Dance School Teaching Faculty
Graham School of Dance’s high standards and reputation for excellence are maintained by the dedicated, highly qualified and experienced teachers in the team. All staff are subject to Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) checks (Enhanced Disclosure).
The Dance School has a pro-active programme of Continuing Professional Development and has close working relationships with Dance and Drama accreditation bodies such as the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing (ISTD), London Academy of Music & Dramatic Art (LAMDA) and AQA.
ARAD RAD RTS (Principal)
Aileen established Graham School of Dance in 1990, initially at one venue, but expanding over 28 years to cover a wide local area in Hertfordshire and Essex. She trained firstly in Manchester, then at The Royal Ballet School before returning to the north-west to complete her training at Northern Ballet School. She worked and taught in Italy and the USA before returning to the UK to set up her own School.
Aileen is extremely proud to have trained the only UK female candidate chosen to take part in the 2016 Prix de Lausanne Ballet competition. This prestigious international dance competition, held annually in Switzerland, is for young dancers seeking to pursue a professional career in classical ballet, and many former prize winners of the competition are now leading stars with major ballet companies around the world. Miss Graham's candidate was also the first UK pupil training at a non-vocational, part-time school to be chosen since 1973, to add to this exciting achievement. Aileen was delighted that the Graham School of Dance candidate was offered 4 scholarship places at European Vocational Dance Schools to continue her full-time training, and accepted the place at the Royal Ballet School in London, where she has now commenced.
Aileen has also trained several pupils, both girls and boys, who have attained full-time places at top UK Vocational Schools, such as the Royal Ballet School, Elmhurst School for Dance, English National Ballet School and Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance.
In the Royal Academy of Dance UK Genée Dance Challenge competition, Aileen trained the Vocational Level 1 winner of the 2018 competition, as well as the Level 1 winner in 2015 AND the Level 1 winners in 2014 and 2012 too! Aileen has also been successful at European level - in 2014 she trained two pupils who won places to represent the UK in the RAD Genée Challenge competition at Level 1 and Level 2, with one pupil then going on to win Level 2 overall in the European Finals in Antwerp!
At international level again, in 2019 Aileen's Ballet group was chosen to represent Team England at the Dance World Cup and was placed 4th in the world!
Aileen has choreographed numerous award-winning pieces for successive national All England Dance competitions, with Medalists and Finalists with solos, duets, trios, quartets and groups - and with many pieces attaining top 3 places with Gold, Silver and Bronze medals - most recently at the 2019 All England Dance national Finals, as well as at the 2017, 2015 and 2013 Finals. IN 2019
At the 2017 Finals, seven of her Classical and Modern Ballet groups won Finals places, and sixteen Classical and Modern Ballet solos/duets/trios, with pieces again attaining Gold, Silver and Bronze medals, including her Senior Modern Ballet group piece, Noir, not only attaining 1st place and the Gold medal, but being requested to dance in the prestigious end of Finals Gala. A pupil trained by Aileen also won through to compete in the prestigious All England Dance Young Ballet Dancer competition at the 2015 Finals.
At the 2015 All Engand Finals, as well as for Noir Aileen's pupils won Gold medals (1st places) for their Classical Ballet group Primrose (age 12 & under), for her Modern Ballet duet age 14 years and also her Classical Ballet trio (age 9 & under), for which tit was a unanimous Gold. Silver medals (2nd places) were attained for her Classical Ballet solo age 11, Modern Ballet solo age 14, Classical Ballet trio age 12 & under and Classical Ballet duet age 9 & under. Bronze medals (3rd places) were won for her Classical Ballet group age 15 & under, Modern Ballet group age 15 & under, Classical Ballet group age 9 & under, Modern Ballet solo age 16, and Classical Ballet solos age 11 and also age 16.
At the 2013 Finals, Aileen's pupils attained several top 3 placings, including Silver medals for their Classical Ballet solo age 11, Classical Ballet duet age 9 & under, and Classical Ballet group age 15 & under, and Bronze medal for her student for her Modern Ballet solo age 14 years.
