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Staff

Principal Karen Berry BSc Designated, BA (Hons) Classical Ballet Teaching

Appointed Tutor and Supervisor for the Royal Academy of Dance. R.A.D. Teaching Certificate, Teaching Diploma, Licentiate I.S.T.D.(MTB). SQA Visiting Assessor in Higher Dance, Teacher Training Manager Royal Ballet School London.

Karen founded the school in 1987 and has been teaching in Aberdeen for the last 27 years. Following a residency with Dundee Rep Dance Company, she co-founded a pioneering Aberdeen Youth Dance Company, as well as Aberdeen Youth Music Theatre . Karen has been employed as choreographer in Musical Theatre and has worked locally for the Education and the City Arts Departments as well as the Aberdeen International Youth Festival.

Karen completed the Academy’s BA (Hons) Classical Ballet Teaching in 2000 from which she has continued to research the teaching of dance from a motor development perspective. Karen has worked as a dance tutor throughout the north east of Scotland, delivering ‘in service’ training and short courses for teachers within the education department: primary and secondary schools. Karen has written and developed Dance Studies for Performing Arts (HNC) at Aberdeen College and for the current RAD CBTS programme. She has been instrumental as part of the Artistic development team responsible for the RAD’s Pre-School Dance Curriculum and the new Pre- Primary and Primary in Dance.

Over the past 15 years, Karen has worked for the RAD, teaching on Summer Schools, conducting teacher and  student courses and classes for the Fonteyn Nureyev young Dancers Competition.

She is employed as an External Assessor for SQA Higher Dance and a member of the Qualification Design Team responsible for the new SQA qualification, National Progression Award in Dance. In 2013 she was employed locally as choreographer for ‘Cone Gatherers’ at HMT, which then went on to tour nationally. With the RAD, she works as a practical teaching supervisor as well as a course developer and lead tutor. Karen was a member on the new RAD Grades Creative Panel, responsible for the development and production of the RAD’s new Grades 1–5 syllabi launched in January 2012 and January 2014. Karen developed the new Grades course and was co responsible for training Tutors to teach the new work worldwide for the RAD. Karen has been a Trustee of the Royal Academy of Dance and a member of the Artistic sub-Committee since 2006. Karen splits her working life between Aberdeen and London where she is now currently employed as a Teacher Training Manager at The Royal Ballet Upper School, responsible for managing and developing the Diploma of Dance Teaching  course on site and the new series of Seminars ’Inspire’. She also teaches Year 9s at White Lodge (Lower school) where her choreography has been staged at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden as part of the school’s summer shows.


Co-Principal Michelle Whyte BA(Hons) Theatre Dance

SQA Visiting Assessor in Higher Dance. RAD CPD Tutor. RAD (CBTS). ISTD CDE (MTB)

Since graduating from London Studio Centre in 2001 Michelle has been freelance teaching and choreographing across Scotland. She taught for 3 years at Dancebase in Edinburgh as well as teaching Higher Dance at Fife College, HNC and NC Dance at Aberdeen College and Dance Teaching courses for Edinburgh University.

Michelle has also been involved in the delivery of various community dance initiatives including various outreach programmes for Edinburgh City Council and Citymoves in Aberdeen. She joined Karen Berry School of Dance as Assistant Principal in August 2006 and became a partner in May 2008.

In 2009 Michelle became a visiting assessor in Higher Dance for SQA and was also been involved in the development of the new National 5 dance units. She also worked for the RAD to gain SCQF accreditation for all RAD Grades. Most recently she was selected to become a Tutor for the RAD and has been delivering CPD courses since 2014.


Charlotte Summers BA(Hons) Art and Teaching of Ballet, LRAD (Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Dance)

Registered teacher of RAD. ISTD CDE (MTB). Zumba Instructor

Charlotte trained at the Royal Academy of Dance, London, graduating with a BA(Hons) Art and Teaching of Ballet and Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Dance (L.R.A.D). Upon graduating, she choreographed her first professional ballet for Kent Youth Ballet, Assembly Theatre, Tunbridge Wells, as well as teaching freelance in London. Upon returning to her native Edinburgh, she went on to teach at the leading dance schools in the city, as well as in Fife, and lectured on the NC Dance Course at Adam Smith College, Kirkcaldy and guest lecturing at Edinburgh’s Telford College.

She has danced professionally in operas such as Die Zauberflote and L’Orfeo, under the direction of Gilbert Defoe and Jordi Savall. She has performed with the Edinburgh Mela and Zoonation Theatre Group as well as being involved in many Edinburgh Festivals as a dancer.


Lorna Scott RAD (PDTD)

Lorna trained at the Dance School of Scotland and Royal Ballet Upper School.

She was a soloist with Scottish Ballet and performed professionally with them for 14 years. During this time she worked with a variety of choreographers and performed in all the company's main classics and more contemporary works.

