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Amba Hawley (McKee) - Principal  - Celebrating 13 Years!

With an extensive background in performance, training and teaching experience spanning 25 years: specialising in classical ballet, choreography, artistic direction, pointe, pas de deux, Jazz and Contemporary.

Training Qualifications

Bachelor of Dance - Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) 

Post Grad. Dip. in Classical Ballet Teaching - VCA  

Post Grad. Dip. in Contemporary Dance Teaching- VCA

Certificate in Performing Arts - Dance World 301

Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) examinations up to Elementary- National Theatre Ballet School 

Full Time Classical Ballet - National Theatre Ballet School

RAD - New Grades 1 - 3, New Grades 1 -3 Character Course

RAD - New Intermediate Foundation, Intermediate and Advanced 2

RAD Regional Advisory Panel Melbourne/Tasmania

Teaching Experience

Principal Love to Dance School of Ballet - 10 years - All levels Classical Ballet, Jazz and Contemporary

Keen to Dance School of Ballet - Kindy Ballet, Jazz, Grades 1 - 8

Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School(VCASS)

Musical Theatre Workshops - for Actors and Musicians - VCA

Creative Dance Workshops for Secondary School students

Hip Hop Arty Parties - Boxhill Community Centre

Creative Movement for 1-2 year olds - Yarraville Community Centre

Adult Jazz/Funk - Yarraville Community Centre

Dance for People with Disability - Yarraville Community Centre


Karen Stephens - Royal Academy of Dance Examiner

Education and Experience

Education in classical dance with Kathleen Gorham

Australian Ballet School

Professional dancer in Australia and Europe

Taught classical dance at the Victorian College of the Arts, under the direction of Anne Woolliam for 7 years.

Long term studies in teaching at the Princess Grace Academie de Dance, Monte Carlo, with Madame Marika Besobrasova as well as with other important professors of dance worldwide.

1978 founded the Karen Stephen’s Academy of Dance, renamed Melbourne Dance Academy (M.D.A.) in 1992.

Trained many students with outstanding results in international competitions and achieved successful careers in professional dance throughout the world.

2005 became a Graded Examiner of the Royal Academy of Dance.

Continues to Teach at M.D.A, RAD workshops and private schools in Australia and overseas.


Isabella Gilbert – Kindy and Primary Ballet

Isabella has 17 years training in classical ballet and 10 years in jazz and contemporary.

‘Most Outstanding Pupil’ (2013),

‘Highest Mark in a Vocational Examination’ (2014),

‘Most outstanding Choreography’ (2014, 2016) and the

‘Perpetual Jazz Award’ (2016).

She has also received Encouragement Awards at the RAD Graded and Vocational workshops. Beyond dance, Isabella is a professional actor and singer who has performed at the La Mama Theatre Carlton, MYER Christmas events, Her TV credits include Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and Dr Blake Mysteries for the ABC, and in a variety of television commercials.

Isabella is currently completing her Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne University in Theatre and Performance Studies.


Emily Anketell – Jazz and Tap

Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School – Year 7 – 12 with extensive training in Classical ballet, jazz, contemporary, world dance, acrobatics, tap and hip hop. 

Certificate II in Dance