Teachers

Jess Van Loon

JESSICA VAN LOON:

Classical Ballet I Private Coaching | F.C.B.A-C.I.C.B is a qualified ballet teacher of the Cecchetti Method of Ballet training holding her Fellowship qualification. She holds the Cert IV in Teaching the Cecchetti Method of Ballet Training and the Cert IV in Workplace Training and Assessment.

Jessica commenced her ballet training with Moya Beaver (ex-principal dancer of the Royal Danish Ballet and NSW Cecchetti teacher) at the tender age of 2 and a half. Her formative training continued with Valrene Tweedie OAM (former Cecchetti Patron). Jessica was the Junior Cecchetti Medal runner up in 1980 and the Senior Cecchetti Medal winner in 1982. After one year of full-time ballet training with Miss Tweedie, Jessica successfully auditioned for the Australian Ballet School and graduated in 1986 after their three-year program at that time. She performed in the Australian Ballet School’s Dancers Co (1986) in Swan Lake (Act II) and Pineapple Poll and The Nutcracker in her year’s graduation performance. She performed with the Australian Ballet Co in Giselle and La Sylphide (1986) and Romeo and Juliette (1983). After graduating, Jessica went on to have a 12-year international dance career. Jessica was engaged as a soloist with “Tanz Theater Wien”, Vienna Austria for 2.5 years. She then danced as a soloist with “The Heidelberg Ballet” Germany for 4.5 years. After some freelance dance work, she was engaged with “Introdans” Arnhem, in The Netherlands, as a soloist for 4 years. Jessica has toured to 44 countries dancing in many established and premiere works. Working on Jiri Kylian’s “Dream Dances” (Ballo duet) at the Nederlands Dans Theatre in The Hague, on Ohad Nahrin’s “Anaphase” duet at the Batsheva Co in Tel Aviv, Israel and with Nacho Duato on the Nightingale (solo) in his piece “Uccelli” while at Introdans in Arnhem, The Netherlands, were some professional highlights for Jessica. Jessica has choreographed and performed solo performances for the NCRV (National Dutch Television).

Retiring from professional dancing at age 31 Jessica had 3 children and went on to teach Advanced Ballet at The School of Creative Arts, Oxford Falls, NSW (C3 College), and became the Head of their Dance Faculty, overseeing their VET and university degree students for two years. During her time at C3 College, she completed her degree in Theology from Southern Cross College (2009).

Jessica’s ballet teaching experience is extensive. Not only has she taught company ballet classes for her professional colleagues in the above mentioned European companies and taught ballet in Ballet schools across Europe but she established “Van Loon Dance Academy” in Manly in 2005. Ballet students of VLDA have gained excellent results in their Cecchetti ballet exams to date and placed in many Sydney wide eisteddfods (Ballet, Contemporary and Jazz sections), Cecchetti ballet competitions and Cecchetti Scholarship awards have had some truly great teachers and she considers it a great honour to pass on her knowledge faithful to their legacy. Among her many teachers have been Valrene Tweedie, Dame Peggy van Praagh (former director of the Australian Ballet), Marilyn Jones and Garth Welch (former Australian and international principal dancers), Marilyn Rowe (former director of The Australian Ballet School), Dame Margaret Scott (former director of the Australian Ballet School), Maina Guilgud (former director of both The Royal Danish Ballet and Australian Ballet), Galene Stock (former director of the Australian Ballet School and Royal Ballet School, London), Gary Norman and Kelvin Coe (former Australian and international principal dancers), Leigh Warren (former director of Adelaide Dance Theatre), Eugene Valukin (former director of the Choreographic School, Moscow) and Robyn Ross (Cecchetti teacher/examiner/Cecc Dip holder).

