Meet the Team
We’re proud of the team we have here at Dansworks, so we’ve included some details about each of us below.
Fellow IDTA (BT; MJ; F); LIDTA (TC); AUKA; RAD mutually recognised teacher
Karen is Dansworks’ Principal and the star around which we all revolve; without her, nothing we do would be possible.
Karen began her dance training at the sprightly age of 3 and quickly gained many qualifications with both the RAD and IDTA in the disciplines of Ballet, Tap, Modern Jazz, National Dance, Character, Song and Dance (Musical Theatre), Greek, Ballroom and Latin. A keen dancer throughout her childhood, Karen also competed with much success in many dance festivals and championships around the UK, and starred in various musical productions to boot.
At the age of 16, Karen was accepted into the prestigious Northern Ballet School in Manchester, where she began full-time training to become a professional dancer. Whilst there, she gained several professional qualifications and studied Ballet, Tap, Modern Jazz, Singing, Drama and National Dance at an advanced level.
At 18, Karen’s career as a professional dancer was secured and she went on to work with large touring shows and smaller dance troupes all over the world, including Mexico, Italy, Switzerland and around the UK.
In 1988, Karen began her dance teaching career, teaching RAD Ballet and IDTA, NATD and UKA grades and medals in Tap, Modern Jazz, Irish, National and Character, whilst also choreographing solos and groups for dance festivals, shows and local amateur theatre groups. At this time, Karen also spent 3 years working full-time in Tor View Special Needs School and gained many skills that she now utilises daily in her dance teaching classes.
After a 3 year break, the unhappy result of a prolonged serious illness, Karen was keen to return to the world of dance, and in 2008 she was incredibly proud to launch Dansworks Dance Academy. Since this time, Karen has continued her professional development by joining Street Dance International (SDI) and has undertaken teaching courses in Break Dance, Street Dance, Dance and Disability and Zumba.
Karen takes her professional development seriously and always pursues perfection; she has consistently achieved a 90% or above pass rate in all her teaching exams and has recently attained Fellowship status with IDTA. In the coming years, Karen intends to continue passing her professional qualifications with flying colours, as she works towards achieving Examiner status with IDTA.
LIDTA (BT; MJ); AIDTA (T)
A keen dancer from a very early age, Gemma began her dance training at the age of 3, specialising in RAD Ballet and IDTA Ballet, Tap, Theatre Craft, Greek, Song & Dance, National and Character. Always an enthusiastic dancer, Gemma spent her childhood performing and competing with much success in many local dance festivals, and at the ages of 13 and 14 was twice nominated for the prestigious IDTA Awards in Tap.
At the age of 9, Gemma was accepted on a 4 year program as a Junior Associate with the well-respected Hammond School in Chester, studying Ballet, Jazz and Musical Theatre.
After leaving school, Gemma began to study for her dance teaching qualifications with IDTA, teaching lower IDTA grades whilst simultaneously choreographing solos and duets for dance festivals. It is at this period that, whilst at college, Gemma was appointed Dance Captain and was responsible for choreographing and coaching, whilst also studying for her BTEC in Performing Arts.
Having attained 2 Distinctions and a Merit in her BTEC, Gemma graduated from college and, at the age of 18, was awarded a place at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) in London to study Ballet Education. Combining the study of ballet and dance with teacher training, this course provided the perfect springboard to enable Gemma to pursue her love of teaching dance, as well as giving her a wealth of knowledge and usable skills and experience.
Upon joining the Dansworks team in September 2010, Gemma was able to realise her lifelong dream of becoming a dance teacher and she has been as asset to our team from the minute she arrived. Gemma takes her passion for dance seriously and is committed to continuing her professional development by attaining further teaching qualifications. Most recently, Gemma made us all incredibly proud when she gained a Highly Commended in IDTA Licentiate Ballet.
Street Dance, Ballet, Contemporary and Musical Theatre Teacher
Danny has been lucky enough to travel all over the world with dance, British, European and World championship credits to his name, laced with HRH the Queen and Prince Philip, Timothy West, Liam Dolan, Vincent Gardinier, Kid Creole, Jooles Holland, Rachel McFarland, Kerry Ellis, Chaka Khan, Whitney Houston, Julio Iglesias, Bobby Brown, Run DMC, Kurtis Blow, NWA, Gabrielle, Madonna, Goldie & Metalheads, Reg Grundy, Colin Edwards, Ed Stratton, Njoi, Brian Blessed, Rhythm Quest, Entrance, Chrissie Hynde & UB40, The Prodigy, Roy Castle, DJ Groove Ryder, Kenneth Williams, Kim Wild, Va'aiga Tuigamala, Ruud Gullit, Buster Merryfield, Hinge & Bracket, Janet Jackson, Jimmy Locust, Trevor Sorbie, Vidal Sassoon, David Bowie, Lisa Riley, Alan Fletcher, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Isvan Balyl, Sophia Desouza, Claire Short, Sam Allardyce, Sam Neil (Jurassic Park trilogy), Pedja Bjelac, Scott Wright, Ursula Strauss, Turlough Convery, Simon Paisley Day, Rod Hull & Emu, Melia Kreiling, La Toya Jackson, Antonia Cambell-Hughes, Tracey Shaw, Tayla Blue, Ryan Doyle & 3RUN (Redbull Pakour world champion), Plavca, Crazy Ivan, Grace Jones, Thunder & Joy, Paul Young and Her Royal Highness Princess Brigitte Duchess of Gloucester.
