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Our Teachers

 

Alina Luts

Character Dance Teacher

Alina Luts has a long list of performing and choreography credits. Alina grew up in Lviv, Ukraine where she studied dance at Lviv State Ballet School (Vaganova School system) for 10 years. She went on to become a principal dancer for the Aquarius Contemporary Dance Company in Ukraine. Aquarius toured the world as an independent ballet company as well as the support ballet for Sofia Rotaru, one of the most famous Russian, Ukrainian and Moldavian pop and folk singers. As an Aquarius dancer she performed in the worlds’ greatest venues including New-York Radio City Music Hall, Kremlin Palace of Congress and many others. At the same time, Alina taught at Aquarius junior studio. Alina also danced leading parts in Cabaret Theatre Leopolis for two years where she performed character, jazz and folk dance. She participated in a number of international folk art festivals where she would perform character dance including Spanish, Gypsy, Russian, Hungarian, Ukrainian and Jewish folk dances, and was a member of Lviv Jewish Folk Dance company Mazl Tov. She participated as a principal dancer in a number of plays in Lviv Lesya Ukrayinka Drama Theatre and worked in Lviv Voskresinnya Theatre as a stage dance instructor and choreographer. Alina runs our popular Character dance Programme which is held on Saturday mornings. The group will be performing this year at the Bedford Park Festival. Last year Alina created our first Ballet4life Cultural Excursion and brought a group to Kiev. She also holds current PLI.

Mark Kimmett aka MArk kelly

Ballet and Contemporary Teacher

Mark Kimmett/Kelly is a London-based dancer and teacher who trained at the Royal Ballet School and Dance School of Scotland. Upon graduation, he joined Scottish Ballet where he spent 10 years performing. During his time there he danced in works by George Balanchine, William Forsythe, Stephen Petronio, Trisha Brown, Ashley Page, Krzysztof Pastor, Peter Darrell and more. On leaving Scottish Ballet Mark spent six years with Rambert in London, where he enjoyed an exciting and varied repertory by choreographers such as Christopher Bruce, Javier de Frutos, Itzik Galili and Merce Cunningham. He has also worked closely with German choreographer Johannes Weiland who works theatrically with movement and text. Since leaving Rambert, Mark continues to perform and teach. He is currently studying to be a Person Centred Therapist. Mark’s interests in teaching and therapy are closely linked: His aim with his teaching, besides the technical elements, is to encourage individuals to express themselves in their own unique way in a fun and safe environment, enabling people to be more in tune with their bodies and facilitating open communication through body and mind. Mark’s warmth, expertise, and attention to the individual dancer will greatly enhance everyone’s classroom experience. Mark is also a Somatic Practioner and he offers his sessions in Greater London. He also carries a full DBS check and PLI.

Chris Christodoulou

Ballet Teacher

Chris was born in Cyprus and started his dance studies at age 20 in the UK, along his Visual Performing Arts degree at the University of Brighton. Upon completion of both university studies and private ballet classes, he progressed to professional dance training in Athens, at the Greek State School of Dance. Following his studies, he was accepted at the Hellenic Dance Company, dancing in works by Martha Graham, Pascal Rioult, Richard Alston and Hofesh Schechter, amongst others. Following a scholarship by the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, he continued his studies with a Masters degree in Scenography at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. He also started working as a freelance video editor and theatrical lighting designer, collaborating mainly with contemporary dance choreographers. Upon his return to his homeland Cyprus, he was invited to teach as a guest lecturer at the Dance Programme of the University of Nicosia. here in London, Chris now leads our Beginner Ballet Courses, Beginner Follow-On and Improvers classes. He was also trained to work for our dance charity Move into Wellbeing®. He heads up our class for Hounslow at the Danehurst Activites Centre in Brentford. He works with people with mobility issues and over 60's, including those living with Parkinson’s. Chris also teaches our long-standing Beginner Ballet class in Kew at Earth-life on Fridays. He also holds an enhanced DBS check, PLI, and is a First-Aider.

