Meet The Teachers

Anna Ellis

Anna started dancing as soon as she could walk. Born into a dancing family her Grandmother started Bays School of Dance (then Draper Studio) and her mum carried it on. In 2017 it was passed onto Anna who is now the studio owner.

Growing up Anna learnt all styles of dance competing until the age of 12 when she started assistant teaching and then onto teaching her own classes. Tap was always Anna’s favourite.

Her passion in tap dancing lead her to sit her teachers certificate in BAL tap where she because a qualified teacher and now teaches all of the BAL tap exam work at the studio. She started up teaching Competition work 16 years ago and has built up a large number of very successful competitive students. Having pupils make it to the semis in 2 out of 4 tap nationals attended and one making it to the finals.

Now Anna has her own daughter Lacey who you will no doubt see around the studio. She has followed on her passion in dancing becoming a very successful dancer at a young age.

Ankaramy (Anks) Fepuleai

I am full Samoan and I was born in Brisbane, Australia. I started dancing at the age of 6 as a ballroom dancer under the guidance of my uncle. It was not until I reached High School, which is where I fell in love with Hip Hop Street Dancing. Attending Aorere College, which is known for Hip Hop dancing in South Auckland has made a massive impact in my dancing career. Through Aorere College, my friends and I were able to start up dance crew at the end of our last year of high school as a 12-man crew. Today it has flourished with 40+ dancers, 4 dance crews and has officially become a dance company called the Brady Bunch Academy (BBA).

Also I am a Dance Studies student in my final year at the University of Auckland studying Contemporary Dance. I started teaching at BSD in 2017 as a way for me to share my knowledge through Hip Hop and to gain better skills as a teacher.

Brylee Mills

Brylee started dancing at the age of 4. Training in a range of styles including: ballet contemporary, jazz and musical theatre. She completed with high marks all of her RAD ballet examinations up to Advanced 2. After high school Brylee went to Sydney where she trained at Brent Street Performing Arts Centre completing their classical/contemporary programme and graduating at the end of 2015. Brylee has performed on shows such as Nz’s got talent, the voice Australia and also traveled NZ as a speaker and dancer with the National Young Leaders Day conference. Brylee has performed with Touch Compass dance company and more recently been part of Trip The Light’s sold out season of Mixtape in 2017.

Brylee loves teaching and choreographing for her elite level students! One of her recent troupes recently competed at the Showcase Nationals in the Gold Coast and received a bid to the ‘Battle of The Stars’ finals where they placed 2nd. As well as many successes with her soloists over the past few years both in NZ and Australia. As well as teaching, Brylee is also a professional photographer best known for her dance photography in particular a project called the ‘Warrior Series’ which is based on strength and power and empowering dancers in the dance community and bringing dancers from all over together. Brylee also travels extensively throughout NZ as a motivational speaker and is passionate and determined to apply this to her teaching by working with her students on their own personal goals and growth not only as dancers but as people.

Brooke Mowbray

Brooke has been training at Bays School of Dance since the age of 5 and was very excited when she got to teach a class of her own last year! Throughout the years she has been been able to complete her B.A.L tap exams as well as her NZAMD jazz exams with distinction while completing her NZAMD level 9 tap and advanced ballet this year.

Brooke has been very fortunate to travel overseas and throughout New Zealand whilst representing bays at national final competitions. Some of her proudest achievements are winning Queen of Get the Beat Auckland Regional, filming a few Power Rangers episodes, gaining 3rd in Jazz and 4th in Tap at NZAMD Schlolarship weekend and dancing on Jono and Ben seen on TV3. Brooke is looking forward to see what the year has in store for her and can’t wait to share all the things her teachers have taught her to her new students!

Bella Wilson

Bella trained at the Auckland Academy of Dance, where she completed exams in the RAD Ballet, JDNZ Jazz and NZAMD Contemporary syllabuses to the highest levels. In 2011, after achieving Distinction in her Level 6 exam, she won 1st place at the NZAMD Contemporary Scholarship Awards. In the same year, she was accepted into the New Zealand School of Dance as a contemporary major, and graduated with a Certificate in Dance Performance in 2013. From 2015-16 Bella completed her dance training at Unitec, and graduated with BPSA in Contemporary Dance. Bella received the Senior Scholar award at her graduation ceremony, in recognition of achieving an overall A grade average for her degree. As a tertiary student, she was fortunate to work with some of New Zealand and Australia’s renowned choreographers, including Malia Johnston, Claire O’Neil, Michael Parmenter, Okareka Dance Company, Antony Hamilton, Lina Limosani and Richard Cilli (Sydney Dance Company).

