Jess Van Loon


Classical Ballet I Private Coaching

Jessica is a qualified ballet teacher of the Cecchetti Method of ballet training.
Jessica holds the Cecchetti Licentiate Diploma qualification which she completed in Nov 2014. 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. 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 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 and she and her husband Mike took over The Robyn Ross School of Ballet in 2009. Ballet students of VLDA in both Manly and St Ives 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.

Jessica has 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. She looks forward to directing and co-leading Van Loon Dance Academy into the future with her husband Mike.

Mike Van Loon


Classical Ballet I Contemporary I Private Coaching

Mike is a qualified teacher of the Cecchetti Method holding his Associate Diploma in the Cecchetti Method.

Mike was trained at the Royal Ballet School of Antwerp, Belgium from the age of 10. After his graduation in 1987 he was engaged as a full time dancer with the Essener Ballet in Essen (Germany), Tanz Theater Wien in Vienna (Austria), Heidelberger Ballet in Heidelberg (Germany) and Introdans in Arnhem (The Netherlands).

In 1996 he became a freelance dancer and worked with Conny Janssen Danst, Galili Dance and Kriztina de Chatel, in the Netherlands. His close collaboration with Conny Janssen would eventually expose his choreographic skills.

During his 14 year dance career Mike was involved in over 50 productions and worked with renowned choreographers such as: Conny Janssen (Conny Janssen Danst…/ The Netherlands), Itzik Galili (Galili Dance/ The Netherlands), Kriztina de Chatel (Dansgroep Amsterdam/ Dance Company Kriztina De Chatel/ The Netherlands), Ted Brandsen & Hans Van Manen (Dutch National Ballet/ The Netherlands), Nils Christie (former Director of the Scapino Ballet/ The Netherlands), Ed Wubbe ( Scapino Ballet/ The Netherlands), Heinz Spoerli (Zurich Ballet/ Switzerland), Ginette Laurin (O Vertigo/ Canada), Renato Zanella (Vienna State Opera Ballet/ Austria), Jean Christoph Maillot (Monte Carlo Ballet/ Monaco).

He also choreographed and danced solo performances for the NCRV (National Dutch Television).
In 2000 he migrated with his young family to Sydney, Australia, where he started a new career in the business world. In 2006 he rekindled his passion for dance and was involved in productions as a dance soloist and choreographer with the School of Creative Arts at Oxford Falls (C3 College) and Pulse8 in Manly, NSW.

In 2009 Mike and his wife Jessica took over the Robyn Ross School of Ballet in St Ives joining it to their existing dance school in Manly. “Van Loon Dance Academy” (Manly/St Ives) has gone from strength to strength with students gaining excellent results in their Cecchetti Ballet exams, Sydney wide eisteddfods (Ballet, Contemporary and Jazz sections), Cecchetti Ballet competitions and Cecchetti Scholarship awards.

Mike taught dance at VLDA from 2009 and then began his formal dance teacher training, doing his “Professional Dancer Cross over” exam into the Cecchetti Ballet teaching ranks in April 2015. He was awarded his Cecchetti Associate Diploma teaching qualification in April 2015.

Mike enjoys teaching both Ballet and Contemporary dance and has a particular rapport with boys learning dance, being able to relate well to their journey and help inspire them. Mike looks forward to Ballet and Contemporary dance teaching and choreographing into the future. He looks forward to directing and co-leading Van Loon Dance Academy into the future with his wife Jessica.

Nicola Prigan

Classical Ballet I Private Coaching

Nicola studied ballet in South Africa from the age of 6. While living in Israel, Nicola completed her B.Mus. (cum lauda) majoring in Dance at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
She taught and performed with the Jerusalem Dance workshop and taught at the Rubin Academy of Music Conservatory in the Dance Department for a number of years.

On her return to South Africa, she qualified as a Cecchetti Ballet Associate (with Honours), and RAD Ballet teacher (with Distinction). Nicola ran her own, highly successful dance studio in South Africa for 18 years. She has been teaching at the Robyn Ross School of Ballet and now the Van Loon Dance Academy since her emigration to Australia 6 years ago.

Nicola’s expertise, experience and love of ballet ensure our ballet students are in good hands.

Jennifer Bels

Jazz I Musical Theatre I Hip Hop

Jennifer has been dancing since the age of 5. She had an excellent training in Hip Hop, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Tap, Contemporary and Ballet. She has completed all CDA jazz levels and FATD tap levels through to Supreme.

Jennifer has been teaching dance across the North Shore and Northern Beaches at dance studios and primary schools for over 10 years. Specialising in Hip Hop, Jennifer also teaches Jazz and Musical Theatre with passion. As a teacher committed to her professional development, she visits the US where she takes dance classes to glean the latest developments in dance from dance professionals there. She passes all this on to her students in her well-structured dance classes. Jennifer creates a safe, hard-working and fun environment for her students to explore their individual style.

As well as her love for dance, Jennifer is a Graphic Designer who loves working mostly in print media.


Classical Ballet I Private Coaching

Samantha has been teaching for 10 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.

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.


Tap I Jazz

Elizabeth trained in dance at Meldrum’s Dancing School in Manly for 10 years in Tap, Jazz, Ballet and Musical Theatre. She went on to specialise in Tap dance and completed her B.A.L Tap exams. Elizabeth opened and ran her own successful dance school in the Blue Mountains for 16 years which saw her teach a range of dance styles including Tap, Jazz, Irish Hip Hop and Zumba.
In 1998 Elizabeth was awarded her Advanced Tap Teaching Diploma (Ballet Australasia Ltd) and in 2005 became an Examiner for B.A.L in Tap dance at all levels from Beginner to Advanced. In 2007 she was appointed as one of the Directors on the Board of B.A.L.
Elizabeth loves to take tap classes at “Tap Dogs” headquarters in Bondi with Dein Perry and Matt Papa. She also takes classes at the Sydney Dance Co. in Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop and Theatre Jazz in order to keep up with current dance trends and to inspire her in her role as a dance teacher.