LMDC | Meet our Team
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Principal: Debra McDonnell

ARAD AISTD Adv Teachers Diploma, Adjudicator, RAD Mentor Registered 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.

Debra holds the Advanced Teacher Diploma from the Royal Academy of Dance. She is an assessor for the Australian Dance Vision syllabus and a member of the Australia Dance Adjudicators. She has been a mentor to many teachers throughout their teacher exams.

Debra’s love of dance is reflected in the quality of the students she has taught and continues to as the Director of Petitestars Preschool Dance Academy.

Robyn Hick

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

Founder of the Robyn Hick School of Dancing, now Petitestars Preschool Dance Academy, 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.

Angela Thomas


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

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.

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.

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.

Jody Hooker

Jody has been dancing in most styles since the age of 2, aswell as teaching Dancing and Singing for the past 8 years. Jody has completed a Diploma in Dance and a Bachelor of Music majoring in musical theatre at the Academy of Music and Performing Arts and Village Full time and is now currently studying a Masters in Music Education.

She has professional experience backup dancing and singing for artists such as Jessica Mauboy, Wolf Mother, Wes Car and Kelly Clarkson, as well as participating in TVC commercials and participating in major performances such as the NRL grand final, promotional performances and musicals for the pro/am company Packemin Productions.

Jody is excited to meet all the students and be joining the team at LMDC!