Faculty: Jazz and Tap

Jazz and Tap Staff

Sue Brice FISTD, Cert. Ed.  Head of Jazz and Tap Department and Choreographer

Sue trained at Laine Theatre Arts and in her early career taught and performed around Europe and Canada. Choreography has always been a strong passion for Sue and she loves to explore the relationship between the musical phrase and body movement. Sue received Distinctions in all her teaching examinations and was made a Modern and Tap Examiner for the Imperial Society in 2000 and a Major Vocational examiner shortly afterwards. She has held full time posts at other leading dance colleges and has freelanced in other leading establishments.   Read moreSue began working at Bird College in 1999 and has remained at the College ever since, believing in its ethics energy and commitment to outstanding training in dance and musical theatre. Sue became head of the Jazz Department in 2005. Sue is a freelance tutor for the Imperial Society, often lecturing on Syllabus but more prominently on uses of free work within the syllabus framework and free Jazz technique for all Vocational and Pre-vocational Levels. Sue has joined the creative team for the new Advanced 1 and Advanced 2 modern syllabus and is part of the teaching team travelling around the country and the rest of Europe. Sue completed her Certificate of Education in 2003 and is currently training to become a qualified registered Nutritionalist.

Nick French FISTD, Cert. Ed.  Head of Musical Theatre Department 

Nick trained at Laine Theatre Arts, whilst in training he completed a contract performing cabaret in Algiers. After completing three years training he joined the London company of ‘West Side Story’ and continued the run at the Opera House in Manchester as Jet Swing and understudy to ‘Krupke’ and ‘Glad Hand.’ West End credits include ‘42nd Street’ Theatre Royal Drury Lane, ‘Me & My Girl’ Adelphi Theatre, ‘Thin a Thon’ Piccadilly Theatre, ‘Cavalcade of Coward’ Piccadilly Theatre, ‘Mack & Mabel In Concert’ Theatre Royal Drury Lane, ‘La Cage aux Folles In Concert’ London Palladium as well as performing in two Royal Variety performance as the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. Nick has also performed in numerous Pantomimes throughout the country.   Read moreAs a teacher, Nick has worked at several of the leading vocational colleges as a Tap tutor and is now Head of Tap Dance at Bird College in addition to being a member of the Musical Theatre department and co-ordinator for the ISTD Vocational and DDI Examinations. Nick has also choreographed musicals such as ‘42nd Street’, ‘Crazy for You’ and ‘Hello Dolly’ for the 3rd Year Bird College Students as well as musical numbers for the College annual showcase. Nick also lectures and examines both in the UK and internationally for the ISTD Tap Faculty as well as examines for the Modern Theatre Faculty. He is fortunate to have been included on the creative team responsible for choreographing the new Tap grades. Nick is a Committee member for the Tap Faculty in addition to the ‘Theatre Faculty Committee’ for the ISTD.

Belinda Basu L.I.S.T.D, Dip, Cert. Ed.  Jazz Tutor and Choreographer

On graduating from Laine Theatre Arts Belinda began and developed her teaching career (as well as her bilingual skills!) in Bremerhaven, Germany. She further established her professional work performing and choreographing for German Theatres and Freelance Theatre Companies - Musical Theatre credits including: ‘West Side Story’, ‘Kiss me Kate’, ‘The Rocky Horror Show’, ‘Victor Victoria’, ‘Dracula – The Musical’, ‘Fire of Dance’, ‘Weber Gala Show’. She returned to England, and to Laine Theatre Arts, as a member of the Dance Teaching Faculty in 2002. She gained ISTD Licentiate in Modern and Tap and completed her Certificate of Education with Greenwich University.    Read moreBelinda has since worked for other Performing Arts establishments: including New English Contemporary Ballet, New College Nottingham and Performers College. In 2011 she was invited to be a member of the ISTD Teaching Team for the New Advanced 1 Modern Syllabus and after many years of teaching the ISTD Modern and Tap work is finally working towards her Fellowship Status! Belinda joined the Jazz Faculty at Bird College in 2010 enjoying being an integral part of the Jazz Technique Team as well as creating and choreographing for College Productions.  