As well as being Principal of Graham School of Dance, Aileen teaches Classical Ballet and Modern Ballet, and enters pupils at all levels of RAD Ballet Grades, including Vocational Grades up to and including Advanced 2. Students in 2014, 2015 and 2016 havee attained Distinction for their RAD Advanced 2 Ballet exam, thus enabling them to enter the prestigious RAD International Genée competition.
Aileen is fully registered with the Royal Academy of Dance, and has been involved with the RAD Regional Advisory Committee for the Midlands & East of England region, liaising with the Academy, and supporting fellow teacher members and pupils: she organises Scholarship days, meetings and special teaching sessions with Examiners to support pupils as well as teachers in their continuing professional development. As well as running Graham School of Dance, she is married with three children.
Deputy Principal, AISTD, IBB, NB, MTBdip, TB dip
Madeline Tugwell is Deputy Principal and teaches Tap, Modern, Jazz, Classical Ballet and National Dance at Graham School of Dance, to children aged 3 up through the Grades to seniors at Vocational Grade level. She trained at Stella Mann College, and previously was Principal of her own dance school in Hemel Hempstead; she joined Graham School of Dance in 1991, and has taught winning group and solo Modern, Tap and Ballet dance pieces, including for the All England Dance competition..
Dip. RBS (TTC), ARAD, AISTD (CF, NF), RAD RTS, Head of Ballet
Judith Harris trained with Miss Graham at Graham School of Dance from the age of 11, and was an associate at London Senior Ballet and Central School of Ballet. She also performed with the National Youth Ballet of Great Britain from 1989-1994. At 15, Judith gained a coveted place at The Royal Ballet Upper School, graduating with their Teachers Training Course Diploma in 1997. During her time at RBS she had many opportunities to perform with the company in ‘walk on’ roles and enjoyed assisting and teaching at White Lodge, Upper School and for the Associate Programme, and also for Graham School of Dance and at London Junior Ballet.
As well as Classical Ballet, Judith is qualified to teach Royal Ballet Repertoire, Character, Classical Spanish Dance and Contemporary Dance, and holds the Pilates Institute Mat-work Certificate. Judith also gained her Royal Academy of Dance, Cecchetti Ballet and National Advanced exams, and holds Registered Teacher status with the RAD. She also has her Imperial Society (ISTD) Cecchetti Ballet and National Dance Teaching Associate and Benesh Dance Notation exams. Judith was awarded the Joan Lawson National Dance Prize upon graduation and was runner up in both the Cecchetti Cyril Beaumont Award and Ninette de Valois Choreographic Competition.
Judith joined the staff of The National Youth Ballet in 1997 and has been regularly involved with the company as Choreographer, Repetiteur, Ballet Mistress and company teacher. Many of her student contacts at NYB are now world renowned dancers in top ballet companies and in the musical theatre and commercial dance industries.
In 1998 Judith returned to Graham School of Dance as a teacher, and has taught students of all age groups throughout the school and in various branches. She is delighted to have been involved in the successful preparation and training of a Graham School of Dance student for the prestigious international 2016 Prix de Lausanne Ballet competition. The GSD student chosen was the UK's first non-vocational school candidate chosen since 1973, and indeed the only UK female competitor for 2016. Her participation resulted in the student accepting a full time vocational place to continue her training at the Royal Ballet School. Judith has also trained several other pupils at Graham School of Dance who have then furthered their training at the Royal Ballet School in London, as well as at Elmhurst School for Dance, Rambert School of Ballet & Contemporary Dance and English National Ballet School. She is extremely grateful for the excellent preparation Graham School of Dance gave her for her career to date. She has choreographed many Classical group and solo pieces for festivals, which have regularly been taken through and placed at the prestigious All England Dance Finals and indeed won Gold, Silver & Bronze medalsat national level. Judith prepares students for their RAD exams, auditions, competitions and is also trained to teach the Pre-School Melody Bear © syllabus, which introduces dance and movement to the youngest pupils at Graham School of Dance.
Judith is also a cover teacher for the Associate Programme at The Royal Ballet School and has regularly taught company class for the Chelmsford Ballet Company. Amongst her choreographic credits Judith featured in and created the classwork and fairy dances for the award winning Dance like the Flower Fairies DVD.
