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Staff

Kayleigh Laverick

Creative Director

Kayleigh Gage

Hello I'm Kayleigh Laverick; I started the school after I moved back to Durham from London, where I trained and worked for a number of years as an actor, singer, choreographer and dancer. I am a highly motivated and dedicated individual who thrives on pressure, hard work and responsibility.

I worked and gained a lot of knowledge and experience, which enhances not only my performance skills but also my communication and organisation skills, working with diverse people within the community in a positive way and pushing them and myself to achieve something more and unique.

John Hansford

Coach

John HansfordHello my name is John Hansford aka Bboy smooth. Since I started to teach myself the basics of break dancing in my bedroom, and the more confident I became in myself when dancing, I started to practise outside to get bigger and better with moves.

I entered my first ever dance competition which was a Bboy battle in 2012 and became Urban Rockz Bboy champion of 2012 which was where I earned the name Bboy smooth because of my understanding of my technique of footwork and power moves/tricks.

I feel alive and free to show what I can do I feel like I can break gravity because of the way I'm able to move and teaching allows me to share my knowledge with youngster who are willing to learn these moves after seeing people learning the technique of break dancing and having fun.  

Sarah Atkinson

Coach

Sarah Atkinson

I'm Sarah and I’m originally from Middlesbrough. After moving to London age 17 to train on a foundation course at Arts Educational I then studied musical theatre at Italia Conti Academy for 3 years winning a full scholarship. Since graduating i have been enjoying working on London's fringe scene in productions such as Spring Awakening and Songs For A New World as well as a long run with musical Newland that showed at Edinburgh Fringe Festival and The Bridewell Theatre.

I also have a hand in film and TV: some highlights have been Louis Spence's Show Business on Sky 1 and being a Gryffindor student in the final Harry Potter Movie, which was brill as I'm the biggest fan! I also gig with a local vintage girl group.

Tom Guest

Musical theatre coach

Tom Guest

Tom is from Sedgefield in Co. Durham and trained at Bretton Hall with a degree in Musical Theatre and then at LIPA with an MA in Acting.  Over the past five years Tom has been lecturing in Musical Theatre at Newcastle College and has directed shows including Rent, 13Our House and Little Shop of Horrors

Tom has recently returned to an acting career where he has worked for companies such as Northern Stage, Northern Broadsides, the Liverpool Playhouse and the Gala Theatre in Durham.

Stef Corbett

Dance Teacher

Stef Corbett

It was in Youth Theatre where she got her first taste of directing and fell in love. Steph went to The University of Hull, where she gained her degree in Drama and Theatre practice. Throughout her time at University she directed many shows, including Cabaret and Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Sorcerer, took 2 shows up to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company both performing and directing.

After graduating Steph went into freelance teaching, she loves working with children as ‘not every day is the same.’ Steph teaches at 4 other regional Youth Theatres, as well as setting up after school drama and singing lessons in local primary schools. Being part of the Creative Learning team at the Sunderland Empire also sees Steph facilitating various workshops ran from inside the Theatre.

In her personal time she sings in regional bands and choirs and is a member of her local amateur dramatic society. Steph has just finished working with the National Theatre as a director on their Connections festival alongside Darling Civic Theatre. The experience was fantastic and she can’t wait to share all that she was taught and more with the children.

Kristian Lacey

Coach

Kristian Lacey

Hello my Kristian Lacey. I started dancing when I left school, I focused on the basics of waving and popping. After I found breaking and started to get more interested within this style, I wanted to learn the different aspects which are included.

I entered my first competition which I came first in: this gave me a lot more confidence to train harder and learn bigger and better moves. I then became part of a crew called ILLEST which broaden my range of skills and knowledge of the foundations of street dance.

I love to teach others the skills that I have required over the years and to help them develop themselves as dancers.

Georgina Mannsfield

Coach

Georgina Mannsfield

Georgina graduated from Italia Conti Arts Centre with award for Most Promising Student in 2010. She has recently moved to Durham from London where she was teaching hip hop and lyrical for Italia Conti. Georgina has performed alongside highly established performers such as Tracie Bennet, Linzi Hateley and Bonnie Langford.

Georgina has also had the opportunity to perform on The Royal Variety Performance alongside artists such as Ceelo Green, Nicole Sherzinger and Pixie Lott and had the opportunity to perform at the Royal Albert Hall as a featured dancer.

Maria Carney

Coach

Maria Carney

My name is Maria, I am a qualified dancer teacher within the IDTA. I currently teach pupils from age 3-65years old, and from social dancers to highly competitive dancers. The genres I am trained to teach in are Ballroom, Latin American, Salsa, Classical sequence and Modern Sequence.  

I began my dance life at the age of six, since then I have won numerous regional titles in all of the above genres of dance. I am also very proud to be able to say that I achieved 9 nationwide first places at the IDTA ballroom and Latin finals held at the winter gardens in Blackpool, retiring from competing with consecutive victories from 2011-2013.

Dance has always been my passion and after accomplishing these achievements I decided I wanted to share my knowledge and enthusiasm with others and made the decision to teach. I hope to always aspire others to achieve their highest goals and fall in love with dancing as I did.