Meet the Team

Sophia Pedersen

Dip Musical Theatre and Performing Arts NZAMD Tap, NZAMD Jazz
Sophia trained with The Wellington Performing Arts Company gaining a Diploma in Musical Theatre and Performing Arts. She subsequently spent many years performing and choreographing a number of wonderful stage shows. Musical Theatre is one of Sophia’s greatest passions and nothing motivates her more than developing children’s talents through performance and dance. Sophia is a qualified teacher in the NZAMD tap, jazz, musical theatre and ballet syllabuses.

Alicia Chadwick-cook

AISTD, Dip Theatre Arts & Dip Teachers of Dance
Alicia has been dancing since the age of three. She has an Associate Diploma teachers’ qualification with the ISTD in Imperial Ballet and Modern Theatre Dance. In 2008, she graduated from East Auckland Performing Arts with a Diploma in Theatre Dance and Performing Arts. She gained Honours with Distinction for her Teachers of Dancing Diploma, and has reached Advanced Two level in both ISTD Imperial ballet and ISTD Modern, and Advanced One in Tap. Alicia’s dance and teaching repertoire includes jazz, tap, ballet, contemporary, lyrical, musical theatre and hip-hop. She has studied and trained in the ISTD, NZAMD & RAD syllabuses. She danced professionally with FUZE dance company.

Alana Tod

AISTD, Modern Jazz and Ballet
Alana manages most of the jazz and hip-hop syllabuses, making her one of NSPA’s busiest teachers. She began her dance career learning ballet as a child, but soon picked up jazz, hip-hop and contemporary. By age 16, Alana was a dance addict, and she has gone on to reach Advanced Two level in ISTD Modern, and Intermediate in ISTD Ballet. She has an ISTD Associate Diploma teachers’ qualification in Imperial Ballet and Modern Theatre Dance and is a registered NZAMD syllabus teacher. Alana teaches students of all levels, and her greatest satisfaction comes from helping them grow, develop and reach their goals. She is also an acclaimed competition choreographer (winning awards for ‘Most Outstanding Troupe’ for musical theatre) and a major contributor to NSPA’s end-of-year performances.

Gemma Boswell

Gemma began tap dancing the age of four. A year later she was dancing competitively, and added jazz to her repertoire at age seven. Her successes include solo and troupe performances at Showcase on Australia’s Gold Coast in 2005, 2006 and 2009. She was also nominated to compete solo in tap and jazz at PACANZ in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Unable to continue with the rigors of full-time training following a back injury, Gemma turned her attention to teaching and choreography, which she absolutely loves. In 2016, she won ‘Best Choreography in a Musical’ at the NAPTA awards for Addams Family the Musical.

Collette Wilson

Colette started dancing from a very young age. As a child she started with Irish Dancing and swiftly moved on to Ballet, Tap and Modern obtaining various ISTD and RAD dance qualifications. In 2012 she graduated from the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, London having successfully completed the three year diploma course in professional musical theatre. Throughout her childhood and teens, Colette has been part of many productions shows and concerts. These have included singing, dancing and acting at the London Palladium, The Shaw Theatre, Wimbledon Theatre, Savoy Theatre as well as appearing in TV commercials and Music Videos. More recently she has followed her passion for Hip-Hop Dancing. In the UK she was part of a Hip-Hop Crew performing in many shows and public events. She enjoys this style of dancing immensely and loves to pass on her technique secrets and experience with others.

Abbi Sim

Bachelor’s degree in Sport and Recreation majoring in Sport Science. Abbi has been dancing since the age of three. She has a love for movement that led her to study Sport Science at university. Abbi is a REP’s registered personal trainer and has an understanding for fundamental movement of the human body. Abbi has been classically trained in Ballet through RAD, her teaching repertoire includes Lyrical, Contemporary. Abbi is excited to share her passion of dance with the younger generation, to see the joy it brings both the students and their parents.

Cara-Lea Wright

Cara-Lea Wright is a technically trained dancer who has been immensely involved in the dance competition scene, both as a dancer and more recently as a teacher, choreographer and adjudicator for many successful troupes and soloists. Her troupes and soloists have won many impressive accolades including National Champions Junior Lyrical Groups at Showcase Dance Australasian Finals and back to- back highest scoring Junior Groups at Get The Beat Regionals. Cara-Lea is trained in RAD Ballet, NZAMD Jazz, Hip-Hop, Contemporary, NZAHND Highland and Irish as well as Lyrical, Funk, Cabaret, Musical Theatre, Aerobics, Acrobatics and Commercial by many successful teachers from NZ, AUS & LA. Cara-Lea completed a Bachelor of Communication Studies in 2015 and is currently studying for her Post-Graduate Diploma in Dance.

Emma Aley

Emma has been a dedicated student at Northern Performing Arts since she was 12. She has trained in jazz, ballet, contemporary and tap, and completed her Advanced 2 ISTD and NZAMD Modern/ Jazz, Advanced 2 RAD Ballet, and her Solo Seal in NZAMD Contemporary. Emma was accepted into the New Zealand School of Dance and Transit Dance full-time contemporary programmes but has decided to stay in Auckland to extend her dance training before heading overseas. Among her other notable achievements are: New Zealand School of Dance Associates Programme (2016-2017), PACANZ finalist (top 6 out of 77 competitors), Runner-up in League of Champions at Showcase nationals in Australia, A full-time placement at Ministry of Dance and a scholarship to AMDA in America, Advanced Directors Award at Phoenix Dance Convention and the opportunity to study in the Ettingshausens course.