Judith is married with three young children, a farm and a dog!
LISTD, RAD RTS, CDE, Head of Tap and Modern Dance
Hannah Davies is a fully registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance as well as having attained her Licentiate from the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing. She trained at Stella Mann College, having been taught by Aileen Graham at Graham School of Dance. Hannah teaches ISTD Modern Dance, Tap and Contemporary and Royal Academy of Dance Classical Ballet for Graham School of Dance, at both Grade and Vocational Grade level, and also invitation classes for pupils with particular potential in Modern, Tap and Contemporary Dance.
She creates and teaches award-winning solo, duet, trio, quartet and group choreography for dance festivals. Her pieces have won Gold, Silver and Bronze medals in competitions, most recently at the 2019 All England Dance natinal Finals. Numerous pieces also reached the Finals of the 2017, 2015 and 2013 All England Dance competitions.
Hannah trained the winner of the Junior Section of the ISTD Modern Theatre Dance Janet Cram competition, and has trained pupils who have reached the Janet Cram Finals every year since 2007.
She is also fully trained to teach Melody Bear ® introductory classes for our youngest pupils.
Her performing experience includes employment as a professional dancer performing on cruise ships around the African coast & Mediterranean.
LISTD, Cert Ed, Trinity Diploma in Musical Theatre
Selina teaches Classical Ballet, Tap, Modern Dance, Jazz, Musical Theatre and Drama at Graham School of Dance at The Studios at Bishop’s Stortford and our Takeley and Felsted branches, including working with All England Dance pupils who have reached the 2015 Finals. She trained at Laine Theatre Arts, successfully completing the 3 year Dance and Musical Theatre course, and has attained her Licentiate of the ISTD. Selina joined Graham School of Dance in 2010 and her professional experience includes contracts as a Cabaret Singer with Showcase Entertainments on cruise ships as well as around Europe.
RAD RTS (PTDT Dis) ARAD
Catherine is a fully registered teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance having qualified from the RAD's Professional Dancers' Teaching Diploma with Distinction. She trained locally before her full time training at English National Ballet School, and previously at Central School of Ballet and Tring Park School for the Performing Arts (formerly Arts Educational School, Tring Park). She was selected from school to join English National Ballet and has performed with the company around the world. Catherine teaches Classical Ballet for Graham School of Dance, and is married with two children.
ISTD DDI and DDE
Emily teaches Classical Ballet, Contemporary Dance, Tap, Street and Modern Dance at Graham School of Dance at The Studios at Bishop’s Stortford and at our branches, having trained at the School as a child. She then moved on to train full time at Performers College, successfully graduating with her Diploma in Professional Dance and The Performers College Diploma, and in addition with her DDI Teaching Training qualification. In 2018 she has also completed the DDE qualification level at Graham School of Dance. Emily performed with The National Youth Ballet of Great Britain for several seasons, supplemented her training by additionally studying at Central School of Ballet n their Pre-Senior courses for several years, and also danced with London Children's Ballet and as a backing dancer for Tom Prior and featured dancer for Joe Novelli’s music video,
Chelsey is a former Graham School of Dance pupil, and now teaches at The Studios as well as at our branches. She teaches Ballet, Tap, Modern Dance, Street Dance and Musical Theatre, to pupils from the age of 3 to teens. She also teaches Melody Bear ® to our youngest pupils at the School, introducing pre-school children to Dance, Music and Movement. She has completed her ISTD DDI training, lives near Bishop's Stortford and has two young children.
Toni Dimmock teaches Ballet, Modern Theatre, Tap and Street Dance for Graham School of Dance to children from the age of 3 as well as Melody Bear classes for our youngest pre-school children ages 2 - 3. Toni qualified as a Dance Teacher having studied at Preston College Dance Academy, and formerly trained at Jason Theatre School. She is also a qualified Zumba Instructor. Toni danced professionally for several years, most recently for Princess Cruises on the P & O Pacific Sun, including creating choreography whilst on board ship, and singing and acting too. She also performed for Costa Cruises and Regent Seven Seas.