Danny has delivered dance at the Beijing Institute of Student Teachers in China, Grand Opera House (Belfast) as resident Choreographer for 8 years, resident Choreographer Adidas for 4 years, BEDA (British Entertainment & Dance Awards), Choreographer 2006-2010, Isvan Balil guest presenter (maturation in YP in activity), Formally trained in Ballet, Contemporary, Hip Hop, National & Social, Tudor, Break-dance, Pop-a-Lock, Musical Theatre, and Dance Engagement.
West End credits are Starlight Express, West Side Story, and he's choreographed countless dance groups and West End musicals, fashion shows, 5 national Set Studies for dance curriculum in the UK.
Danny was the winner of the NWE Award for the creation of the Dance Platform, which is a bi-annual event that brings together various schools and corporate business to perform dance. He was a winner of the Carnegie Awards for his work with young people in Camborne in partnership with the Police, which now has over a 1,000 members. He's been Practical-support for teachers who deliver dance at B-Tech, A-Level, Junior A-Level, GCSE, ND, HND and degree level.
Launched SSP 2010, SEND 2010, YSP 2010 and Dance Conference 2010, plus a double page spread of his own ‘dance products’ in Davis Sport Catalogue 2011/12/13/14
Street Dance and Break Dance Teacher
Kandu Dance Workshop ‘The KEY’ Newquay 2007, Winter Dance Platform Oldham 2008, Kandu Dance Workshop St Austell 2007, Winter Dance Platform in Oldham 2009, Countywide Dance Workshop (Youth Cornwall) 2009, The Noise Live - Liverpool, 96.7 Radio City FM music festival tours, Party in the Park, Clothes show N.E.C Birmingham, Featured dancer - Hobbycraft advert, 2014 movie DxM - Dancer and assistant choreographer, 2012 China's Got Talent as George Sampson's choreographer and dancer, Smirnoff Beda Awards 2007, Support dancer for Vernon Kay - The Smirnoff Beda Awards 2005, Support dancer for Vernon Kay - The Smirnoff Beda Awards 2004. Support dancer for Kelly Llorenna and Flip and Fill, Karen Parry shooting star and Flip and Fill, The Smirnoff Beda Awards 2003 with Mark Lamaar, 2002 Commonwealth Games, Manchester Opening and Closing Ceremonies .
Drama, Singing, Pre School and Musical Theatre Teacher
Many people may already know Sophie for her involvement with the Royal Court Theatre and many other local Musical Theatre and Drama Groups. Sophie will offer one to one singing lessons as well being a great addition to the Musical Theatre and Drama Team.
Sophie has been involved in theatre since a very early age, beginning her training at the local theatre group BYTES. Sophie was offered a place on the Musical Theatre course at Pendleton College, Salford where she gained a triple distinction in musical theatre BTEC. After leaving college Sophie carried on participating in local amateur productions throughout Lancashire.
Sophie auditioned for cruise companies and was lucky enough to be accepted into Carnival Cruise Lines entertainment team as lead vocalist traveling around the Caribbean islands on the Carnival Valor.
FdA Theatre & Performance
Drama and Musical Theatre Teacher
Jessica is currently studying for a BA (hons) Degree in Theatre after already achieving a Foundation Degree in Theatre and Performance.
Jessica is an enthusiastic team member and enjoys sharing her passion and enthusiasm for drama with others. She enjoys developing others in this field and has experiences in working with pupils from age 3 up to 20 year olds. Jessica has previously taught classes and supported students in preparing for their LAMDA awards as well as working closely with students to develop their acting roles for performances.
Jessica is taking a lead in developing Drama at Dansworks Dance Academy and will be teaching the LAMDA syllabus which will allow students to pursue recognised Drama qualifications with Dansworks Dance Academy.
Jessica already has a wealth of experience, appearing in and working on many productions including her own devised pieces. Jessica is involved with other local Drama and Performing Arts Schools and is a very welcome and valuable addition to the Dansworks Team.
Bio to follow.
Fellow IDTA & Examiner
Teacher Development (CPD)
As an IDTA Examiner, Wendy hosts weekly Teacher Training and Professional Development classes at Dansworks Studios, which are attended not only by Dansworks teachers but also by the principals and teachers of a number of other dance schools.
In addition to being a busy examiner, Wendy also runs her own highly respected dance school in West Houghton, as well as being the co-organiser of the IDTA Manchester Dance Festival.
Business Development Manager & Customer Service Manager
Dale is the glue that hold Dansworks together! Having joined the team in 2009, Dale is not only our main Receptionist but is also our general factotum and dogsbody; in short, we couldn’t manage without him.
In his previous life, Dale worked as a Community Development Officer for Rossendale Borough Council, a Business Development Manager for Rossendale Leisure Trust and a Manager for Bacup Leisure Hall (now The Bacup Hub). In his varied career, Dale has also worked in Customer Services for HSBC and has served as a Councillor on Rossendale Council, so it’s fair to say he’s amassed a good deal of experience in a wide field.
Since jumping on board with Dansworks, Dale has brought all of that managerial and customer service experience, gained over years in the public, community and retail sectors, with him and he uses it daily to keep our good ship running smoothly.
Dale’s community spirit is not diminished, however, and he remains the chairperson of the Rossendale Disability Forum, an active committee member of the Bacup Traders Association and the brains behind our very own Dansworks Bright Futures program. On top of that, Dale is also a board member for Bacup's Townscape Heritage Initiative and a member of the Bacup Neighbourhood Forum. He likes to keep himself busy!