Introducing our Summer School staff

4th July 2024

Introducing our Summer School staff

This year’s Summer School is just around the corner! We’re delighted to announce the teaching staff who will be leading classes and workshops this July.

Dan Baines – Rambert School Alumna

Dan Baines is a freelance dance artist based in London. He attended Swindon Dance’s Centre for Advanced Training and was a member of National Youth Dance Company before graduating from Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance with a First-Class Honours degree in 2020. Dan has worked with many choreographers including Damien Jalet, Christopher Bruce, Akram Khan, Matthew Bourne and Maxine Doyle. He toured with BalletBoyz in their programme Deluxe last year before performing in the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham as well as dancing in House Of Flamenka at The Peacock Theatre under the direction of Arlene Phillips. Dan’s most recent production was Handel’s Messiah at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, choreographed by Tom Jackson Greaves, where he danced alongside Jemima Brown.

Paul Clarke – Rambert School Faculty

Paul had his early dance training in Leicester, moving to London in 1980 to continue his training at the Rambert School of Ballet. Paul’s first professional engagement took him to Düsseldorf, Germany where he joined the Deutsche Oper Am Rhein ballet company performing in ballets by George Balanchine, Jirí Kylián, Heinz Spoerli, Erich Walter and Roland Petit.

Paul also danced with Malmö Staadts Theatre, Sweden and in 1988 returned to Germany where he was engaged by Hannover State Opera and promoted to first soloist performing all leading roles in both classical and contemporary ballets. While in Hannover, Paul was given the opportunity to design several ballet stage sets and costumes for the Hannover State Opera, and decided to return to London in order to pursue a career as a theatre designer, graduating from Wimbledon School of Art in 1999. His design credits include Operas, Ballets, Contemporary Dance, Children’s Theatre productions and West End Musicals (La Cava / Rat Pack: Live from Las Vegas).
During this period Paul also continued to work as a freelance dancer and from 1998-2005 performed the role of The Snowman for the Birmingham Repertory Theatre (Birmingham / London; Peacock Theatre).

In 2006 Paul retrained as a dance teacher graduating from the Professional Dancers Teaching Course (PDTD) at the Royal Academy of Dance, with distinction. Paul has taught at the Hammond School in Chester and in 2007 rejoined the Rambert School of Dance as a full-time member of the ballet faculty where he has had the pleasure of teaching for the past seventeen years. Paul has worked as External Examiner on the R.A.D’s PDTD’s course and continues to teach summer schools both nationally and internationally. Paul was recently awarded a Fellowship of Higher Education (FHEA).

Paul spearheaded Rambert School’s Gender Non-specific training program and recently took part in Rambert School’s inaugural research seminar at St.Hilda’s College, Oxford University has also given talks and workshops at NorthernSchool of contemporary dance and Central School.

Ihsaan de Banya – Guest Artist

Ihsaan has danced with Richard Alston Dance Company, Candoco, Clod Ensemble, James Wilton Dance and Carte Blanche performing various works nationally and internationally. He has also worked in a freelance capacity on projects with artists including Trisha Okinawa, Renaud Wiser and James Cousins. Alongside performing he has had a consistent teaching practice, facilitating dance for young people on programs such as the The Place’s CAT scheme, English National Ballet’s Dance Journeys, and The Royal Ballets Primary Steps. He was also a contributor in developing the Creative Dance for Early Years as part of the Rambert Grades Syllabus.

Joshua Ecob – Rambert School Faculty

Born in Nottinghamshire, Joshua started his training at KSDance. From 2010, Joshua danced for the Serbian National Ballet, then the Bosnian National Ballet before returning to the UK and joining London Contemporary Ballet Theatre. After returning home, Joshua completed his teacher training at The Royal Ballet School. He works extensively as a guest teacher and private coach, both across the UK and internationally. Joshua works closely with students to refine their technique, preparing them for school auditions, assessments, and professional auditions. He continues to regularly choreograph for Midland Theatre Ballet, South West Theatre Ballet, and Belfast Theatre Ballet and teaches at other national summer schools, workshops and intensives.

“I’m most looking forward to meeting and working with a group of new students. Seeing the individuality, personality, and artistry that they bring to each class and hopefully seeing them gain new tools and experiences that will help with their journeys as dancers.”

Ayumi Hikasa – Rambert School Faculty

Ayumi Hikasa was born in Tokyo and trained at the Noriko Kobayashi Ballet School and The Royal Ballet School. She worked with The Royal Ballet and the Sadler’s Wells Royal Ballet, including an America tour, before joining the National Ballet of Portugal, based in Lisbon.

She was soon performing soloist roles such as the second variation in La Bayadere and the Pas de Trois in Swan Lake. During her second year, she began performing principal parts including both the Russian and Waltz girls in Serenade and the lead in Theme and Variations. Returning to the UK, she joined London City Ballet and at the end of her first six months she appeared as the Sugar Plum Fairy in Nutcracker, after which she was promoted to Soloist.

