Faculty: Ballet and Contemporary

Ballet and Contemporary Staff

Andrew Wilson A.R.A.D, F.I.S.T.D, Dip PDTC, Cert. Ed.  Head of Ballet and Contemporary Department

Andrew was born in Dublin and trained with Jill Wigham, Bird College and The Royal Ballet School, London ,where he was chosen by Merle Park to represent the school at the 1984 International Ballet Competition, The Prix de Lausanne. He was also awarded the Cyril Beaumont Bursary for making the most improvement in his year. He was also chosen by Wayne Eagling and Ashley Page to dance in pieces created by them for the Royal Ballet School performance. He was a member of Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet, promoted to Coryphee in 1989 and to Soloist of The Birmingham Royal Ballet in 1991.   Read moreAndrew’s principal /soloist roles include leads in Elite Syncopations and Danses Concertantes (MacMillan), Giselle (Peasant Pas De Six) and The Nutcracker (King Rat, Drosselmeyer, Chinese, Spanish, Arabian)(Wright), Card Game (Five of Hearts)(Cranko),Theme and Variations (Demi Soloist)(Balanchine), Jazz Calendar (Tuesdays Child) and Facade (Dago,Foxtrot, Yodelling Boys)(Ashton), Brahms Handel Variations (a lead role) and Hobson’s Choice (Albert Prosser, Bride)(Bintley) as well as other soloist and corps de ballet roles in Swan Lake (Waltz,Spanish), Sleeping Beauty (Cavaliers,Waltz,Wolf), Coppelia (Work Hours) and La Fille Mal gardee. He has also danced in works by Dame Ninette De Valois (Checkmate, Job) Leonide Massine (Choreartium), Hans Van Manen (Five Tangos) ,Agnes  De Mille (Fall River Legend),Kurt Joos (Green Table), Lynn Seymour (Bastet), Geoffrey Cauley (Lazarus) and Oliver Hindle. He has danced for the Dublin Grand Opera Society in Adrianna LeCouvreur (Paris) and featured in the film Shoes directed by the late Peter Finegan, which was entered for the Cannes Film Festival. He has performed on The Royal Variety Show hosted by Gene Kelly (Choreography by Norman Maen) and The Childrens’ Royal Variety Show (Scottish Dances, David Bintley) with Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan. He has been fortunate to travel the world with the company and has been as far afield as New Zealand, Korea, Singapore, India, Bulgaria, Germany, North and South America, China, Poland to name but a few. In 1995 he re-trained as a teacher and gained distinction on The Professional Dancer’s Teaching Course at The Royal Academy of Dance and became Head Of Boys Ballet at Elmhurst under the Artistic Direction of Alfreda Thorogood. He was repetiteur to Geoffrey Cauley and Christopher Hampson and also responsible for the children in Derek Deane’s The Nutcracker for English National Ballet. He staged Bintley’s Scottish Dances from Flowers of the Forest and also the Betrayed Girl from The Rakes Progress (De Valois) and sections from Facade (Ashton). He joined the staff of Bird College in 2000 and teaches classical ballet and is responsible for the teaching of Classical Pas de Deux to all years. He was promoted to Head of Ballet in 2006 and is also production manager for the college at their annual show. He regularly choreographs for the Third Year musicals and productions and to date has choreographed (with Erica Lawrence) Children of Eden, The Life, Bat Boy, Sweet Charity, Kiss Me Kate, and Fame. He guest teaches regularly at Scapino Ballet in Rotterdam and Ballet Ireland in Dublin. He was also invited to teach at The Hungarian Dance Academy in Budapest and took the Artistic Director’s class of boys for a week. He guest teaches for the RAD and ISTD and regularly teaches at the RAD  International Summer School in Japan. He is a registered teacher with both societies and a Vocational examiner for the Imperial Ballet. Recently he has completed the new Advanced 2 Boys syllabus for the ISTD which is being examined internationally.

