clever choreography is enjoyed by all her students.

She is a mum to a beautiful little girl and continues to enjoy both teaching and choreography.

Sinead Sambells

Ballet (RAD RTS, CBTS) - Jazz - Contemporary - PBT

Sinead trained extensively in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, Lyrical and Musical Theatre while a student at the Valerie Lissette School of Dance. She began teaching Ballet and Jazz classes at the studio while attending University.

Sinead is a fully registered Royal Academy of Dance ballet teacher, having completed her ‘Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies’ under the mentorship of Valerie.

She also teaches our American Jazz classes and has had several students achieve the highest examination marks in NZ. In 2020 she gained the Progressing Ballet Technique certification and has introduced these classes to the studio.

Sinead thoroughly enjoys her teaching role and choreographic opportunities – her passion for dance continues to inspire the next generation of dancers.

Jodie James

Ballet - Musical Theatre

Jodie was a pupil at the Valerie Lissette School of Dance and later continued her dance studies at the East Auckland Performing Arts School.

She has qualifications in Theatre, Modern Dance, Ballet, Tap, Dance History and Human Anatomy.

Jodie spent time performing in musical cabaret shows for P&0 Cruises Australia.

She has three young children and continues to support the studio, teaching weekly classes and choreographing for our annual production.

Katie Hurst-Saxton

Vocational Ballet (ARAD, Solo Seal)

Katie trained at the International Ballet Academy in Christchurch where she attained her Solo Seal Exam and became an Associate of Royal Academy of Dance, ARAD.

At just 16, Katie was offered a contract to dance with the Royal New Zealand Ballet. She had a wonderful career as a professional dancer from 2002-2017 in both New Zealand and Australia.

Katie has over 10 years teaching experience. She has recently been in Wellington teaching Royal Academy of Dance syllabus work, Repertoire and Variations.

We are now very lucky to have her teaching in our studio – she is an inspiration to our dancers!

Vicki Loynes

Adult Tap

Vicki has trained in Tap, Jazz, Ballet and Contemporary dance and completed teaching examinations as well as achieving a Bachelor’s degree in Dance and Commercial Dance Training.

She has performed internationally and continues to work in a creative capacity for local dance projects – most recently she has choreographed Riverlea Theatre’s production of Mamma Mia.

Vicki is a mum to three young children but finds time to put on her tap shoes and come in to teach our adult tappers every Wednesday.

Kirsty Farrow

Relief Teacher - Ballet (RAD RTS, DDTS)

Kirsty started dancing in Whangarei and continued her training with the Valerie Lissette School of Dance when she moved to Hamilton. She began teaching Ballet and Jazz classes while studying at the University of Waikato.

Kirsty moved to England and while teaching there gained the Royal Academy of Dance ‘Diploma in Dance Teaching Studies’ and is now a fully registered RAD ballet teacher. Kirsty is also certified to teach Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT) and is a Silver Swans Licensee.

Joel Hewlett

Guest Teacher

Joel has previously worked with our students during our productions of “Aladdin – Make a Wish” in 2013 and “Dance with the Animals” in 2020.

Joel has been working in the professional dance industry in Australia. He performed in Disney Productions “Aladdin” for three years and more recently in the “Book of Mormon.”

We enjoy having him back to our studio when he is available to take workshops and choreograph for our annual production.

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