Anca Nistor

Ballroom and Latin Dance Teacher

Anca Nistor is a young passionate dancer and dance instructor. She has been training and competing in Ballroom Dancing for nearly 11 years. She has been teaching in the UK for over three years at Ballroom Dance schools such as Dance Connection, and Wimbledon Dance Academy. Her dance training and education includes years with Wimbledon Dance Academy and Lewisham College. Presently she is a popular teacher at Vera De Diva, where she follows the International Dance Teachers Association Ballroom & Latin syllabus. Anca also holds a BA in Physical Education and Sport and a Higher National Certificate in Performing Arts - Dance. Anca is an approachable and committed dancer teacher who is keen to share her passion for dance. She creates a warm and enthusiastic atmosphere. Her aim is to empower the participants by allowing them to understand, feel, and explore the movements and by providing constructive criticism and encouragement. Anca delivers our popular Wednesday evening Ballroom and Latin Dance. In Summer 2019 she will be getting married so we all wish her and her partner the very best! Anca has the DBS check and holds PLI. 

IOANNA BILI

Ballet Teacher

Ioanna was born in Thessaloniki, Greece and started her ballet training with the RAD syllabus at the age of 6, where she succeeded in the Academy’s exams. She also undertook her 4-years degree in Software and Telecommunications Engineering, along with her continuous pre-vocational ballet and contemporary dance training. Upon completion, at the age of 23, she started her BA in Dance Teaching and Choreography at the A. Kafantari Professional Dance School of Higher Education in Thessaloniki. During the second year of her studies, she started teaching ballet and contemporary dance to ages from 3 to 63, performed ballet and contemporary dance works of Greek choreographers in Greece and Bulgaria. After graduating, she carried on performing and choreographing, but most importantly she focused on the further development of her teaching. She carried on planning and teaching classes inclusive for people of different level of attentiveness and dance skill level. In 2016, she moved to London as she got accepted from the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in order to undertake her MA in Choreography as a Leverhulme Arts Scholarships recipient. Ioanna teaches ballet and contemporary dance classes and choreography workshops in Thessaloniki and London, whilst choreographing her own pieces. She is very results-oriented in her teaching, yet her classes support the physical, intellectual, and social development of the practitioner. She aims for a strong dissemination of each technique whilst promoting artistic and creative instincts. Ioanna covers some of our ballet classes on a regular basis and is part of the Friday Fun General Level Ballet rota which launched in September 2018. She is also currently training to work for our dance charity Move into Wellbeing®. She also has her DBS and PLI current and active.

Founder and Artistic Director of Ballet4life

D

Beatrice Ghezzi

Lead Ballet and Contemporary Teacher and Administrative Assistant

Donna Schoenherr

Founder and Director of Ballet4life

Donna was born in Rochester, NY and recived her extensive comprehensive training under sponsorship with an internationally renowned staff at the prestigious Enid Botsford School. Her formative training continued in New York at the David Howard Dabce Center and the Melissa Hayden School of Dance under full scholarships. After a long and successful career as a professional ballet dancer and a contemporary dancer in Europe and the US, Donna went on to develop an impressive portfolio of work as a guest teacher, choreographer, rehearsal director and private mentor.

Over the last three decades, she ahs been a frequent guest teacher at leading American and Euopean dance schools, festivals and companies. She also taught at the Millenium Performings Arts school for three years in London and at other dace institutions in London. Her choreography has been commissioned and performed internationally and used in films and advertising.

After the birth of her son, she founded what was to become Ballet4life®. Her vision was to createan inspiring organisation that would  pioneer top quality dance aducation for adults on a vocational level. Her first ballet class for adults in London was offered in January 2004 to eager adult learners in a studio at Rambert Dance Company's former location in Chiswick. Fifteen years later, Ballet4life® is a well-established and thriving institution and has taught dance to thousands of Londoners.