During the following year she performed many roles including the Pigtail Girl in Graduation Ball, Flower Festival Pas de Deux and Le Corsaire Pas de Deux, before being promoted to Principal. Her subsequent roles included the Don Quixote Pas de Deux and the title roles in the company’s full length productions of Cinderella and Romeo and Juliet. At London City Ballet’s Christmas season at Sadlers Wells Theatre, she performed the lead role of Odette/Odile in Swan Lake. Ayumi was also invited to dance the lead role of Swanhilda in a performance of Brenda Last’s production of Coppelia in Tokyo.

After leaving London City Ballet, Ayumi was chosen by Gillian Lynne to join the cast of The Phantom of the Opera in the West End as the first Japanese cast member. Still maintaining her contact with the ballet world, she guested with both stars of British and Russian Ballet and as Guest Principal with the Wiener Ballet Theatre, touring extensively in Germany, Switzerland and Sweden. She also performed the Sleeping Beauty Pas de Deux, with her husband, at the 3rd Seoul International Ballet Festival in Korea. They were the first couple to be invited to represent the United Kingdom.

Ayumi joined Northern Ballet Theatre, where she danced the role of Odile in their new production of Swan Lake and, at the company’s Sadlers Wells season, she danced the Elder Sister in Christopher Gable’s Cinderella. She also performed the role of Charlotte Bronte in Gillian Lynne’s production of The Brontes.

She moved on from her dance career into teaching and produced a version of Coppelia for Saga Ballet Company in Japan using several UK Guest Artists, including Martin Lindinger of Rambert Dance Company, as it was then known. She is also a qualified gymnastics coach and was an assistant coach at Heathrow Gymnastics club.

Seirian Griffiths – Rambert School Alumna

Seirian is a movement artist and musician originally from Nottingham. He grew up training Jujitsu, ballet, and circus, before pursuing contemporary dance as a teenager and going on to train at Rambert School. Since graduating he has performed with BalletBoyz, Punchdrunk, as well as done numerous freelance, commercial, and self-led projects. His movement practice is informed by the varied approaches he has experienced in his own training, and hopes to allow a way to approach complex and challenging pathways through the lens of adaptability, efficiency, and most importantly, enjoyment.

He says: “I’m excited to experience the fresh and eager energy of younger dancers, and have the chance to share the way I think about movement and creativity. I’m interested to see how they will respond to and embody what I propose in the sessions – learning always goes both ways!”

Hannah Kidd – Rambert School Faculty

Hannah began her training at Elmhurst Ballet School and then went onto London Contemporary Dance School where she completed her BA Hons and later her MA with distinction.

In 2007 Hannah joined Richard Alston Dance Company, with whom she performed for six years both nationally and internationally. In late 2012 Hannah was nominated for the National Dance Award’s Outstanding Female Performer. As a freelance dancer she has performed for many other leading companies and choreographer’s, notably New Movement Collective, Didy Veldman, Ashley Page, Darren Ellis and Mark Bruce. Hannah was part of the original cast for Bruce’s ‘Dracula’ which was winner of the Sky Arts South Bank Award 2014.

Alongside performing Hannah has taught in many of the UK’s dance conservatoires on both the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at London Contemporary Dance School, at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, Central School of Ballet and at Trinity Laban, as well as for companies Richard Alston Dance Company, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventure’s and Mark Bruce Company.


Natalie Dodd – Rambert School Alumna

Born in Surrey, Natalie began dancing at the age of five at Susan Robinson’s School of Ballet and progressed onto vocational training at the age of sixteen at Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, graduating in 2013 with a First Class BA Honours Degree. In 2016, she completed a Postgraduate Diploma through the Northern School of Contemporary Dance and used this to gain a Masters Degree, achieving a Distinction in both qualifications.

She has performed works by choreographers such as Kerry Nicholls, Mark Baldwin and Kenneth MacMillan. She has worked with the English National Opera, The Royal Shakespeare Company (in her second year of training) and artists such as Alexandra Green Dance and Douglas Thorpe. Natalie joined the Mark Bruce Company as an Apprentice Dancer for its 2015-2016 season and tour of The Odyssey, throughout the South West of England. Most recently, she performed at The Royal Albert Hall as part of BBC Proms which was aired online and on television.

Alongside performing, Natalie has taught in establishments including London Studio Centre, Exeter College, The Place and Northern School of Contemporary Dance. In addition, she has taught in an extensive number of children’s dance schools and adult classes around Surrey, specialising in Contemporary Dance and Ballet but branching out to genres such as Tap and Jazz.

Harry Theadora Foster – Rambert School Alumna

Harry (he/him) was born in Los Angeles and moved to the UK as a child. He trained at Rambert School, graduating with a First Class BA (Honours) in 2022. Now a London-based dance artist and choreographer, he joined Akram Khan Company on their production of Jungle Book reimagined in 2022. He has also had the privilege of working with and performing works by Christopher Bruce, Richard Alston, Richard Chappell and Tim Casson (Casson and Friends Dance), among others. He has created a number of dance films and staged his own work in the UK, as well as co-founding Elbow Dance Collective in 2021.

