Faculty: Tap

Tap Staff

Nick French FISTD, Cert. Ed.  Head of Musical Theatre & Tap 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.

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.

Ruth Armstrong   Modern and Tap Tutor

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