Our Awesome Teachers

Kindy Dance Time® takes great pride in our carefully selected teachers, who are not only highly experienced, but also possess a more important quality – the unconditional love of children.  Our teachers regularly attend Professional Development workshops in the areas of Creative Dance, Music, Drama, Teaching Methodology and Early Childhood Development to update their knowledge and to provide the best tuition for your child.

Lara began her dance training with her mother, Terri Charlesworth OAM, CitWA, and from a young age she travelled extensively studying at many major dance institutions throughout the world. In 1981 Lara successfully auditioned for the Victorian College of the Arts, where she trained for two years. Later at age 15 she was accepted into the Australian Ballet School where she once again trained under Terri. In 1985 she was awarded a scholarship to attend L’Academie de Danse Classique Princesse Grace in Monte Carlo, studying under Marika Besobrasova and many other world-renowned dance teachers.

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Michelle Antoniou – Teacher

Michelle began dancing as a young child and developed a great love and passion for Jazz, Ballet, Tap dance and music appreciation. She continued to dance for many years and to this day Michelle participates in adult dance classes, recently developing her skills in Zumba, Hip-hop and Latin dance. Her love of the arts also led her to learn and become an accomplished player of the piano and drums. She has performed musically and dramatically throughout the years.

Since joining our team in Victoria in May 2011, Michelle has obtained the Certificate III in Children’s Services and gained valuable experience working as a coordinator/educator of children’s services and supervisor of one Victoria’s largest holiday programmes.  She is also currently studying an Applied Science Dip.Ed. (PE Teacher) with a sub-major in Dance and the Performing Arts.

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Debbie Bonnici – Teacher

Debbie has danced for most of her life commencing at age six studying Jazz, Classical Ballet and Tap. She continued into adult years performing locally in Victoria. Later, she studied Psychology and obtained her Masters degree.

Debbie comes from a large family and now has four children of her own aged from 8 to 16 years old. Over the years she has attended many and varied dance and music classes as a mother with her own children, which has re-kindled her passion for teaching dance to young children!

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Jude Harris – Teacher

FB137A73-4900-43AD-A155-3F3626288B5CJude began her dance training at six years of age, studying many varied styles including Classical Ballet, Jazz and Tap dance. Her love of children led her into a career in early childhood. With a Diploma in Social Science obtained from Meeralinga, Jude has worked with young children for over 30 years. She incorporated her love of performing arts by creating and implementing dance and music sessions for children aged 2-6 years in weekly developmental programmes. She has also enhanced her education in early childhood development attending a variety of courses on growth and play, learning, and music.

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Nel Williams – Manager

Nel began her dance training at a young age studying Classical Ballet, Tap and Modern techniques and continued through her university years in the UK. During this time she performed in many dance productions and was the recipient of several dance awards, including the Bishop Prize for Dance at the University of Bath. Nel also studied piano, undertaking Royal Academy of Music performance and theory exams to Grade 5 level, orchestral percussion, and has been involved in various choirs and choral societies as a soloist and group singer.

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Lauren Kelly – Teacher

FBAFA309-B2B9-4366-B00A-9A39BB9F451CLauren has had a passion for dance since she was very young and at age six began her dance training with Brian Hewitt, ARAD. M.B.B.O. Adv. Dip PDTC Australian Ballet School. She then continued her ballet classes with Kim Baker at the Terri Charlesworth School of Ballet.

Being exceptionally talented she was accepted into the elite full-time programme of the Graduate College of Dance at Swanbourne SHS at 12 years of age. Under the Direction of Terri Charlesworth, OAM. CitWA, Lauren was taught by Lara Gandini, Beth James, Joan Pope OAM, Luba Nikonorenko from the Kirov ballet and many other leading dance tutors. Her studies encompassed many styles including Classical Ballet, Character Dance, Contemporary and many theoretical dance subjects.

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Andrea Ponga – Teacher

Born into a family of dancers, Andrea commenced dance classes when she was four.  At the age of 10, she concentrated on the ISTD syllabus, studying Classical Ballet, Jazz, Tap and Contemporary, and also hip hop and funk.  In 2001, Andrea graduated from the Specialist Dance Program at John Curtin College of the Arts with Honours. She then continued her studies in teacher training and completed her Associate degree in ISTD – Modern Theatre.