Stephanie Clark BA (Hons), DipMT  Jazz Tutor

Stephanie graduated from Bird College in 2008. Theatre credits include: ‘Tales of the Woo’ at The Guildhall Worcester, ’An Evening hosted by Her Majesty The Queen to celebrate the Young and Talented’ at Buckingham Palace, ‘Crazy For You’ at the London Palladium, ‘Dangerous Fields’ at Stratford Circus. Stephanie is also a soloist and company member for two project based companies, De:Fault Theatre/Sabrina Productions and EIC Dance Theatre. Stephanie is the founding member and Artistic Director of ‘Whisky & The Roseates’, appearing in various cabaret venues internationally.

Ryan Campbell Birch BA (Hons)  Tap Tutor

Ryan Campbell-Birch is a professional tap dance performer, teacher, and choreographer based in London, UK. His passion for tap developed at a young age, beginning under his mother’s tutelage in his hometown of Bristol, and has since taken him around the world from Stockholm to Sydney, London to LA, and New York to New Zealand. Ryan graduated from Doreen Bird College of Dance and Theatre Performance with a 1st Class BA Hons in 2010, and just six weeks later returned as a faculty member to tutor students on the pre- professional diploma and degree programs. Since then, he has taught for many of the UK’s leading colleges, including Italia Conti, the Urdang Academy, Morea Performing Arts, Masters Performing Arts and Guildford School of Acting. Globally, he has taught pre-professionals at Brent Street in Sydney and the Australian Institute of Music, as well as workshops in Canberra, Perth, Tauranga (NZ), Auckland, and the National Ballet School in Dubai.   Read more Ryan has performed at Stockholm and Brighton Tap Festivals, and taught at the Australian Tap Dance Festival (2016) and Tap Dance Festival UK (2017). He is also a workshop faculty member for the UK’s leading youth company, Tap Attack, and his choreography has won bronze and silver medals at the IDO World Championships with the team. Believing that good teaching stems from continuous learning, Ryan has travelled the globe in order to study under some of the world’s current masters. As a performer, Ryan has toured extensively with the sell-out show Tap Factory (EU, US, UK, UAE) and was the first British cast member in 2014. He was a founding member of Avalon Rathgeb’s company, Old Kent Road, and has performed in the Arts Council-funded and critically acclaimed show Fall Out in venues around the UK and the Edinburgh Fringe. Ryan co-choreographed the company’s second show, Dirty. Tap. Funk! which was commissioned by Theatre Bench for the InMotion Festival at the Bunker Theatre, London in 2017, and he was also part of Old Kent Road’s collaboration with Josh Hilberman to create video documentation of his honoured piece of choreography ‘Capella Josh’. Ryan is currently touring with Fall Out and is rehearsal director for the company. In addition, he  is part of the organisational team at London Tap Jam, which runs every second month in Hoxton, East London. The team also frequently hosts guest tap dancers from around the world for masterclasses and performances. Ryan is the Creative Director of Tap Dance UK — an online hub for Britain’s tap dance community providing information on classes, performances and resources for teachers, students and enthusiasts. Ryan’s first web series can be found for free on YouTube, with further resources available through Tap Dance UK (links below). Additional clients and credits include: The Australian Football League, Canon, Northern Tap Company, UK Music Video Awards, YouKu, Audi, Mercedes, The Chinese Film Festival London, The Empire Casino London, Mumford and Sons, The IDTA, The ISTD, The Tap Rhythm Project and Move It. ryancbirch.com Twitter: @ryancbirch Instagram: ryancbirch Facebook: Ryan Campbell-Birch Tap Dancer

Hannah Willcocks FISTD  Tap Tutor.

Hannah began her training at the Tivoli school in Kent and then went on to gain her professional ISTD teaching qualifications at Deborah Capon College, Whitstable, Kent. She then furthered her studies at the Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway and Ripley Grier Studios, New York City. Hannah currently holds the position of Head of Tap Faculty at the Hasland Dance Studios.Hannah’s choreography experience includes: "Mack and Mabel", "Fiddler on the Roof", "Oklahoma", "Me and My Girl", "Scrooge", "42nd Street", "Brigadoon", for the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury. Hannah has won many prestigious awards for her choreography, both in regional and national competitions.