Luisa Figuerola MSc, Cert.Ed, BA  Assistant Principal (Student Support)

Luisa trained at Escola Superior de Danca in Lisbon graduating with a BA in Choreography in 1993. She continued her studies at Laban where she obtained a Professional Diploma in Dance Studies and was part of Transitions Dance Company in 1996. As a professional dancer, Luisa worked with BI MA Dance Company, The Cholmondeleys, Protein Dance, Theatre En Corps and First Person Dance Company. Luisa also worked with the Cholmondeleys and The Featherstonehaughs in the role of Rehearsal Director for the revival of Anderson’s piece “Flesh and Blood”. Luisa began teaching at Bird College in 1997. She currently holds the positions of Technique Studies Coordinator on the BA and National Diploma programme and Head of Movement on the Foundation Degree programme. Luisa also has an MSc in Dance Science and is a qualified Pilates Matwork Teacher.

Lai-Sheung Chan MA, CERT ED, TCPD (RBS), A.R.A.D., ADV DIP (HKAPA)  Performance & Events Coordinator / Senior Ballet Tutor

Lai-Sheung Chan graduated from The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts where she majored in Dance and received an Advanced Diploma. After graduation she has joined the Hong Kong Ballet Company and has participated in many productions and also appeared in various soloist roles. Lai-Sheung has furthered her studies and gained the specialist Teaching Diploma in the Teachers’ Course for Professional Dancers at the Royal Ballet School in London. She has also obtained her Advanced Certificate in Education which is accredited by the Canterbury Christ Church University College in Kent, England. In 2007, she graduated with an MA in Arts Management from the City University in London. Lai-Sheung has been teaching and coaching classical ballet worldwide and was the Ballet Mistress for the Hong Kong Ballet Group’s Winter Production in 2001. Lai-Sheung has been working at Bird College in London since 1997. Currently, she is Performance & Events Coordinator / Senior Ballet Tutor. Besides her responsibilities in teaching and management, she also conducts rehearsals for college public productions.

Joana Simas MA
 FDA, National Diploma, BA (Hons)  Academic and Assessment Manager

Joana is Portuguese and trained at the Ginasiano Dance School in Porto, Portugal. After spending a year in Brazil working with Corpo Dance Company, she came to London to complete her training at Laban. She has performed with Edwards & Watton in the award winning “House of Delights”, Amanda Gough Dance Company, Akram Khan, Double Vision Dance Company and Theatre Encorps. In 2001 she worked with Siobhan Davies Dance Company in the recreation and performance of “Bank 2001”. She is a founder member of Melanie Clarke’s Blue White Dance Company and continues to perform regularly with them. Joana also has a Masters Degree from Laban in Education Dance Documentation and Aesthetics. She currently teaches Release based dance technique at Bird College as well as Dance Analysis and Dance Appreciation and Criticism.

Fortu Angelini Cert HE, MA  Contemporary Tutor

After studying ballet in Italy at the Centro Regionale della Danza Lyceum directed by Mara Fusco, Fortu completed two Certificates of Higher Education at London Contemporary Dance School securing a scholarship from the Robin Howard Foundation. Fortu also holds a Master of Arts in Choreography from Trinity Laban and the City University of London. He has extensively performed in Italy for Balletto di Napoli, Movimento Danza, Balletto di Spoleto, Fondazione Niccolò Piccinni and Teatri 90, besides with Just Feel It (Japan), Euregio Tanz Forum (Holland), Opera Royal de Wallonie (Liege), Rowhead Dance Company e Nutshell Dance Company (London). Recently Fortu worked at Royal Opera House Covent Garden, Secret Cinema and as extras with the Tanztheatre Wuppertal Pina Bausch London.   Read moreFortu has more than a decade of experience in teaching Contemporary Dance, Contact Improvisation and Choreography at all levels. He is also a visiting lecturer and assayer in Italy and at The Place in England. Fortu has choreographed works for the stage as well as for television and has directed several professional training, summer courses, events and workshops in Europe and worldwide. In 2011 Fortu organised a university exchange with the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts and the London Contemporary Dance School, together with “L’Orientale” University of Naples and The University of Florence, creating and managing performances and conferences to promote dance as a curriculum subject at university degree level in Italy.

