FIONA DEAR, HEAD OF BALLET | M.R.B. soc & P.D.T.A
Fiona Melvin (Dear) is Vice President of The Russian Ballet Society and Head Coordinator of The Russian Ballet Awards. She was trained at The Legat School of Russian Ballet, from where she graduated age 17 into The Scottish Ballet Company. During her twelve years as a professional ballet dancer, she danced solo roles in all the major productions including Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Romeo and Juliet and Giselle. The Telegraph newspaper acclaimed Fiona's portrayal of Juliet in "Such Sweet Thunder" at the Sadlers Wells theatre and she was one of the four cygnets in Swan Lake that the Dancing Times wrote "were the best they've ever seen!". Alongside her dancing career Fiona made her name as a professional choreographer. Three of her pieces, Highland Clearances, Ragtime and Skazka (a three act ballet for children commissioned by the Scottish Arts Council) became part of the Scottish Ballet repertoire. Fiona also choreographed Operas, stage shows and even a Royal Variety Performance. She was the Burberry and House of Fraser in house choreographer and was commissioned to put on a private fashion show for Princess Diana during Glasgow's year of culture. When Fiona left Scotland she joined the Russian Ballet Society where she gained her teacher and examiner status as well as the ISTD Ballet and most recently the Progressive Ballet technique qualifications. Fiona travels all over the world, to places such as Japan, Slovenia and Italy, examining and teaching and is looking forward to many happy years developing the young stars of North Star Academy!
MAXINE PERCY, HEAD OF MODERN & TAP | CDE & A.I.S.T.D Diplomas
Upon leaving Northern Ballet School, Maxine performed professionally in The King and I (Topsy), West Side Story (Graziella) both at The Leicester Haymarket, Cabaret at The Sheffield Crucible and Her Benny at The Liverpool Empire. Whilst at college she performed on numerous occasions at The Manchester Opera House and The Palace Theatre appearing alongside Elaine Paige, Richard Harris and Bernard Cribbens to name but a few. Maxine currently performs as a singer with Soulfish; credits include The Golden Jubilee (Buckingham Palace), Last Night of the Proms (Hyde Park), The Big Breakfast (Channel 4) and Night Fever with Suggs on Channel 5. Maxine founded Dance Design in 1996, which went on to be one of the UK’s most successful schools under her reign. She completed her CDE certificates in ISTD Ballet, Tap and Modern in March 2009 and is very much looking forward to taking on her role as Head of Modern Theatre and partner at North Star Academy.
LOUISA LANDON BARR, HEAD OF MUSICAL THEATRE & DRAMA | ADVDIP
Louisa trained to advanced level in Ballet, Tap, Modern, National and Greek and appeared in numerous pantomimes and plays, before at 16, joining The London Studio Centre to study theatre arts, having won the prestigious Dame Anna Neagle scholarship and full county bursary. Graduating a year early she was awarded the alumni medal for her performance as 'Charity' in the Fosse musical “Sweet Charity”. Louisa was spotted by the late great Harold Fielding and recommended for a role in a national tour of “Singin’ in the Rain" and promoted within months to play Lina Lamont (the silent film siren!) After touring for 6 months. Louisa took up a role in Blackpool's magnificent Tower Theatre as Jill in “Summer Holiday the musical”. She then made her debut as in the film “Essex Boys” alongside Alex Kingston, Tom Wilkinson and Sean Bean playing 'Gemma' a gangster’s girlfriend. The same year performing at the Brit awards as a backing dancer for Simply Red. Louisa then joined Effective Theatre Productions as Alice Fitz Warren in Dick Whittington with Jim Davidson at the Hammersmith Apollo. This role she continued to play each Christmas for 7years around different cities of the country. Louisa has also toured with the redoubtable Tommy Steele as his lead female singer in “A Night with Tommy” for a 6 month tour of Great Britain. She then played the part of Agnetha in an Abba Tribute Band and performed as a solo singer with Warner's Leisure, Butlins and Havens Holidays as well as in cabaret in girl duo Evoke. Louisa is very much looking forward to passing on her eclectic knowledge and experience in musical theatre to the very talented pupils of North Star Academy, and feels privileged to be working alongside such a wonderful and skilled teaching team at this amazing school. ‘What is Dance, but the sunshine of our days and the north star of our nights...’
