Teachers & Faculty

Classes are taught by a variety of experienced, talented and energetic teachers. All members of staff hold an Enhanced DBS Certificate.

Catharine Lewis - Principal

LCDD (1st Class) RAD RTS (Teaching Certificate), AISTD (Dip) Modern, AISTD Ceccetti, ISTD Ballet & National
Head of Ballet & Examinations

Miss Cathy began her dance training at the Susan Robinson School of Ballet before studying at The London College of Dance (formerly the ISTD College) achieving Advanced in ballet, modern and national dance and graduating with a 1st Class Diploma. She then taught ballet and modern for two years in Greece following which she returned to the Susan Robinson School of Ballet in 1993.

Miss Cathy also had the privilege of rehearsing our students for the Royal Academy of Dance new grades 1-5 launch and syllabus DVDs and also rehearsing our students for the grade 1-3 character syllabus DVDs.

Jade Souter - Principal

RAD RTS (Teaching Certificate)
Head of Festival & Show Choreography

Miss Jade started ballet with Miss Sue aged three. She completed all her Royal Academy of Dance ballet exams including Advanced 1 as well as the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance Modern and Tap exams up to Advanced level. Miss Jade has danced in many shows and charity events and as a child successfully competed at several All England Dance Finals.

She gained her Royal Academy of Dance's Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies, whilst also achieving three A-levels at Godalming College. Miss Jade began her teaching career over ten years ago, and has since coached many pupils to achieve exceptional marks in their ballet exams. She has coached students to dance with a number of well known companies including the Bolshoi and has choreographed for dance competitions, festivals and auditions. Her choreography for the biennial shows has meant she has a vast knowledge of repertoire from all the most famous ballets.  

Lara Lucano - Principal

ARAD RAD RTS (Teaching Certificate)
Head of Younger Years and Assistant Festival & Show Choreographer

Miss Lara trained at the Susan Robinson School of Ballet from the age of four studying ballet, tap, modern and jazz. At the age of ten, she won the South East Final of the RAD Fonteyn Nureyev Ballet Competition and had the opportunity to dance with the Bolshoi Ballet at the Royal Opera House and also with the Northern Ballet.

Miss Lara enjoyed great success at festivals and was awarded runner up in the Young Dancer of the Year at the All England Dance Finals in London in 2011 . Miss Lara gained her RAD Advanced 2 Ballet with Distinction and and won a scholarship to Millennium Performing Arts in London. During her time there she was awarded ‘Best All Round Performer’ and the ‘Jazz Award' and was chosen as Dance Captain / Assistant Choreographer for a production of Cinderella at the Ickenham Theatre. Miss Lara successfully completed the Royal Academy of Dance's Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies.


Gretchen Kiefer - Ballet teacher

BBO Diploma in Dance Teaching and Level 5 Certificate in Further Education Teaching (distinction), MRAD 

Dancing and teaching for over 25 years, Miss Gretchen is a former professional dancer and founder member of Island Moving Company (USA). She was involved in numerous tours, performances and outreach programmes with the Island Moving Company and also performed with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and several Colorado ballet companies. Miss Gretchen has also choreographed for the Island Moving Company, Little Theater of the Rockies and the University of Northern Colorado. She has taught dance at the Newport Academy of Ballet, University of Northern Colorado and also teaches for  Woking Dance Space (adults).  Miss Gretchen teaches the vocational grades and our senior ballet coaching class.

Nicola Bacon - Modern, Tap & Jazz teacher


As a child, Miss Nicky was winner of the the ISTD senior Tap award, the ISTD senior ballet musicality prize and was runner up of the ISTD senior Janet Cram modern award. She was also a regular All England Dance festivals finalist. 

Her professional dance experience includes TV work on the Benny Hill Show, Jim Davidson Special and Illusions Magic Show.  On stage, she has performed in Ziegfeld at the London Palladium, Cabaret and many summer shows and pantomimes.  She has choreographed for three pantomime seasons at the Epsom Playhouse and the pantomime at the Theatre Royal in Brighton.

Miss Nicky has previously taught at the Guildford School of Acting , Italia Conti, Mountview Theatre School, The Arnould School and Jayne Coleman Academy. She was also the owner and principal of the Ripley Dance Academy from 1990 to 2006. The school achieved huge regular success over the years with her students reaching the finals in All England Dance competitions, winning ISTD awards and performing in several shows at local theatres.

Amanda Lee Gardener - Musical Theatre teacher

Miss Amanda started dancing at the age of 3 and later travelled to Byfleet to attend Miss Sue's ballet classes. Miss Amanda has had a passion for musical theatre from a very young age and has played a variety of roles including Calamity (Calamity Jane ), Gladys (Pajama Game), Gertie (Oklahoma) and the part of Pepper in a professional touring production of Annie!

She won a scholarship to Laine Theatre Arts for the most promising musical theatre student and went on to perform professionally both in the UK and abroad. Brushes with TV include making the final 50 of ITV's first ever reality show Popstars and appearing on ITV's Saturday night show Who Dares, Sings! with Ben Shepherd and Denise van Outen. 

After settling back in Portsmouth to start a family, she decided to spread the passion of performing and successfully studied for her ISTD teaching qualification. Amanda has also taught at Bedales and Dunhurst schools, Petersfield Academy and is a founder of ALG Theatre Arts in Portsmouth. Amanda is pleased to be sharing her love for the arts and hopes that her pupils fall in love with musical theatre just as she did.

Jade Cawthraw - Ballet, Modern & Tap teacher


Jade started her training with Miss Sue at the age of 3 and continued until she was 16. Whilst she was there she had the opportunity to perform with the Bolshoi and the Mariinsky at the Royal Opera House and Northern Ballet at the New Victoria. After completing her RAD Advanced 2 Ballet at Miss Sue’s, receiving a distinction, she earned a place at The School of Ballet Theatre UK where she gained an upper second BA in Ballet Performance through the University of West London. In her final year at the school, she was given the opportunity to go on tour with the BTUK company with a soloist role in The Sleeping Beauty. Having completed her degree she furthered her training on the pre-professional training programme at Ballet Cymru where she went on tour with the company performing in Romeo and Juliet.

Cathy Stephens - Advanced Modern teacher


As a graduate of Bird College, Cathy danced and choreographed extensively, enjoying work in the West End and in television, cabaret, pantomime and fashion shows. Cathy has taught at many vocational schools including Bird College, The Centre PAC and Elmhurst Ballet School and ran her own theatre school in Surrey for 22 years. Cathy is a Senior examiner for the ISTD Modern Theatre and Tap faculties and was a member of the Modern Theatre Committee for an enjoyable 13 years. She continues to work with Jackie Barnes and the team on Modern Theatre Events. Cathy is also a partner in the Approved Dance Centre ‘DanceTeachersInc’ which trains both new and experienced teachers to further their teaching careers from DDE to Fellowship.

Guest Teachers

Emily Francis - Ballet
Phoebe Henderson - Assistant modern choreographer
Jess Henderson - Assistant modern choreographer

Administrative staff

Pelita Lucano - School administrator
email: [email protected]                 mobile: 07397 170899

Debbie Souter - Festival and show coordinator
email: [email protected]                         mobile: 07531 782234

Edwina Farrow - Wardrobe mistress
email: [email protected]

Please find a list of our registered chaperones here.



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