The state of being strong and active; energy.

The Full Day Program will be announced soon, but here is your line-up of inspiring and powerful speakers. Keep tabs on this page, as more speakers and special guests are announced in the coming weeks....these are just the first four! 

VDF

TEACHER
DAY

Vitality
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*Speakers subject to change.

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DR. SUE MAYES

Dr Sue Mayes is the Director of Artistic Health at The Australian Ballet. Sue has been the Principal Physiotherapist of The Australian Ballet since 1997 and is an Adjunct Research Fellow at La Trobe University. She has published papers from her PhD, titled: ‘Hip joint health in professional ballet dancers’, and co-authored ballet injury related publications.

 

In collaboration with Prof Jill Cook, Sue is leading a research program that is investigating joint health and wellbeing in ballet dancers as part of the research partnership between The Australian Ballet and La Trobe University.

 

Sue has presented at conferences around the world, including the International Association of Dance Medicine and Science Conferences and the IOC World Conference on Prevention of Injury and Illness in Sport in Monaco 2017, and lectures regularly throughout Australia. She provided physiotherapy for Sylvie Guillem's tours throughout Japan with Tokyo Ballet (2000-2015), and for the ‘New Universe of Manuel Legris’ program in Tokyo (2010). Sue was nominated for an Australian Dance Award in the category ‘Services to Dance’ in 2017 and 2018. She received a La Trobe University Distinguished Alumni Award in 2018.

 

Sue was recently interviewed by Dance Informa, discussing “why the Australian ballet dancers quit stretching”. The controversial article evoked many questions about traditional stretching and teaching methods. Read it here and think about what you can ask Sue at Vitality Teacher Day:

Dancemagazine.com.au/2019/09/why-the-australian-ballet-dancers-quit-stretching/

sophie holloway

Sharp Jazz lines, timeless technique and super-snappy style – Sophie Holloway’s sophistication and elegance has elevated her as a highly respected and sought-after dancer, teacher and choreographer on the world stage. Sophie will not only be speaking on how to teach jazz technique to create employable dancers, but she’ll also be giving a killer jazz class, exclusively for dance teachers! Get ready guys!

 

Sophie Holloway trained under the legendary Bernadette Langshaw-Clark in Sydney before continuing her performance education majoring in Dance and Drama at Newtown High School of the Performing Arts. Sophie hit the Australian scene at just 16 as a commercial dancer and model, featuring in TV shows and commercials before landing a role in Baz Lurhmann’s film The Great Gatsby. 

 

Chasing her ultimate dream, Sophie made her way to New York City in 2014 to join internationally renowned precision dance company “The Radio City Rockettes”. Her 7 years with the company has included over 600 performances as well as The Tony Awards, Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, The Today Show and more. Back home in Australia Sophie’s credits include, Katy Perry, Cher, Opera Australia, Dance Academy, The Wiggles, Bonnie Lythgoe Productions, The Voice, Australia’s Got Talent, The Masked Singer, The Dream Dance Company and various TVC’s, as well as Associate Choreographer for Dancing with the Stars and more.

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WILL CENTURION

Will Centurion is an in-demand, mental health practitioner who focuses on working with performing arts youth. Will is passionate about providing young creative minds the resources to help facilitate self-confidence and empowerment.⁠ ⁠ Having worked for over 20 years as a music theatre performer, Will has an industry informed approach to helping creative youth manage performance anxiety, self doubt and limiting beliefs.⁠

 

His international and Australian credits as a performer included So You Think You Can Dance 2010 (Top 20), West⁠ Side Story, A Chorus Line, The King and I, The Lion King,⁠ Aladdin and In The Heights.⁠ ⁠ Since 2018 he has expand Will Centurion: Counselling and Life-Coaching Pty Ltd into a mental health service that assists performing arts communities across Australia, delivering workshops at The Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School, Swinburne University and Monash University. Will has also been engaged as a speaker at the Child and Adolescent Youth Mental Health Conference 2021, The Big Anxiety Festival in partnership with The University of New South Wales and The Drama Victoria Conference.⁠ ⁠

 

Will will share his "The Teacher's Mental Health Tool Kit", a professional development program design to help educators understand and respond to issues such a student anxiety and emotional challenges, whilst addressing their own self-care needs. ⁠

ZAC JONES

Zac Jones, founder of Heal Yourself + Move, is a graduate of The Australian Ballet School, and a former soloist with Queensland Ballet and Expressions Dance Company. He has served as a coach at the Australian Ballet School for 5 years and in 2018, completed his Masters of Fine Arts in Choreography at Victorian College of the Arts. As a renowned body-mindfulness and somatic teacher and practitioner, Zac has studied Continuum, Ideokinetics, Skinner Releasing, Body-Mind Centering, Contact Improvisation, and is a 2nd degree black belt in Yoshinkan Aikido. 
 