After retiring from the company Lorna re-trained with the Royal Academy of Dance gaining the Professional Dancer's Teaching Diploma with distinction. Following graduation, she worked at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts taking on the role as Ballet Teacher and Junior Conservatoire Coordinator. Lorna is now a freelance teacher and choreographer, she is also now an RAD CPD tutor.


Lucy Barnes BA(Hons) RAD (PDTD)

Registered teacher of the RAD. ISTD DDE.

Lucy trained in Glasgow at the Dance School of Scotland before studying at Central School of Ballet in London where she graduated in 2006 with a BA in Professional Dance and Performance.

She has since danced professionally in various countries worldwide, including China where she performed with Stephen Jefferies' Suzhou Ballet Company and most recently with the Friedrichstadtpalast Ballett in Berlin, Germany where she performed over 500 shows for theatre and made several television appearances.

Lucy returned to the UK this year to retrain at The Royal Academy of Dance for a Professional Dancer's Teaching Diploma.


Jillian Louis BA(Hons) Theatre Dance

Originally from Aberdeen, Jillian Thomson has been teaching and performing around the UK for the last twenty years. Jillian is a former student of Scottish Ballet Dance School and completed her training at London Studio Centre.

Since then Jillian has worked with an array of dance companies and choreographers in many different dance genres from Contemporary, Physical Theatre, Tap, Hip Hop, Breakdancing, and Aerial Dance. She has worked pre-dominantly with Freshmess Dance Company, Curious Seed, Plan B, and has worked with many of today's leading choreographer's Janet Smith (Scottish Dance Theatre)and Eddie Kay (DV8).

Jillian is also passionate about working within the community and has also spent her time in-between being on tour as a Dance Development Officer at citymoves dancespace co-ordinating classes, projects and mentoring. Jillian worked closely with the Scottish Arts Council to develop opportunities for local artists and the choreographic development of professional dancers in the North East of Scotland.

She began working for Danscentre in 2010 creating the piece Grafted that went on to win the first ever UK Dance Proms competition and was performed in The Royal Albert Hall in 2011. She is now a senior teacher at Danscentre.


Maxine Hamilton BA Classical Ballet & Dance Performance, DipHE Dance Education

Registered teacher of the RAD, ISTD DDI

Maxine attained a BA Classical Ballet & Dance Performance with Distinction at Ballet West and has also achieved a Diploma of Higher Education in Dance Education from the Royal Academy of Dance. She completed the graduate apprenticeship program (GAP) with Tempered Body Dance Theatre.

She has worked as a professional dancer and actress on projects including: The Cone Gatherers (Scottish Tour), Aladdin (Arts Centre), Red Riding Hood (Arts Centre, We Share (RichMix – London), White Night (Melbourne). 

During her time in London, Maxine was appointed the Director of Community Dance for contemporary company Tempered Body Dance Theatre and delivered workshops to dance students around England during their “It goes here now” tour.

Maxine has choreographed for corporate events, fashion shows and theatre productions. She has worked for YDance in the role of rehearsal assistant, Scottish Youth Theatre as movement director and for Ausdance Victoria delivering creative movement educational workshops in Melbourne. She has taught at various dance schools in the UK and in Australia, teaching ballet, jazz, modern and contemporary.


Douglas Moir BA (Hons) Dance And Musical Theatre Performance

ISTD DDI

Douglas trained at Danscentre before studying at Bird College in London where he graduated in 2013 with a BA (Hons) in Dance and Musical Theatre Performance.

Douglas worked as a freelance dancer in London before returning to Aberdeen to retrain with The Royal Academy of Dance for a certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies and recently completed the diploma in Dance Instruction with the ISTD.


Shelley Weston

Shelley Weston trained at Danscentre from 2010. She auditioned successfully for Millennium Performing Arts in London where she did a year of the Dance Diploma. She then re-joined Danscentre to study the RAD Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies and ISTD DDI.


Kathleen Thayne RAD (RTS)

Kathleen is originally from Baltimore, Maryland USA where she trained with the Baltimore County Youth Ballet and at summer programs for American Ballet Theatre and Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet.

She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Dance and Arts Administration from Goucher College, where she was fortunate to work with esteemed dancers and choreographers such as Kathleen Tracey, Zippora Karz, Robert Hill and John Clifford. Her favourite roles during this time were as one of the Russian Girls in Balanchine’s Serenade and as the Second Violin in Balanchine’s Concerto Barocco.

Kathleen married an Edinburgh native in 2006 and spent a year in London as the International Examinations Officer at RAD Headquarters before moving north to Edinburgh and then to Aberdeen where she lives with her husband and two lively daughters. She holds the Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies from the RAD.


Danielle Westland

Senior Administrator

Ashley Strachan

Administration Assistant


Emma McBoyle

Administration Assistant

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