SOPHIA MELVIN, HEAD OF JAZZ & CONTEMPORARY
Sophia is a Choreographer and Movement Director based in London. From large dance productions, to nuanced movement coaching, she has worked with award-winning directors and photographers for international clients, delivering exciting and complex work on brief. Sophia trained at The Arts Educational School, Tring Park and Laine Theatre Arts. Her performance credits include dancing with The English National Ballet Company (whilst still at Tring Park) in Romeo & Juliet, The Nutcracker and Swan Lake, voicing The Bumble Bee Fairy in Walt Disney’s animated feature film Tinkerbell and the Great Fairy Rescue and dancing in the Olivier Award Winning Drew McOnie’s contemporary dance film “A Twisted Tale”. Her choreographic accolades in Theatre include winning the Joanne Marden Blackwell Choreographic Award at The All England Dance Finals, winning The Barbara Sharples International Choreographic Award twice,, and various other recognitions at competitions like CYD?, The Dance World Cup and That's Showbiz. Sophia has also recently joined the Creative Team of The National Youth Ballet of Great Britain for their 2019 season at Sadlers Wells. Sophia's credits for screen include choreographing commercials for crocs, Avon, Pringles and Highland Spring, as well as numerous music videos, live shows and print work for Vanity Fair’s Suspiria-themed September issue. Sophia is excited to be teaching and choreographing for North Star Academy and their talented students.
DOUGIE MILLS, GUEST TAP TEACHER & CHOREOGRAPHER
Douglas is lucky enough to have been performing in the entertainment industry for over 18 years. During this time Douglas has had the opportunity to perform in many different roles. His career started off in the well know Australian show “Tap Dogs” and he quickly went on to play the lead role and became resident director. Douglas has also appeared in some amazing Television shows which most recently included “Strictly Come Dancing”. Douglas was also a featured dancer in the Take That Circus tour, Tap dancing live to crowds of up to 90,000 people. Choreography has also played a large part in Douglas’ career. This has included corporate events for companies such as Toyota and Mercedes. In theatre some of Douglas’ choreographic credits include several Royal Variety Performances, Tap choreographer for Darcey Bussell and Katherine Jenkins in Viva La Diva and Strictly Gershwin at the Royal Albert Hall. His most recent choreographic credits include choreographing Adam Garcia and Kimberley Wyatt for the TV show Got To Dance and Tap Choreographer for the West End Production of Revolution.
YASMIN CROTCH, COMMERCIAL & JAZZ
Yasmin Crotch is a triple-threat performer. She graduated with a diploma from the Urdang Academy after studying there for three years. From 2012 to 2013 she was the lead female artist in the dance group Four Corners. From 2013 to 2017 she was a dancer, singer and rapper in the urban pop group Alien Uncovered. Yasmin has extensive experience in music videos and high profile event performances, including Strictly Come Dancing, Britain’s Got Talent, X factor and Olympics to name a few. She is excited to pass on her experiences to the next generation of dancers at North Star Academy.
EMILY DUNN, GUEST TEACHER
Emily began her dance training at Dance Design and then went on to gain a BA Hons degree in Musical Theatre from the Arts Educational School London. Her professional Theatre credits include; Rizzo in Grease (Royal Caribbean), Ensemble/Understudy Rizzo and Jan in Grease (Royal Caribbean), Ensemble/Understudy Sophie in Mamma Mia (Novello Theatre London, West End), Jenna in the Goodbye Girl (Upstairs at the Gatehouse), Handmaiden in The Oresteia (Shakespeare’s Globe), Soloist on BBC Radio 2’s Friday Night is Music Night and Ensemble in Guys and Doll’s (Cadogan Hall.), as well as getting the opportunity to perform at the Olivier Awards with Benny and Bjorn Ulvaeus and the cast of Mamma Mia. Next, Emily will be appearing in this year’s Thursford Christmas Spectacular as a Soprano singer. Emily is absolutely thrilled to be joining the team and to be teaching the talented pupils of North Star Academy!
BETHANY HUCKLE, GUEST TEACHER
Theatre includes: Ensemble in 42nd Street (Theatre Royal, Drury Lane), Flo in Half a Sixpence (Noel Coward Theatre), Alice in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Regent’s Park Open Air), Cinderella (Theatre Royal, Plymouth), Diana Divane in Lend Me a Tenor, Polly Brown in The Boy Friend and Felicia in The Witches of Eastwick (Urdang Academy) and ensemble/cover Princess in Cinderella (Evolution Productions). Workshops include: Mrs Henderson Presents.