A former Pas de Deux Strength and Conditioning coach and Contemporary Ballet teacher at the Victorian College of the Arts, he began to apply these methods to elite dance students, consistently achieving outstanding improvements. As a result of these successes, Heal Yourself + Move was conceived. Drawing on his varied experiences, Zac’s teaching style focusses on relaxation whilst integrating the body’s neuro-muscular, musculoskeletal and fascial systems in every action. This has gone on to help countless individuals overcome injury, increase range of motion and develop strength without strain.

 

Since 2020 Zac has has also developed training courses for teachers to enable them to rapidly yet safely improve student alignment, flexibility, strength, physical skill and perhaps most importantly, their sheer enjoyment of movement – all while gaining the body awareness to stay safe and healthy in daily life and training.

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LINDA GAMBLIN

As Sydney Dance Company’s Head of Training, Linda pioneered the Pre-Professional Year program and her exceptional approach to dance training is applied to every aspect of Advanced Training at SDC. Studying and teaching Pilates has contributed to her unique approach to the muscular and skeletal systems and biomechanics. Her extensive professional development in mindfulness, mental health and psychology are integral to her ongoing work with young people. Linda trained with The Royal Ballet School and performed principal roles with Australian Ballet, Royal Ballet, National Ballet of Portugal & Sydney Dance Company.

 

samantha dashwood

As Learning Manager at Sydney Dance Company, Samantha has launched the Company's Youth Ensemble, facilitates the National Tour Workshops and development of digital education resources, supports the delivery of accredited training and has been instrumental in the rollout of SDC’s digital virtual engagement. Sam has a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance) from QUT with a background in classical ballet and contemporary, is a qualified Pilates instructor and Progressing Ballet Technique teacher.
 

Linda and Sam will discuss effective and efficient dance technique, mindful coaching, cues, imagery and visualisation.

Omer Backley-Astrachan
Omer Backley-Astrachan is an Israeli choreographer, dancer and educator who has worked extensively with an array of companies; Kamea Dance Company, Kibbutz Contemporary Dance Company, Idan Cohen Dance Company, Jerusalem Dance Theatre and Jerusalem Ballet. His choreographic works have toured nationally and internationally. As Sydney Dance Company’s Advanced Training Coordinator, he specialises in facilitating improvisation and research-based workshops to pre-professionals, professionals and teachers. His techniques encourage movers to establish a deeper and freer approach to dance.
 

Omer's movement class will explore improvisation and how and why it's important to incorporate it into classes, including techniques to help students explore improvisation and choreography.

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SECRETS TO STUDIO SUCCESS PANEL

 

Ask your burning questions, learn new secrets to success and join the discussion with these phenomenal industry leaders:
 

Karen Malek

Director of Education – Transit Dance

President - Australian Teachers of Dance – 2007-17


Tim Blaikie

Managing Director – Show Works Creative Solutions

 

Jen Dalton

Dance Teacher Coach, Author, Speaker – Dance Teacher Central

Founder - Jigsaw Dance Studio

 

Kelly Aykers

Choreographer, Producer

Company A “Broadway&Beyond”, Parklife Productions

Director - Kelly Aykers Fulltime and Casual Dance


Stacey Morgan

Principal – Port Macquarie Performing Arts & Danae Cantwell School of Dance

Podcast Host & Producer – Morgan Media, Business Coach

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JACKIE SCOTT

With three decades of empowering young people through education, the arts and business, Jackie Scott has dedicated her life to helping young people fulfil their potential. Jackie is a qualified teacher, choreographer, professional performer, entrepreneur and philanthropist. Jackie is incredibly dedicated to the performing arts industry and the training of young people within it. She continues to mentor and support professional artists throughout their careers.