Donna also craeted the Dance for Early Stage Dementia Programme with Clarissa Rocha for Arts4Dementia www.arts4dementia.org.uk

Driven by decades of personal research, Donna created and founded Move Into Welleing® in 2014. MIW attained charitable status in 2017, Registered Charity 1172264. She has directed and managed this sinceits inception. Donna is forever gratful to every person who supported her vision and assisted in her endeavours to make this all happen and to all involved in her inspirational organisation. MIW offers unique dance, movement and exercise classes to people living with Parkinson's and other mobility restrictions. This charity is a living legacy to her father Gerard E Schoenherr and brings joy and relief to many. At the Hounslow Business Award 2018  MIW was Commended in the Best Charity category.

She received the honour of being a Highly Commended Entrepreneur of the year in the Hounslow Business Award 2017 and Ballet4life® was nominated for the Inspirational Work in Education One Dance UK award 2018 and 2019. Donna was also nominated in #ODUKA Awards 2019 for the Inspirational Community Dance Practitioner Award. Ballet4life has been shortlisted for the People's Choice Award at the One Dance Uk 2019 Awards. She and her husband have rasided in West London for 24 years and she is a proud mum to their teenage son. Donna is also an accomplished photographer, artist and former model. Her unique art pieces are held in private collections around teh globe.

BEATRICE GHEZZI

Lead Ballet and Contemporary Teacher and Administartive Assistant

Beatrice was born in Milan and began her ballet studies in Italy at the Studio Danza Arabesque and graduated in 2006 as a ballet teacher in the Vaganova method with the Russian Ballet Association. She then carried on with her ballet studies on a more intensive level and gained a Diploma as a teacher in 2011 with AIDA Ballet Teachers Association in collaboration with Teatro alla Scala, Milan. In 2010 she added the study of Contemporary Dance Technique to her specialisations and attended a full-time course at Trinity Laban in London. In 2014 she completed the Postgraduate Course in Advanced Dance Studies at The Place where she also performed for different choreographers. Alongside performance projects, she has been teaching ballet and contemporary dance in Italy and London for eight years and was a Dance Lecturer at Lewisham Southwark College. In 2018 she created with her colleague Orley Quick BOTH, a company which offers adults dance classes in East London. She enjoys working with people from different dance backgrounds and with different skill levels. In addition to dance, Beatrice also studied Heritage Preservation. She has established herself as a demanding, concise, popular, and well-loved teacher and maintains a high level of professionalism needed to lead our Complete Beginner Ballet Courses among our other courses and drop-in classes. Her Saturday morning Intermediate/Advanced Drop-In Ballet class is very popular and full of enthusiastic "Ballet4lifers" from professional dancers to 60+ vocational class-goers. Ballet4life sponsored Beatrice in the past on her studies with David Leventhal and the Dance for PD® course which was held in Leicester, England with "People Dancing." She is the Course Leader for our Registered Charity 1172264 Move into Wellbeing® for people with Parkinson's and other mobility challenges which launched in January 2015. She successfully finished her MA dissertation on this subject in Spring 2016. Beatrice has a full DBS check, PLI, and is a qualified First Aider.

BRIAN BERTSCHER

Ballet Teacher

Brian began ballet classes at the age of seven in Johannesburg, South Africa and at seventeen he joined The Royal Ballet School in London. He went on to study the Cecchetti ballet system to the Advanced exam. Between 1964 to 1979 he was a member of The Royal Ballet and was a soloist with the Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet.

In 1979 – 1980 he took the Professional Teachers Training Course at The Royal Academy London and from 1980 – 2010 was a professor for Classical Ballet at the esteemed Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen, Germany. He choreographed for the school performances during his tenure there.

Whilst living and working in Germany, he taught for the renowned Wuppertal Tanztheater under Pina Bausch and also for Deutsche Oper am Rein, Dusseldorf as well as in Bonn and Dortmund. He has also been a guest teacher with schools and ballet companies in Taiwan, Japan, Venezuela, France, England, South Africa and North America. Brian choreographed for Dance For All in Cape Town, South Africa.

Since 2010 he has been back living in London and teaching and involved in creative projects such as singing and also dancing in The Elder’s Project at Sadler’s Wells.

Brian taught for Ballet4life in 2012 and we are delighted to welcome him back!  We know you will enjoy his lively, passionate, skilled, demanding yet joyful, classes.

