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classes start Friday the 27th of January 2017

Leisa Payne School of Dance in Mackay with its experienced teachers provides:

NOW OFFERING MOMMY & ME AND PETITE MOVES
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The Future of Dance is Right Here

Let us fulfill your dreams, learn how to dance for enjoyment and success

Established in 1990, the Leisa Payne School of Dance has achieved great success, with many students currently studying at various National Training Institutions, and others furthering their careers professionally from Classical Ballet to Performing Arts.

Our aim is to provide every child with the tools, knowledge and understanding they need to excel in all dance styles. This is accomplished with a teaching staff who are fully qualified, with impressive performance and choreographic credits. All teachers are constantly updating their knowledge to provide the students with the best possible tuition, while encouraging and nurturing the joy of dance. 

We are very excited about our many accomplishments, and look forward to many more exciting prospects and opportunities in 2017.

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2016 Studio News

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Nearly 27 years ago, the Leisa Payne School of Dance was born from inspiration, and it hasn’t stopped since. 2016 is coming to an end, with an impressive record of achievements and goals. This outstanding success, and the superb standard seen here tonight is largely merited to the dedication and expertise of the teaching staff, who are devoted to the highest standards of dance instruction. Thank you also to the students who have given their very best at all times, and to the parents for their support and encouragement. Fabulous results and success aren’t achieved through luck or chance. It is a team effort, and we all make a great team.


Thank you also to Mr Petar Grulovic, Ms Juanita White, Ms Samantha Gordon and Ms Taylor Hey for their innovative and motivational teaching and choreography. The students benefit greatly from their expertise and experience. Taylor will be introducing Hip-Hop classes next year. A special congratulations to Samantha and her family on the birth of our new ballerina, Sierra. Ms Karen Muller also continues to give professional tuition to RAD Vocational Graded students. Lastly, but certainly not least, I would like to thank Ms Peta Comelli for joining our formidable team this year. She has introduced Acrobatic Arts (module one) to the students, and next month travels to the Sunshine Coast to study module two, and an extension programme. Her valuable work is not limited to the juniors, as she worked throughout the school in all areas of teaching. She came to my rescue many times, and is also responsible for introducing me to the modern era of technology and social media. Peta will be kept very busy with our new Petite Moves and Mummy & Me dance programs for 2017.


Excitedly, we introduce two new teachers to the staff for 2017. Ms Jan Mills, RAD Examiner, and holder of ARAD and RAD Advanced Teachers Diploma, and Mrs Robyn Franke, whose extensive study in many forms of dance, both in Australia and Overseas will strengthen the teaching ranks even further. Robyn will also introduce new pointe, repertoire and stretch/conditioning classes.


Before Term 1 commenced Peta, Taylor, Chloe Quinn and I travelled to the Sunshine Coast to complete Module 1 of the Acrobatic Arts Syllabus, which has been taught, and very well received in the school this year. You will see it on display tonight, and will also see how these skills have enhanced group and solo work. Module 2 will be introduced next year. Many of the students commenced the year with the Virtuosos Dance Workshop . It was a brilliant week of classes in all styles of dance taught by industry professionals. Congratulations to Morgan Buckton, Dominique Poots and Kirsten Willis for receiving workshop awards.

Most of our Grade 5 & 6 Modern Jazz classes, along with Juanita, Samantha, Taylor and myself travelled to Brisbane to learn the new CSTD syllabus, which gave them all a fantastic head start to the examination year. Followed by a CSTD Tap, Modern Jazz and Contemporary refresher course at the end of Term 1, mean’t the students were ready to perform at their very best in the CSTD exams in May, examined by Mrs Sharon Alback.


CSTD Tap, Modern Jazz and Contemporary students received the best results ever achieved for the studio with 131 Honours Plus and Honours from 168 exam entrants. Congratulations to Taylor Hey for receiving her Tap Teaching Diploma, and Morgan Buckton for receiving her Student Teaching Certificate for Modern Jazz and Tap.


Vocational Graded Classical ballet students travelled to Sydney and Brisbane for RAD workshops. They were also part of intense Vocational Graded and Graded workshop in Mackay given by Ms Heidi Landford, Ms Nicole Galea, and Ms Jan Mills. 


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The RAD Grade exam students received 20 Distinctions, 41 Merits and 3 Passes (Examiner Ching Ching Teo). 

Congratulations to the following Vocational Graded students (Examiner Gillian Davis):

INTERMEDIATE FOUNDATION: Abbie-Jane Whibley, Janine Schatkowski, Tamlyn Evans & Shayna Clarke (DISTINCTION) Shae Robinson & Zara Voll (MERIT)

INTERMEDIATE: Jordan Hayes, Jazmine Marsh (DISTINCTION) Ethan Philp, Ella Jackson, Teya Smith & Katie Egerton (MERIT)

ADVANCED FOUNDATION: Caitlin Whitfield (DISTINCTION) Rhiannon Rasmussen, Laura Connolly, Molly Kirkwood, Stevie Keating Van-Es & Erin McCartney (MERIT)

ADVANCED I: Emma Moir, Georgia Rudken, Kirsten Willis, Britney Worbey & Gabrielle Perkins (DISTINCTION)

ADVANCED II: Dominique Poots (DISTINCTION)


A New Studio logo was also introduced this year. All garments with the new logo have now become available, so we will all look amazing in 2017.


Other featured experiences throughout the year included the attendance of students at the Queensland Ballet Workshop in Mackay, and the Australian Dance Festival in Sydney, where Morgan Buckton successfully auditioned for Ev & Bow’s Full-time Dance Course. QB returned to Mackay later this year to give some extremely lucky ballet dancers including our very own Rori Paganoni, Keely Phelan and Kiara Catterall an opportunity to do a ballet class with QB dancer Joel Woellner promoting the Queensland Ballet and Suncorps Wish Upon a Star competition. Keely Phelan and Lila McGrath will travel to Brisbane in January 2017 to perform in the Brisbane Youth Ballet Company’s production of The Magic Faraway Tree. Rori Paganoni, Tahlia Doolan, Jessica Dobie, Demi Sammut, Abbie-Jane Whibley, Tamlyn Evans, Jordan Hayes and Emma Moir travelled to Townsville to compete in the semi-finals of the prestigious NQ Genee Dance Challenge. 


Throughout the year many students travelled to other eisteddfods including Burdekin, Gladstone, Townsville, Charters Towers, Bundaberg, Emerald, Rockhampton and Mackay’s very own Dance Festival. Congratulations to all students for the phenomenal results they received, especially from the recent Mackay Eisteddfod where the studio gained 64 First Placings, 12 Awards, 7 Championships and 6 Group Wins. Particular congratulations to Championship and Award winners throughout the year: Lachlan Doolan, Lila McGrath, Mackenzie Wotherspoon, Keely Phelan, Liam Shields, Rori Paganoni, Tahlia Doolan, Renae Camilleri, Mercia Horan, Jordan Hayes, Laura Connolly, Rhiannon Rasmussen, Kirsten Willis, Emma Moir, Georgia Sheedy, Dominique Poots, Amy Benson, Georgia Worbey, Morgan Buckton.


Georgia Rudken, Morgan Buckton, Amy Benson and Georgia Worbey are our graduating students this year. It is fitting for us to congratulate, remember and farewell these girls together, because they have formed a very close friendship with each other, a special bond with all the teachers, and have been such great role models for all the other students in the dance school. I would like to thank them for the many memories, and wish them the very best as they now move on to bigger and better experiences and adventures. You will forever remain in our hearts.


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