Jessica has worked with some truly great choreographers: Jiri Kylian, Nils Christie, Hans Van Manen, Ohad Naharin, Nacho Duato, Conny Janssen, Daniel Ezralov, Kirsten Debrock, Josette Baiz and Liz King to name some. Jessica wants to pass on to the next generation of dancers the knowledge she has gained from her many teachers and mentors and from her professional dance experience dancing in many wonderful dance works. Jessica loves producing and staging the Van Loon Dance Academy annual productions at Glen Street Theatre in Belrose, NSW and looks forward to many more years of teaching ballet.

Jessica looks forward to directing sand leading Van Loon Dance Academy into the future.

SAMANTHA HIBBURT:

Classical ballet | Private coaching | Contemporary

Samantha has been teaching for 15 years in a variety of dance genres and is a qualified Ballet Teacher of the Cecchetti Method of Ballet Training. She completed her Associate Diploma A.(Dip).C.B.A-C.I.C.B and Certificate IV in Dance Teaching and Management CUA40313 in 2014, she is currently studying to gain her Licentiate in the CECCHETTI Method of Ballet training.

After completing her fulltime performing arts course with High Distinction Samantha went on to perform with “The Wiggles” in both live and televised productions. She was selected for the touring cast of the ‘The Dorothy the Dinosaur Show’ and was a featured dancer on the television series ‘The Kingdom of Paramithi’ and ‘Wiggles Gone Bananas’. Samantha’s other live performance credits include Disneyland Paris, Disneyworld Orlando, Universal Studios and MGM studios as a member of the NSW State Dance Companies.

LAURA ATENCIO:

Classical Ballet I Private CoachingBA Classical Arts | Cecchetti Associate C.B.A | Awarded Solo Seal | A.R.A.D
PDPTC- RAD RTS | PBT

Laura commenced ballet at the age of 4 and joined the Tanya Pearson Classical Coaching Academy full time program at age 14. Laura achieved High distinctions in all her syllabus exams and in 2012 was the only recipient in NSW to be awarded the prestigious Solo Seal award from the Royal Academy of Dance.

During this time, she performed with the Sydney City Youth Ballet dancing various principal and soloist roles, was a finalist in the City of Sydney Ballet scholarship and danced in Tanya Pearson’s 50th Anniversary Gala where, amongst other roles, she performed the Polar Express Pas de deux with Joel Small from the Hamburg Ballet Company.
In 2012 Laura graduated from TPCCA and accepted an offer from the Dutch National Ballet Academy and commenced her training in Amsterdam.

During her time in Europe, Laura had the opportunity to train under Christopher Powney, Jean-Yves Esquerre, Grigory Chicherin, Joanne Zimmerman, Dina Bjorn, Amy Raymond, Giocanda Barbuto and Michael Schumacher to name just a few. This variety of training gave Laura experience in Balanchine, Bournonville, Forsythe, Vaganova methods of ballet. In 2015 Laura graduated with a Bachelor of Classical Ballet and Art from Amsterdam University of Arts.

Laura performed in the Canada National Ballet Assemblée Internationale “Live streaming” in collaboration with choreographer Michael Schumacher and with the Dutch National Ballet Company in Sleeping beauty and Romeo and Juliet. Laura was also offered an apprenticeship with Introdans neoclassical company performing Nils Christie’s Sacre Du Printemps, where she was later offered a contract.

On Laura’s return to Australia, she performed with the Queensland Ballet Company in Strictly Gershwin, choreographed and rehearsed by Derek Deane and in Muscle Memory choreographed by Gareth Belling. In 2018 she performed with La Teatro de La Scala in their production of Don Quixote. Laura currently performs with Opera Australia, touring overseas and dancing soloist roles in Operas such as Lakme, Il Viaggio a Reims, Anna Bolena, Turandot and Atilla.
Laura continues to dedicate herself to passing on her experiences and has completed her Teachers Associate Status Qualification in the Cecchetti method under the mentorship of Robyn Ross and Valerie Jenkins. Laura also holds her Professional Dancers Postgraduate Teaching Certificate from the Royal Academy of Dance and is qualified in the Progressing Ballet Technique program.