 

 

 

Johanna Saarinen

Ballet Teacher

 

Johanna started dancing at the age of three and continued training in her native Finland until 2007 when she moved to London to make her dancing dreams true at London Studio Centre. After graduating in 2010 Jo worked as a freelance dancer and dance teacher in the UK, US and Australia for a number of years until leaping to the other side of performing arts, running the London leg of UK's biggest physical education and performing arts company Premier Education Group. After nearly five years on the business side of the arts and introducing the world to her little dance trooper daughter Luna, Jo is now looking forward to getting back in to hands-on teaching and sharing her passion for dance with students at Ballet4Life. Jo is a classically trained contemporary dancer, highly influenced by US jazz dance heritage with years of experience in teaching students of all ages and levels. Jo considers herself highly privileged for being able to train with some of the greatest names and institutions in the industry, from The Ailey School and David Howard in NYC to Australian Dance Theatre to name a few. Jo holds an up to date enhanced DBS and PLI. 

We are so pleased to welcome Jo to our Ballet4life Team and we know you will enjoy her classes! To start she will lead the Thursday evening Intermediate/Advance Ballet, a Tuesday mid-day Ballet Barre class and our new Friday Night Ballet! She has a full DBS check and PLI.

 

 

 

Pilates Teacher

 

Natalia started her ballet studies at age 3 in Barcelona. She then pursued serious pre-professional dance training dance during her school years. She went on to intensively study ballet and contemporary classes in Madrid, Cannes and in New York City. She spent 2 years in a contemporary company in Madrid following her graduation from university and taught modern dance in various locations around Spain for a further 3 years. Following her move to London in the late 90s, she continued her training by attending classes at Pineapple dance, Dance Works, The Place, GDA, and with Piers Gielgud's Re-Animators Agency at the Wimbledon Theatre. It was here that she met and trained with Donna Schoenherr. She had the privilege to work with many established choreographers and on different diverse dance projects until a serious injury prevented her from further professional dance engagements.
Her interest in Pilates began before the end of her professional career in 2004 and it deepened as a result of the benefits it produced as part of her injury rehabilitation programme, and she decided to pursue a teaching qualification with the Pilates Foundation during 2005. She qualified as a Pilates instructor in 2006. Following her successful qualification, she has been a sought-after instructor and has been invited to teach in gyms and health centres, and for a range of corporate and private clients. In addition to standard matwork instruction, she has gained certifications in pre- and post-natal Pilates and is currently attending machine-work classes. Natalia will offer her exclusive Pilates classes to Ballet4life again soon. We are working on finding the most conducive day/time for everyone! She has her up-to-date PLI.

Natalia is on a break and we hope she can return in September 2019 and deliver her very fine Pilates classes!

NATALIA GARRIDO

CHIHIRO NAKAJIMA

Yoga Teacher

 

Chihiro is a London based Bodyworker, Yoga teacher, and Soft Tissue/Massage/Reiki Therapist, originally from Japan. She came to London for music and stage photography in 2002. She eventually discovered yoga and holistic healing practices. Yoga recalled her roots of eastern traditions of philosophy, as well as body strength, awareness and knowledge gained through her teenage years as an athlete. After a year of daily Yoga practice, she moved to another studio with many different styles of Yoga and connected with Dharma Yoga. Its freedom and philosophy struck her heart and led her to the teacher training with one of the most beloved yoga masters, Sri Dharma Mittra in New York City and became a certified Dharma Yoga Teacher. Dharma Yoga is a graceful yet challenging form of yoga based on a system of classical Hatha-Raja yoga with flow. It is a devotional practice that empathises good health, a clear mind and a kind heart. She has been teaching this and finds great joy in bringing people joy with her hands-on approach, helping to find the connections with their body and mind. She is passionate about spreading the healing power of bodywork and infinite possibilities everyone has within. She started ballet in the late summer of 2017 as a complete beginner of any form of dance and very much fascinated the fact that ballet and yoga complement each other beautifully. She teaches our new and popular exclusive Yoga class on Wednesdays and holds PLI.