Louise Wilkie

Louise attended her first dance class aged three, and went on to train through the NZAMD ballet, tap and jazz syllabuses, and the BAL ballet and tap syllabuses. She has also trained with a number of vocal coaches and been a member of several Auckland choirs. Louise took drama classes in high school and studied theatre at Victoria University of Wellington, performing in her musical in 2010. She has since performed in and choreographed various shows. In 2014, Louise began working with Peaches and Pickles and then taught tap at Sole Movement. Louise recently completed a year-long internship with Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, where she worked in Recreation and Children’s Activities.

Rebecca Smith

Growing up in London, Rebecca fell in love with the theatre at a young age and has been performing ever since. She is completing a BA in Drama and holds a Grade 8 qualification in Speech and Drama. Rebecca has also trained in musical theatre and loves combing song and dance to enrich a performance. She has experience in a variety of performance styles, including Shakespeare, musicals, Greek Theatre, improvisation and devised theatre. Rebecca is excited and inspired by the performing arts and seeing the joy it brings to so many people, both on and off stage.

Catherine Carr

Catherine has worked as a Musical Director on productions for 23 years. Her roles during that time include Musical Director – Vocals for Mamma Mia at the Civic Theatre; Musical Director for Hairspray at Sky City; Vocal Director and arranger for the world premiere of War of the Worlds staged as a Planetarium spectacular; and vocal coach for the soundtrack on Butterfly Crush. Catherine developed and taught the curriculum for musical theatre and vocals for the Apollo Theatre School’s tertiary Diploma in Musical Theatre. She teaches musical theatre, theory for dancers and singing at the New Zealand School of Performing Arts, and is sought after as an accompanist by singers, instrumentalists and dance schools. She received the ABRSM Diploma in Piano Performance, was a finalist in the Young Musicians Competition, and won the prestigious Manawatu Merit Art Award. In 2013 Catherine received a Showdown award for ‘Best Musical Director’ for her work on AIDA for St Peter’s College.

Clare Saddington-Smith

Clare emigrated from the UK to New Zealand in 2010. She is responsible for the accounts and administration for Northern School of Performing Arts and has over 25 years’ experience in accounts. Clare started in an accountancy practice and moved onto retail, before running a business with her husband in the UK. As mum to a dance-crazy daughter, Clare is not only passionate about the numbers, but about all aspects of performance too.

Olivia Tomsen

Olivia has been dancing since the age of 3. She began with ballet and introduced jazz and tap at the age of 7. She has always had a passion for dance and performing on stage, competing in dance competitions since the age of 11. Olivia has completed the ISTD jazz syllabus (2017) and has been student teaching alongside other teachers from the age of 11. She has competed three times internationally (2013,2015,2016) in the Showcase National Dance Championships in the Goldcoast, performing in both solos and troupes. She dances 6-7 days a week, attending styles consisting of ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary and lyrical. She dreams of becoming a professional dancer when she is older and aims to attend a dance school in 2019. Olivia is very humbled and excited about the opportunity to pass her passion along to young students and see them grow as performers.

Vileshka Karunaratne

Vileshka found her love for dancing at the age of 2 in her first ballet class. She then started Jazz and Hip Hop and her passion for dance grew to where she now dances up to 7 days a week. She has completed the ISTD Modern Jazz syllabus and has sat ballet exams in RAD, Cecchetti, NZAMD and major levels in ISTD. Vileshka has been competing since the age of 13 in a range of styles such as Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Musical Theatre and has competed at the Showcase National Dance Championships in 2015 in both troupes and solos aswell as PACANZ Nationals (2016, 2017). She has taught jazz and ballet from ages as small as 4 all the way to 14 and loves helping dancers grow and evolve.

Annelie Maddock

Annelie has been singing and performing for as long as she can remember. She loves the rewards of performing in front of an audience and witnessing how it can boost a child’s confidence. Originally from Sweden, Annelie studied singing for performance with teaching at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm for five years, graduating in 1999. Before moving to New Zealand in 2003, she toured Europe and the USA with both classical choirs and a rock/pop band, and also starred in a number of musical theatre productions in Sweden. She subsequently began teaching singing and loves seeing her students grow and shine.

Rachael Longshawe-Park

Bio coming soon

Anna Mortlock

Anna has trained and completed examinations in various syllabi and dance styles including Jazz, Ballet, Tap, Contemporary as well as musical theatre, cultural dance, singing and acting. She holds a Bachelor of Dance, a Diploma in Tap Teaching and runs her small studio in Albany as well being a freelance teacher and choreographer for other studios and schools in the Auckland area. Anna has enjoyed dancing in the competitive scene herself and has both competed at and had students compete at events such as Showcase in Australia. The theatre is another love of Anna’s and you can often see examples of her work onstage at Centrestage Theatre Orewa.

Griffin Jenkins

Griffin is a musical director, keyboardist, and vocalist originally hailing from America. He is currently finishing his final year of studies at the University of Auckland and is an in-demand music director in the Auckland theatre scene. Some favourite shows include Heathers, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and in America, American Idiot, Bat Boy, Urinetown, and many more. Throughout high school, Griffin won several WVCEA music competitions for organ and vocal performance. Outside of music, he has served as a charity-events coordinator for Illini Student Musicals and is involved in sign language and Deaf communities. Griffin is also an award-winning linguist for his work in Yiddish opera reconstruction. Griffin, is thrilled to be teaching at NSPA.