Tomoko Furuya Hristov P.D.T.D (RAD), L.I.S.T.D  Ballet Tutor

Born in Japan, Tomoko started ballet at the age of 7 and studied at Suzuki Classic Ballet Academy. She won the Espoir prize at Prix de Lausanne in 1991, and received a scholarship to Hamburg Ballet School and later to the Royal Ballet School. Joining the Royal Ballet in 1993 Tomoko had a successful 10 years career with the company. Having qualified with the Professional Dancers Teaching Diploma with distinction from the Royal Academy of Dance and the ISTD Imperial Ballet with distinction, she is currently teaching in London and regularly teaches at the RAD summer schools worldwide. She has recently taught the classes for Phyllis Bedells Bursary 2012 and she was the judge of the London and Middlesex Awards day at the Royal Academy of Dance Headquarters. She has taught at K-Ballet School in Tokyo and many other schools and seminars.

Nikki O’Hara A.I.S.T.D. PGCE, BA (Hons)  Jazz Tutor and Choreographer

Nikki graduated from Bird College with a first class degree in Dance and Theatre Performance. She has since worked with Motionhouse Dance Theatre, devising and touring the shows of Fearless, Volatile and Perfect, and also under the direction of Helen Parlour with Footwerk Productions. Nikki has also worked with Wired Aerial Theatre touring Handmade/Manmade, using bungee assisted dance, and alongside various other corporate events opened The O2 Centre in Greenwich. She has performed in several site specific performances, the most recent at Goodrich Castle, commissioned by English Heritage.   Read moreNikki has also been funded by The Arts Council to produce some of her own work, collaborating with Vanessa Cook under company name All Play, and has enjoyed successful tours of the UK and Europe with Its Rude to Point, and PUSH. Nikki has most recently performed internationally with aerial dance company Gravity and Levity during 2010/2011. Nikki holds a PGCE qualification in further education and has a varied teaching career in secondary and further/ higher education vocational establishments, including Bird College and Performers College, teaching contemporary, jazz and contact improvisation, whilst also freelancing around Europe in both choreographic and teaching contexts. Nikki is part of the central teaching team for the ISTD where she has devised the boys work for the new Advanced 1 and 2 Modern syllabi.

Ben Tribe FISTD Examiner, PGCE, DDP, ARAD  Ballet Tutor

Ben trained at Doreen Bird College of performing Arts under the direction of Doreen Bird. On graduating Ben began working with guest choreographers such as William Kemp, Chris Hampson & Wayne Sleep during World of Classical Ballet, performing various repertoires from Giselle, Sleeping Beauty and Flower Fair. Ben moved to Germany to dance with Theatre Der Stadt, Koblenz dancing in Swan Lake. On returning to the UK Ben danced in a Gala Performance celebrating Wayne Sleeps 50th birthday at Her Majesty’s Theatre London, dancing with guest artists Michael Nunn, Irek Mukhamedov, Agnes Oakes and Thomas Edur. Since graduating Ben has worked in varied areas of Theatre.    Read more Most recently Ben has been Choreographer and assistant director on Charlotte’s Web (Derby Playhouse) and as a dancer on the feature film ‘Muppets Most Wanted’ (Pinewood Studios) Choreographic credits include numerous productions of Cinderella and Peter Pan, Ruthless (Stratford circus) Dial M For Martini (Warehouse Croydon) Children of Eden (Manchester) Once On This Island (Finsbury Town Hall) His theatre credits include Swing/Dance Captain, The Producers (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane) Ha’Penny Bridge (Dublin) Beautiful And Damned (Lyric, Shaftsbury Avenue) Swing and 2nd cover Munkustrap, Cats U.K. Tour, Ted Vanderpool in Babes In Arms (Cardiff New Theatre, for the international music festival. My One And Only (Chichester Festival Theatre and Piccadilly Theatre, London) Dance Captain Magic of The Musicals (U.K. Tour) Dance Captain Jane McDonald Summer Spectacular (B.I.C. Bournemouth) Principal Dancer Lido La Tournee (European Tour). Ben has also performed in numerous Pantomime Seasons including five seasons as Dance Captain on Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs, starring Lilly Savage. Television credits include; The Generation Game (supporting Bonnie Langford) The Brit Awards 1999 (for Robbie Williams) The Man Who Knew Too Little, starring Bill Murray (film) La Passione starring Shirley Bassey (film) Wayne Sleep’s 50th Birthday Celebration (Channel 4) and The Late, Late Show (Dublin) Ben is a freelance teacher and teaches at Bird College and London Studio Centre, as well as internationally, teaching Classical ballet, Pas De Deux and Jazz and is an examiner for the I.S.T.D Imperial Ballet Branch. Ben has had the pleasure of adjudicating and teaching at the Imperial Classical Ballet Awards and adjudicating the Janet Cram Awards.