PIP MILLS:

Contemporary | Jazz | Musical Theatre | Private coaching

Phillipa grew up in Port Macquarie where she began her dance training, firstly at Francessca Louise Academy of Dance and then Port Macquarie Performing Arts. After high school, Phillipa began her full-time training at Sydney Dance Company Pre-Professional Program, 2014.

She then continued her training at Western Australia Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) completing a Bachelor of Arts in Dance, 2016. While at WAAPA she performed at the Beijing Dance Festival in China and staged her first choreographic work “Synapse” at Dolphin Theatre, Perth.

In her professional career Phillipa was invited to train and perform with Metamorphosis International Dance Residency in Shanghai, China. In 2018, Phillipa performed with Opera Australia in Davide Livermore’s production of Aida and then performed a solo role in Graeme Murphy’s Turandot in 2019 at the Sydney Opera House.

In 2018 she began a Bachelor of Physiotherapy in Sydney.

CATHERINE CVETCO:

Jazz | Tap | Hip Hop | Acrobatics | Musical Theatre

Catherine started dancing at the age of 6 training in a range of styles including ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary, hip hop and acrobatics. She furthered her professional training completing a Certificate IV in Dance along with a Diploma in Dance at Ettingshausens.

Furthering her eight years of teaching experience, she is currently completing a Certificate IV in Dance management and teaching at B.A.L. She has a passion for sharing her knowledge and strives to create a safe and fun environment for her students.


LAURA VAN LOON:

Laura started learning ‘Ballet and Creative Dance’ at Van Loon Dance Academy at the age of 2.5 years old from her mum. Laura was the first student at VLDA!

She continued learning Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz, Hip Hop and Tap at VLDA till the age of 14. Laura did all her Cecchetti Ballet exams and a number of BAL Tap exams gaining Honours in all and winning various scholarships along the way. One major scholarship saw her, aged 14, represent Australia at the Cecchetti International Ballet Competition (CICB), which happens every 3 years. She travelled to Florence, Italy, to compete and won the ‘Junior Contemporary Dancer’ award in addition to various scholarships to European ballet schools.

From that experience, Laura elected to study at The Royal Ballet School in Antwerp, Belgium. After one year in their graduation year, Laura, aged 16, was accepted as a company member of The Nuremberg Ballet Company under the direction of Mr Goyo Montero, who selected her while working with her at the Prix de Lausanne Choreographic Project.

Laura has enjoyed 3 seasons with the Nuremberg Ballet having danced in works by Goyo Montero, Jiri Kylan, Marco Goeke, Edward Klug and Douglas Lee. A highlight was dancing the main role in Goyo Montero’s ‘Sacre’ in Feb 2020.

Laura looks forward to passing on her knowledge at Van Loon Dance Academy and sharing her professional dance experiences with VLDA students.

ELIZABETH PIKE:

Jazz | Tap | Musical Theatre | MBAL Director & Examiner | BAL Tap Teaching Diploma (Adv) | TAE Cert IV in Training & Assessment | Cert IV in Dance Teaching & Management 40313

Elizabeth is a fully qualified dance teacher and has been teaching for 25 years. During this time, she owned a successful dance studio in the Blue Mountains (for 16 years), where she taught a range of styles to students aged 3 years to adults. This studio was well known for its Tap Dancing. Elizabeth attained the Tap Teaching Diploma (Advanced) in 1998, became a Tap Examiner in 2005 and a Director of BAL (Ballet Australasia Ltd) two years later. She commenced teaching at Van Loon Dance Academy in 2012. In 2016 she attained the TAE Cert IV in Training & Assessment and successfully completed the Cert IV in Dance Teaching & Management 40313 in 2019. Elizabeth has a love of dance, fostered by her own training in Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Character from the age of 6. She inspires and motivates her students to do their best and to always be proud of their achievements.