Avalon Rathgeb Diploma in Musical Theatre  Tap Tutor

Born in Devon, Avalon trained at her mothers dancing school until the age of 18 when she was awarded a full time scholarship to the train at the renowned vocational dance school- Bird College. She graduated in 2009 where she knew that tap dance was her passion and made the decision to solely focus on that genre. Since graduating in 2009 she has completed 2 internships for the American Tap Dance Foundation in NYC, was a company member of Grant Swifts TeAyPe in Melbourne, Australia and has danced in many leading Tap dance companies in the UK.   Read moreAvalon was invited to accept one of the 25 places reserved for outstanding dancers in the 2014 Tap programme at the school at Jacob’s Pillow in Massachusetts, USA. Her career highlights include performing in the opening ceremony of the London 2012 OLYMPICS as a tap dancing dementor, being asked to join Tapestry Dance Company, North America’s only full time and paid Tap dance company and recently creating her own company 'Old Kent Road', which premiered their first work 'Fall out' for Resolution! 2015 at 'The Place', London Avalon regularly teaches for international tap festivals and workshops including the Stockholm tap festival, Prague City Tap festival, Australian Tap festival, Escola Luthier Dansa and MadTap- Madrid, Tanzhaus- Dusseldorf, Tip-Tap- Poland, Zig-Zag Studios in Prague, and Dubrovnik Tap Festival- Croatia. Here in London Avalon teaches at Bird College, Pineapple Dance Studios and South London Dance Studios. Avalon has just closed the 2015 European games with Tap dance in Baku, Azerbaijan Avalon’s next adventures take her to workshop and perform for Tip-Tap-Poland, Prague City Tap festival, Dubrovnik Tap Festival, Brighton Tap Festival.

David Leighton DipMT  Jazz Tutor and Choreographer

David started dancing at the age of 5 and hasn’t stopped since! As a child he was lucky enough to work on commercials, fashion shows, photo shoots and of course the competitive dance festival circuit. Since leaving college he loves that his job has taken him worldwide, dancing on all aspects of the industry. Now David Leighton has established himself as one of London’s leading Creative Directors and Choreographers.   Read moreDavid’s TV work include: Marcus Collins Dancing On Ice, Olly Murs Brit Awards, Olly Murs feat The Muppets and Kelly Clarkson XFactor, Britain’s Got Talent Series, Mylene Farmer NRJ Awards Cannes, Plan B Brit Awards, Olly Murs and Diana Vickers Xfactor. David’s Commercials include: Vodafone-Rome 2012, Alain Afflelou-Worldwide 2012/2013, Camparisoda-Italy 2012, Heineken ‘Human Equalizer’-Worldwide 2011-2012, Nokia N8 ‘Pink’-Viral 2011, TMobile ‘Royal Wedding Dance’-Viral 2011, Nike Training Club-Iphone App 2011, Sing with Vanilla-Playstation Singstar, Faryl Smith ‘Wonderland’-Album, Ford Fiesta ‘Zeitgeist’-Worldwide & Sunsilk ‘Dancing’-South America. David’s Videos include: HotChip, Lorie, Nero, Eliza Doolittle, Mylene Farmer, Taio Cruz & Kylie Minogue, Ellie Goulding, Diana Vickers, Marina and The Diamonds, Tinie Tempah, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Alex Gaudino, FrankMusik, Freemasons feat. Sophie Ellis Bextor, Kaiser Chiefs, Scouting For Girls, Sam Sparro, Sonny J, Freemasons, Annie, Booty Luv. David’s stage and theatre credits include: Men In Black 3 Premier-Leicester Sq London 2012, Aladdin Cliff’s Pavillion-Southend Essex, A Beggar’s Opera for YMT South Hill Park Arts Centre, Bracknell, Aladdin Wycombe Swan-High Wycombe, Cats the musical Patichio Amphitheatre-Larnaca Cyprus, Jack and The Beanstalk Civic Centre-St Albans, West End Rocks UK Tour, The Christ Of Coldharbour Lane Soho Theatre-London, High School Musical South Holland Theatre-Spalding, Manumission Privilege/Amnesia-Ibiza, Peter Pan Churchill Theatre-Bromley, Cinderella Civic Centre-St Albans, Back To The 80’s Kenneth More Theatre-Ilford, Cinderella New Victoria Theatre-Woking. David was asked to create apiece based on the painting The Death Of Actaeon performed in the main room at The National Gallery. David has given workshops and lectures for IDTA, BBO, RAM, EDT, Dance Forward and adjudicated for International Street Dance competition’s and Janet Cram Awards for I.S.T.D. Specializing in Pas De Deux and Boys workshops he teaches as a guest choreographer at various colleges throughout the year and holds master classes within the UK and Europe.