Jackie is founder of Keep Kids Safe In Dance - a groundbreaking organisation that promotes safety in the dance industry through education, inspiration, research and guidance - and Royal Assembly, an organisation that builds confidence, kindness and self-worth in boys and girls through practical
workshops, school programs and mentoring. Jackie also founded the successful Holloway Dance Company in London.

Over the years, many of Jackie’s students and mentees have gone on to perform on stages around the world including on the West End, for The Australian Ballet Company and at major live events, musical theatre productions and television shows. Jackie’s live event Show Stoppers united the stars of Australian musical theatre, attracting a perfect 5-star review from Theatre People, while her fundraiser Sing for Australia raised thousands of dollars for the Bushfire Relief Fund.

Jackie holds multiple diplomas in education, arts (Honours), dance and music, was awarded the Vice Chancellor's Award from Deakin University, and was nominated for Australian of the Year in 2015 for her work in education.
As founder and director of RISE Jackie and her team are delivering world class programs to young people aged 8-25 improving the mental health of participants, providing access to exceptional mentors and
international choreographers and influencing a culture shift in the way dance education is delivered.

 

As a sought after presenter, Jackie speaks from the heart and hands-on experience on topics covering mental health, self-esteem, bullying, inclusion, resilience and wellbeing with a deep insight into the performing arts. Jackie is a mindset coach focusing on improving the self esteem and confidence of
young people in the Arts.

DR KATRINA RANK

Dr Katrina Rank is a leading Australian educator and dance artist, contributing to national and international movement education outcomes. A ballet and contemporary dancer by training, Katrina maintains a performance and teaching practice and received an Australian Dance Award for Services to Dance Education in 2018.
 

Katrina has worked in various roles for Ausdance since 2008 including acting Director, Education Manager and consultant. She is currently Director of Education and Lifelong Learning. Katrina was the author and project leader of Teaching and Leading Dance to Older People, a research program and report which has been distributed widely. Her extensive background in education and community arts also saw her work on the Knowing You Knowing me Project with the City of Whittlesea in 2017–2018 and the hugely successful Alice Project. The Alice Project was a community dance initiative that reached across four regional Victorian municipalities and more than 15,000 participants over two years, as part of the VicHealth MOTION program. 
 

Her recent dance focus has been on dance for health, with particular reference to ageing and Parkinson’s disease. In 2013, Katrina initiated Fine Lines, intergenerational dance and projects. Fine Lines began with contemporary dance classes for experienced mature dancers.

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FUTURE PROOF DANCERS PANEL


How can we equip our dancers for future success?⁠

 

Todd Patrick has worked all over the world as a dancer, choreographer and creative director. He is the founder of Patrick School of the Arts. Todd began his career with Walt Disney Studios before dancing across Europe and Asia with the Lido (Paris), Royal Palace Strasbourg, W hotel South Korea and Jupiter's Casino. Todd has worked with Crown Melbourne, Star City, Vanessa Amorosi, Ricki-Lee Coulter, Zoe Badwi, Kate Cebreano, Dannii Minogue, MAC Cosmetics, Christian Dior, Versace & more.⁠ ⁠

Jaci Testro is owner & director of Connect Entertainment. Her dance career led to opportunities to choreograph for Australia’s biggest music acts, along with televised events and mainstage shows like Countdown, Hey Hey It’s Saturday, The Good Friday Appeal and shows at The Mirage, Las Vegas. Connect is a renowned talent and casting agency. Jaci works on casting for clients like Universal Studios, Disney, Royal Caribbean Cruises, Foxtel, Village Cinemas, Mushroom Records, Frontier Touring, McDonalds & more.⁠ ⁠ 

 

Sophie Holloway hit the industry at 16, featuring in TV and commercials before starring in The Great Gatsby. In 2014 Sophie joined the Radio City Rockettes in New York. Her 7 years with the company has included over 600 performances, The Tony Awards and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Sophie’s credits include, Katy Perry, Cher, Opera Australia, Dance Academy, The Wiggles, Bonnie Lythgoe Productions, The Voice, Australia’s Got Talent, Dancing with the Stars & more.⁠

 

Paul Malek, director of Transit Dance is a highly regarded director, choreographer and educator. Trained in ballet and contemporary at Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School, his performing career saw him tour the world as dancer, dance captain, rehearsal director and company manager. TV credits include Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance. Paul has been the choreographic brains of over 100 corporate events, award ceremonies, commercials, & music videos.⁠