Andrea has worked extensively throughout Perth as a dance teacher, both in school environments, and also running her own dance studio for six years. Throughout this period she attended many courses including those offered by Nappy Tabs and Marko Panzic. She is currently a Classical ballet teacher for the Charlesworth Ballet School.

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Rachel Grainger – Teacher

Our gorgeous Miss Rachel commenced dancing at a young age and it has been a major part of her life ever since. She trained in Jazz, Tap & Classical ballet in the RAD and CSTD Syllabus achieving high grades in her examinations.

Rachel competed in dance competitions in her teenage years receiving many awards. She also completed and passed her student teacher’s exam.

After completing Year 12, Rachel attended a short course with the Victorian Theatre Company. She then travelled extensively, obtaining many international dancing contracts throughout the world.

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Zeffie Maynard – Teacher

Zeffie commenced Classical Ballet under the instruction of Terri Charlesworth OAM, CitWA where she was also taught by many international world renown teachers including Yuri Vasilkov and Lubov Nikonorenko from the Kirov Vaganova Ballet in Russia, Terri Charlesworth and Kindy Dance Time’s very own director, Lara Gandini.

A very talented dancer, Zeffie later furthered her dance training by successfully being accepted into the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts, Advanced Diploma in Dance course. She was chosen by her peers as the most improved student in her graduating year and she continued to study at the academy for another year to successfully complete her Bachelor of Arts. She was taught by many international choreographers and teachers including Kim McCarthy, Diana De Vos, Andries Weidmann, Sue Peacock and Justin Rutzou. During her studies, she was also exposed to numerous styles of dance including Contemporary, Spanish, Character and Improvisation.

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Zita van Zanten – Teacher

Zita began dancing classes at a young age studying Classical Ballet and hasn’t stopped dancing ever since. She has studied many varied styles including Modern Ballet, Flamenco, Folklore and Argentine Tango. Zita was part of several productions and was asked to perform tango on the famous Plaza Dorrego Square by local musicians. She has just come back from a 3-month sabbatical in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she trained as a tango dancer and teacher.

Zita’s love for children has grown since she had her two boys Alex and Max. She has been active in organising events at their kindergartens and schools, like the annual disco and presentations on cultural events. She has worked as a Personal Assistant after finishing her two masters in languages and has now decided to follow her passion and teach dance full-time. “Teaching children is so rewarding, as you really see the enjoyment and growth in kindergarten-aged kids”, she says. We couldn’t agree more and are so excited to have Zita join our team. She will be sharing her passion for dance with our families at the Doncaster, Balwyn and Doncaster East locations and from 2020 at our new Canterbury and Kew locations!

Marnie Wilson – Teacher

Marnie’s love of dance began at a young age, with Calisthenics a major personal focus in her younger years. She competed at Championship level for 10 years and also represented her State in the sport. She gradually moved into other forms of dance – initially ballet and jazz classes were just intended to support her Calisthenics training, however, she soon discovered a love and talent for classical ballet in particular.

Over the past 10 years Marnie has been in and out of the ballet studio, balancing a new career as a primary school teacher with family life, but the last 3 years have seen her make a commitment to ballet training at a leading suburban ballet school, and she recently obtained her Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) Intermediate certificate. Marnie continues to attend ballet classes each week and enjoys Yoga and Pilates for body conditioning. She works casually as a primary school teacher in special needs settings and enjoys caring for her family, her husband and two children aged 11 and 9.

Since becoming a mother herself, Marnie has delighted in passing on a love of dance and music to her own children, as well as the special needs students she teaches. She is very excited about watching the growth and development of our Kindy Dance Timers as they explore and have fun within the wonderful world of dance at Malvern, Beaumaris and Brighton in 2020!

Shonty Callisto – Teacher

Shonty started commenced dancing as a young child and it has been an important part of her life ever since. She trained in various dance styles, developing a love in particular for Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Acro and Hip Hop.

Shonty participated in numerous dance competitions in and around Perth, while also successfully completing her CSTD and RAD examinations, and continued dancing into her adult years. Her love of working with children lead her to obtain her Cert III and IV in Education Assistance, before beginning her studies at university for her Bachelor of Education degree.

