Faculty

Debra McDonnell
Principal: Debra McDonnell

ARAD AISTD Adv Teachers Diploma, Adjudicator, RAD Mentor Resgistered Teacher

Debra studied in Newcastle with Miss Jessie Brownlie and continued her love of dance and especially dance teaching in London. While in London she studied extensively all styles of dance and completed her Associate Teachers Certificate in ISTD in Classical Ballet, Modern Dance and Character. On her return, Debra ran a very successful full time dance studio in Wallsend for 15 years.

Her students from these years achieved exceptional results including acceptance into - Royal Ballet School London, Paris Opera Ballet School, Australia Ballet School and degree courses in dance at various universities, trained the winner of city of Sydney Senior Ballet Scholarship and Bronze Medal winner at Genee Awards London.

On her return, Debra completed her RAD teacher training certificate culminating in her Advanced Teacher Diploma and went on to run a very successful full time dance studio in Wallsend for 15 years.

ballet dancing newcastle
Robyn Hick

ARAD Solo Seal Adv. Teachers Diploma, RAD Examiner, RAD Mentor & Registered Teacher

Founder of the Robyn Hick School of Dancing, now Lake Macquarie Dance Centre, in 1974 and now specialising in coaching ballet, Robyn teaches regularly at the dance school and travels widely as a guest tutor for local and international dance schools & workshops. She has been an examiner of the Royal Academy of Dance since 1985 examining throughout the world students from Pre-Primary to Advanced levels.

Robyn has worked with many students who have successfully obtained a career in dance. Most notable is local dancer Damian Smith from Toronto ex Principal dancer with the San Francisco Ballet Company and our Patron. Many dance teachers in private dance or educational school through Australia have had their training through Robyn.

Robyn is passionate in her work and has a wide and strong reputation as a teacher of dance. During her 40+ years of teaching she has nurtured the love and joy of dance in many young students.

ballet dancing newcastle
Angela Thomas

ARAD

Angela grew up dancing at RHSD, went on to complete a year of full time ballet and her Solo Seal RAD exam, and has now been a part of the teaching staff at LMDC for over 10 years. She has a background in teaching contemporary and classical ballet across all ages, and has taught successful solo and group routines for eistedfords, competitions and the Dance HSC course. She is currently teaching the adult ballet classes as well as senior classical ballet and is thrilled to be back in the studio after her year living in London. Angela is also an Accredited Practising Dietician, specialising in Eating Disorders at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital.

ballet dancing newcastle
Elizabeth Thomas

At age 3, Miss Liz made her start in the dancing industry with the Robyn Hick School of Dance. A love of performing saw her complete a fulltime year with Ev and Bow Fulltime Training Facility. Under the direction of Sarah Boulter, Miss Liz was offered a position in Ev and Bow Dance Company, where she was a semi finalist in Australia's Got Talent. She is also a regular on ABC's Dance Academy.

Other credits include 'Velma' in Chicago, Dance Captain for Chinese New Year festival, dancer with Twisted Element for the Australian Hair Expo, guest performer at the Australian Dance Festival, So You Think You Can Dance choreographic assistant, guest performer at the Australian Dance Awards, dancer in the Australian premier of High School Musical, performer with Dance Circus, and has also been a body art model for Emma Hack.

With over 20 years of training and experience in the industry, Miss Liz has worked with many prominent names including Sarah Boulter, Debbie Ellis Linnert, Kristina Chan, Joshua Thomson, Sol Ulbrich, Anton, Dale Pope, Brett Morgan, Jessie Hesketh, and Tara Soh. She has a wealth of audition experience including Sydney Dance Company, Australian Dance Theatre, and Sean Parker Company.

Miss Liz has taught at many studios in Sydney and has been with us for 7 years. She is a passionate teacher who wants to bring out the best in her students.

ballet dancing newcastle
Eliza Gillespie

Miss Eliza is the senior tap teacher at LMDC. She began dancing with Miss Robyn at age five and throughout her 15 years of dance training at RHSD studied classical ballet, jazz, contemporary and tap to advanced levels. She expanded her trainings in tap with Cherie Pullar, founder of Pullars Unique Tap syllabus (PDA). Miss Eliza is now a teacher and member of PDA tap syllabus and has had 100% success rate sending students for examination.

She has had many performance opportunities including the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, opening ceremony of the Pacific School Games, Hunter and State Dance Festivals, School's Spectacular, Star Struck as group and featured artist, State Dance Ensemble and school musicals.

Miss Eliza is a qualified Primary School teacher with a Bachelor of Teaching/ Bachelor of Arts. She has continued her involvement with Star Struck, choreographing and coordinating groups for the show. Miss Eliza teaches tap, jazz and contemporary at LMDC.

ballet dancing newcastle
Katie Williams

Katie trained with both Debra and Robyn through to completing her Advanced ballet levels, contemporary and jazz. She was a student of Hunter School of Performing Arts where she was asked to be involved in the Star Struck student choreography 2006 and 2007.

Katie completed a Bachelor dance/Bachelor education at the University of New South Wales and is now a qualified high school teacher specialising in dance and drama, working currently at HSPA. She has recently spent a year in London teaching and dancing at the Pineapple Dance Studio. Katie is also a HSC dance coach.

ballet dancing newcastle
Jessica Ford

Jessica began her dance training at age 3, completing all RAD examinations up to solo seal with distinctions. She has trained in all styles of dance including ballet, contemporary, jazz and tap and has been a member of LMDC since 2005. Jessica was a student of the Hunter School of the Performing Arts, where she received a Band 6 in Dance including 3 callback nominations. Jessica has been a finalist of the Sydney McDonalds Performing arts Challenge, receiving 2nd place in her age category. She had also been a semi-finalist in the Isobel Anderson Awards and a soloist in Starstruck. In 2013, Jessica was accepted into the Joffrey Ballet School in New York, but has decided to continue her passion in both teaching and studying to be a Dance Physiotherapist. Jessica is currently teaching Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz and Pilates at LMDC.

ballet dancing newcastle
Alexandra Ford

A student of LMDC from a young age, Alexandra has completed all of her RAD classical ballet exams with distinctions and studied contemporary and jazz with us. She has successfully competed in many competitions and was awarded several scholarships and championships. After completing her Advanced 2 exam, she was accepted into the prestigious New Zealand School of Dance where she graduated with a Diploma. She has since danced professionally around the world and while teaching at LMDC Alexandra is studying for her Batchelor of Dance at university. Alexandra is thrilled to be back teaching and choreographing with LMDC.

ballet dancing newcastle
Carly McCarthy

Carly has been dancing with the studio since 1997, and has trained in and taught Ballet - Advanced levels, Jazz, Contemporary, Tap, Acrobatics and Aerial. She has completed her Certificate IV in Dance and is still currently training part time for her Diploma in Dance - Elite Performance. Carly has taken lead roles in LMDC concert's in Alice in Wonderland and Cinderella and has achieved great success in eisteddfods from an early age.

Junior ballet, jazz and contemporary teachers

Nicola Ford
Brittany Allport

Guest Teachers

Cherlie Pullar
Tap

Founder and owner of the Pullars Unique Tap syllabus, renowned tap teacher and choreographer through Australia.

 

Paea Leach
Contemporary

Dancer, choreographer, BA Dance Hons. Independent artist who has also danced and choreograph for chunky move, Australian dance theatre, PVC - Germany as well as teaching and performing in Berlin and Finland. A former student of Debra.