Bella now works as an independent professional dancer, choreographer, and teacher. She has performed with Footnote New Zealand Dance & Alexa Wilson (The Dark Light), Flo Wilson (Newtown Festival, Eeeeow Festival), Black Sheep Productions (Old Tricks New Dogs), and Emma Cosgrave & Zoe Nicholson (FRESH – Tempo Dance Festival, and choreographed LET/HOLD/RUN for Dycypher Productions’ season of Four Leaps//One Point. Bella is a member of Dance Plant Collective (The Cost of Arms and Legs, Desire Line(s)) who are the current artists in residence at Studio One Toi Tu in Ponsonby.

Bella is a strong advocate for positivity and safe dance practices, and loves helping others find freedom and connection through movement. She has taught contemporary, ballet, conditioning and choreography classes at many schools across Auckland over the past few years, and is looking forward to becoming part of the Bays School of Dance team this year.

Jan-Maree Baughan

Bio to come

Jane Wilson

Bio to come

Karyn Nicholls

Bio to come

Leanne Coombe

My love of dance started when I was just a toddler! At the age of 3 I had my first ballet and tap lesson with Mrs Draper at Drapers (now Bays School of Dance) and I was hooked! I have completed all my exam work through Bays – BAL Tap, NZAMD Jazz, NZAMD Tap and BBO/BAL Ballet up to Pre Elementary. In 1997 I won the NZAMD Jazz Nationals and in 2001 I came second at the NZAMD Tap Nationals.

I am the founding teacher at Bays for the NZAMD Tap syllabus and have been successful with two students winning the NZAMD National competition and others in jazz and tap placing in top 5 positions. I love all forms of dance and my passion for dance lead me into teaching! I started teaching at Bays 20 years ago and have loved every minute of it! As well as teaching I also used to Cheerlead for North Harbour Rugby, Breakers and Warriors, I also danced with a performance troupe that did shows and gigs for events.

I now have a lovely family and whilst juggling family life and the kids sports commitments I still love to dance and teach! You may see me at the studio as a mum with my daughter Millie or there with my teaching hat on! Regardless of what I’m there for I always love to say hi and chat to everyone, so for those of you that I’m not currently teaching, please come say hi 🙂

Lynette Mcilwaine

Bio to come

Melanie Klaassen

Melanie began dancing aged 5 then at 6 moved to the Draper Studios (now Bays School of dance) so she has been involved with this studio for over 35 years! She also trained at the Natalie Dumbleton School of Ballet. She completed her Ballet (BBO/BAL), Character (BAL) and Jazz (NZAMD, Distinction) exams to Advanced level and Tap (BBO/Bal) to Elementary level and was a regular competitor in local dance competitions She has enjoyed adjudicating dance competitions throughout New Zealand and has taught for several north shore dance studios.

Melanie has a Bachelor of Arts from Auckland University receiving a Senior Prize in Education and a Senior Prize in History. She has a Diploma in Teaching (Secondary Schools) from Massey University.
Melanie has worked in the teaching profession since 1999 teaching Dance, Drama, Music, English, Social studies and History. She has taught at several high schools including ten years as Head of the Performing Arts Department at Rutherford College and has choreographed and produced many school productions and dance shows. She is widely recognised for her expertise and experience in secondary school dance. She loves inspiring children and teenagers to reach their full potential and express themselves as performing artists.

Melanie holds various contract roles with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and the Ministry of Education including the writing of the NCEA dance standards, supporting teachers with NCEA implementation, exam setting and marking. She is the Dance National Moderator at NZQA and has worked for Team Solutions, Auckland University as a facilitator in arts education working with secondary school teachers to accelerate student achievement.

As well as juggling work commitments and family life with her husband and two children, Mel thoroughly enjoys studio dance teaching. If you are looking for a technical class that is fun and also very accessible consider giving character a go!

Michaela Nicholls

Bio to come

Rachel Lynch

Bio to come

Sophie Read-Ellis

Bio to come

Tessa Wilson

Bio to come