Anna Morgan   Ballet Tutor

Anna trained at the Deborah Capon College, and was also heavily influenced by her time training and working in America.  She worked with Terpsichore Entertainment in New York for a number of years on various projects in theatre and television, later becoming their UK talent representative. Anna went on to train as a teacher, running her own school, the Hasland Dance Studios, for 6 years, achieving her Licentiate and Fellowship qualifications with the ISTD, becoming an approved tutor for all units of the DDI and DDE teaching qualifications, and becoming a mutually recognised teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance. Anna spent a number of years on the Ballet faculty at Performers College and is now a Ballet tutor at Bird College. In addition, she choreographs productions and teaches Ballet and Contemporary workshops worldwide, as well as running her own teacher training courses.​

Linden C Currey MA. Dance Studies. Royal Ballet TCPD   Ballet Tutor

Linden’s early training was at The Arts Educational School now known as Tring Park School for the Performing Arts. At 16 she won a John Cranko scholarship to the Stuttgart Ballet School in Germany.   Linden later danced with the Opera Ballet de Monte Carlo for two years and studied with Marika Besobrasova before returning to the UK to joining Northern Ballet Theatre for a year before joining Scottish Ballet. She spent the following six years with Scottish Ballet dancing in the broad spectrum of the company repertoire and was promoted to Soloist whilst also performing Principal Character Roles.    Read more After leaving Scottish Ballet Linden trained as a teacher on The Royal Ballet’s Teachers course for Professional Dancers which also included Royal Academy of Dance qualifications and Imperial Society (CB). She added to her studies with extended study visits to major Ballet schools in both Germany and Russia. Whilst teaching in Professional Schools Linden completed an MA in Dance Studies at the University of Surrey. Her long teaching profile as full faculty member includes The Royal Ballet School White Lodge, Central School of Ballet and English National Ballet School. With her enduring appreciation of Musical Theatre and a broad early training at the Arts Educational School Linden has also enjoyed extended periods of contribution and teaching at Bird College and London Studio Centre. She also worked as Ballet Mistress for Wayne Sleep’s small scale tours and Gala events. In 2010 Linden returned to Scotland as full time Lecturer on the newly formed BA Modern Ballet Professional Dance Course which has been devised through the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Partnership with Scottish Ballet Company. Linden has been closely involved with the developments of the Trinity National Diploma in Professional Dance and Musical Theatre since its inception 1999. She has been a Senior Assessor since 2006 and continues to support course work practices as a consultant.

Jacqueline Denny PDTD (RAD)  Ballet Tutor

Jacqueline was born in Canada and trained at the Rock School for Dance Education, Pennsylvania, on a full scholarship. She then went on to dance with the Pennsylvania Ballet performing in numerous productions.  She has also worked with Alberta Ballet (Nutcracker), National Ballet Company of Canada (Sleeping Beauty), Danny Grossman Dance Company, Opera Atelier, Coiscéim Dance Theatre, Spirit of the Dance, Crystal Cruises and Thursford Christmas Spectacular.  She furthered her studies at Ryerson University, Toronto (Diploma in Theatre – Dance) and at the Royal Academy of Dance, London (Professional Dancer’s Teaching Diploma).  She has since taught as a ballet tutor at the Royal Academy of Dance, Laban, Lewisham College, DanceEast and Bird College.