Benji Knapper – Rambert School Alumna

Benji (he/they) is a London-based freelance artist. Benji trainedRambert School before joining Balletboyz in 2018. During their time with BalletBoyz, Benji has performed many shows with works by Maxine Doyle, Xie Xin, Holly Blakey, Christopher Wheeldon, Vidya Patel, Thick & Tight, Russell Maliphant, Edd Arnold, Ivan Perez, Shelley Maxwell and more. Benji has also worked with James Cousins Company, Shaper Caper, DeNada Dance Theatre and Staatsoper Unter Den Linden.

Benji is thrilled to be facilitating class on the Easter Course and is most looking forward to the energy young dancers bring to the space and seeing their growth over the week.

Elaini Lalousis – Rambert School Alumna

Elaini Koula Lalousis started her training  at various youth programs including the Northern Ballet Associate program, Phoenix Dance Theatre Youth Company & NSCD CertHe. She later went on to study at Rambert School where she worked with Mathew Bourne’s New Adventures, Akram Khan, Hofesh Shechter and choreographer Ana Maria Lucaciu.  Since graduating in July 2023 with first class Honours, Elaini has been pursuing a freelance career and has recently performed at the Royal Opera House’s Festival of New Choreography and Autumn Draft Works alongside numerous national companies.

Marie–Astrid Mence – Guest Artist

Marie-Astrid Mence was a former student of the Higher National Conservatory of Music and Dance in Paris and a scholarship student at Alvin Ailey School. She joined Ballet Black in 2014 up to 2021 and Phoenix Dance Company in 2015 touring in the UK and Europe.

In February 2016, she was promoted dancer of the month by the Dancing Times UK. From 2018 to 2022, Marie-Astrid featured in Disney’s series Find Me in Paris, OCS production series L’Opera, Ulu’s series Spellbound as a body double for the lead actress and featured in Netflix’s Queen Charlotte as a dancer. At the end of 2020, Marie-Astrid shared her story in the Nowness short film The Truth of Being a Black Ballerina by Rebecca Murray.

In the same year, she performed a 15-minute solo in Oklahoma! as the lead dancer at the Young Vic. In 2023, she made her West End debut at the Wyndhams Theatre. Recently, Marie-Astrid performed as a TEDX speaker in Paris where she talked about the notion of success and the courage to find our voice in an unfair and discriminatory environment. Throughout her career, she has delivered workshops and ballet technique to companies such as Phoenix Dance Theatre, Corey Baker Dance, New Adventures and The Place and schools such as Rambert School, Cecchetti Associates, Artistry Youth Dance, CAT program at The Place and schools partnering with English National Ballet through the Ballet Futures Program.

Robbie Ordona – Guest Artist

Robbie is a Dancer and Choreographer from London. He started his professional training at The BRIT School then went on to train at LIPA. Robbie has worked as a dancer for choreographers like Akram Khan (Breathless Puppets) and Jason Mabana (Ina Ama), as well as being featured in the movie Everybody’s Talking about Jamie, and most recently touring internationally with Kate Prince’s Message in a Bottle.

Robbie has taught workshops across the UK and Europe. Sharing his unique style, that strives to create intricate, meaningful, and new movement matched with complex musicality inspired by both his Hip-Hop and Contemporary training. This is Robbie’s second piece of choreography for Rambert School, so we can’t wait to welcome him back.

Alice Tagliento – Guest Artist

Sarah Toner – Guest Artist

My dancing career began with the National Ballet of Portugal, followed by London City Ballet, which has just reformed after 30 years! I then took a break from classical companies and pursued a freelance career which resulted in some amazing experiences; a world tour with the Pet Shop Boys being one of the highlights.

I now coach and mentor students from all over the world; preparing them for school and company auditions; plus supporting their regular training and building confidence!

She says: “I have been affiliated with Rambert School for many years and feel so much love and joy when working with their students. I’m looking forward to a fun and creative time with the summer school cohort of dancers; these are intense and busy weeks with a real buzz to them. I am always excited to see the choreographic skills of the students; it’s awe inspiring! And the performances at the end of each week are an exciting and proud moment for students, staff and families.”

Kio Tomiyama – Rambert School Faculty

Kio Tomiyama (MA FHEA) was born in Japan and trained there in classical ballet. She came to the UK to study at Rambert School in 1993. From 1996-2002 she danced professionally in Japan. In 2002, she qualified from the Pilates Teacher Training Course at Alan Herdman Pilates and since then has taught Pilates at Alan Herdman Studios, Chelsea Harbour Club, Royal Academy of Dance and Millenium Dance 2000. Kio started to teach Pilates at Rambert school in 2005, and since 2007 has been involved in rehabilitation after injury and injury management / prevention as part of the Screening, Treatment and Rehabilitation Unit (STRU) at Rambert School. As her passion to provide “the most efficient way to support students physically and psychologically”. She also gained a diploma (BCNH) in Nutrition Therapy in 2012 and became a Neuro Linguistic programming (NLP) practitioner and a coach (Phil Parker Institute) in 2020. She has achieved a Fellowship in Advance Higher Education (FHEA). 

She studied an MA in Research in Practice at Rambert School from 2021-2023, focusing on the impact of NLP and coaching in dance education. 


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