Thereza Theodoulou F.I.S.T.D  Jazz Tutor

Tereza began her training with Joy Spriggs in North London, ultimately achieving Fellowship status with distinction in both Modern and Tap. In America she studied at the Alvin Ailey School and further explored the rich diversity of Jazz and Tap at various studios in New York. As a co-founder and choreographer of her own company ‘Overtures’, Tereza has created and preformed in numerous productions. She has also worked with the British Theatre for the Deaf where she was instrumental in implementing the then new technique of ‘Sign Song’, first introduced in New York.   Read moreThis culminated in a workshop presentation of ‘My Fair Lady’ at the Edinburgh Festival. College teaching posts include Lane Theatre Arts and Head of Modern/Tap and Third Year Teaching Studies Co-ordinator at London College, Bedford, the college of the I.S.T.D. At Bird College, she specialises in Jazz Technique and delivering the DDI (teaching qualification) for the I.S.T.D. She also teaches at Deborah Capon College where she delivers Jazz and Modern as well as the course of study for the DDI and DDE teaching qualifications. For the I.S.T.D Tereza is a member of the creative teams that have developed the Bronze, Silver and Gold Tap awards and Jazz awards, Grades 4, 5, 6 and Advanced 2 Modern syllabi. She is presently developing the new Advanced 1 Modern syllabus. Tereza was on the production team that filmed the training videos for the Tap and Jazz Awards and Modern Theatre Grades. Tereza teaches and examines in England and aboard, lecturing at international teachers’ seminars She is an Assessor for the I.S.T.D Teaching Qualifications, DDE in the UK and is a bilingual examiner for Approved Dance Centres in Greece. She thoroughly enjoys her position as Features Editor for ‘Dance’ magazine of the I.S.T.D. Tereza is Vice Chair of the Modern Theatre Dance Faculty, I.S.T.D.

Ruth Armstrong FISTD  Modern and Tap Tutor

Ruth began her training at The Pauline Howard School of Dance under the guidance of Miss Patricia Ellis FISTD Examiner/Committee and Mrs Pauline Howard. She continued to further her studies at Laine Theatre Arts and graduated with Diplomas in both Musical Theatre and Professional Dance whilst additionally attaining ISTD Associate teaching qualifications in Modern, Tap and Imperial Ballet. After several years working as a freelance teacher and choreographer Ruth joined the Dance Faculty at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts in 1999 teaching Jazz, Modern and Tap alongside being resident choreographer for Dance and Musical Theatre  productions.  Ruth was also instrumental in devising work for Tring Park’s Outreach Dance programme which successfully encouraged the access to dance for children attending primary schools in Hertfordshire and surrounding areas. Choreographic credits include commissions for National Youth Ballet (2016 Season),  Encore Dance Company Tour, ’Move It’ Exhibition and Gala Performances at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre and The Shaftesbury Theatre.    Read moreHaving pursued her ISTD Qualifications to Fellowship Status Ruth became a Dual Examiner for the Modern and Tap faculties in 2005. As a member of the Modern Faculty teaching team Ruth takes great pleasure in lecturing teachers and students at courses throughout the UK and internationally. She is proud to have been instrumental in the development of the new Optional Jazz Award Amalgamations and more recently the creation of a Musical Theatre Amalgamation for the new Intermediate Tap syllabus, launched in August 2017. In 2013 Ruth returned to working as a freelance teacher & choreographer and trains students in Jazz and Tap at Vocational Colleges including Bird College, The Urdang Academy, GSA and Mountview. In addition she regularly teaches at Gielgud Academy of Performing Arts (linked to Gielgud Management) and is a guest teacher for Chrysalis London, Tring Park School for the Performing Arts and National Youth Ballet.