Now married with three beautiful children ages 10, 7 and 3, who all share the same passion and love for dance, Shonty is excited to combine her great passion for education with her love for all aspects of dance as part of the Kindy Dance Time team. We are sure that, with her joy and enthusiasm for dance, Shonty will engage our little dancers and ignite their excitement at exploring the world of dance. We are thrilled to have Shonty join our team, teaching from Term 1 2020 at our Duncraig and Helena Valley locations.

Kirsty Mead – Teacher

Kirsty fell in love with dancing at a young age. Her Scottish heritage saw her start with Highland Dancing, and later she began training in Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Modern through the ISTD Syllabus, achieving Honours in many of her dance examinations and receiving studio awards for Tap. She later moved on to focus on Hip Hop and Contemporary.

As a child Kirsty was selected for elite performance groups and excelled in singing, acting, and musical theatre, alongside her dance training. In her teens she was invited to become a Junior Teacher, following which she spent seven years teaching full-time at various large performance companies and attended University.

Kirsty has a Batchelor of Social Work and specialises in youth and family counselling. Her love for the stage has been fulfilled for the last 12 years fronting popular cover band FLYTE who held residencies at many of Perth’s largest live music venues.

Now a mum of two beautiful babies, her passion for facilitating a love for the arts in children has grown, and she is thrilled to be part of the Kindy Dance Time Team. We are so excited to have Kirsty join our team and we know that our little ones are going to have a ball with her at our Mount Hawthorn (Monday) & North Perth (Thursday & Saturday) locations!

Chrissie Antoniadis – Teacher

Chrissie’s love for dancing began when she was teeny tiny, dancing around in the living room at home. At the age of five she started her ballet training and then later moved into jazz and contemporary. Originally from Hobart, she performed in many concerts and eisteddfods all over Tasmania and that is where her passion for the arts grew. In 2009 she graduated from the Tasmanian Conservatorium of Music with a Bachelor of Musical Theatre and then moved to Sydney to pursue more opportunities. She has worked in television, film and theatre all over Australia and the UK. She is also a children’s entertainer and performs regularly with the children’s music group, The Party Pirates.

Most recently she has been living in the UK, where she was working in London and Manchester performing in the immersive theatre production, Dinosaurs in the Wild. Chrissie adores working with children and is so excited to have the opportunity to share her passion of dance with our Kindy Dance Timers. We’re thrilled to have Chrissie on board our team at our Essendon – St John’s and Caroline Springs locations.

Danni Varalla – Teacher

Danni started studying Tap, Jazz and Ballet at the age of five. From that young age, her love of dance grew and she completed VCE Dance in year 12, performing on stage at numerous events. Danni continued to dance while completing her Bachelors Degree in Media Studies (Journalism), after which she worked for News Limited’s Leader Newspapers as a reported before returning to her love of dance and teaching dance classes to pre-schoolers.

A mum of three young children herself, Danni has a deep passion and interest in dance, music, physical education and childhood development and has been teaching pre-school ballet classes for the past few years.

Danni believes in the lifelong benefits of dance and the positive impact it has on the development of fine motor skills, coordination, flexibility, confidence, creativity, musicality and physical health. We are so excited to have Danni join our team and have no doubt that our little Kindy Dance Timers are going to love her. From Term 2 2020 Danni will be sharing her passion for dance and music with our Kindy Dance Time families at our Mill Park, Montmorency and Whittlesea locations.

Tanille Whiffin – Teacher

Tanille began dancing from the age of 5, starting with Classical Ballet and then fell in love with Jazz and Contemporary. She has trained in various dance styles including Tap, Acrobatics & Hip Hop.

In year 11, Tanille completed VCE dance and furthered her skills after school by completing her Jazz exams and her Teacher training.

Dancing has been part of Tanille’s life since a young age and she participated in competitions up to the age of 23. She then moved into a teaching a role where she has been ever since, teaching all ages and all levels of dancers until having time off after having first child last year.

After having a break from teaching to spend time with her little one, she discovered Kindy Dance Time and fell in love with the idea of being able to share her passion for dance with the next generation of children. Tanille can’t wait to join the team, and we are thrilled that she will be sharing her enthusiasm and passion for dance with our little Kindy Dance Timers at our Surrey Hills and Toorak locations.