Meet The Teachers

Amber Cresswell
BIO To Come.

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.

Chloe Baughan
BIO To Come.

Hayley Austin
BIO To Come.

Jan-Maree Baughan
Jan-Maree is a Professional vocalist who has performed in many Operas including Madama Butterfly, Norma, Tosca and Pagliacci, for both Canterbury and New Zealand Opera.

During her youth she learnt Cecchetti Ballet and performed leads in the “classics” of musical theatre.

Jan-Maree has an LTCL (dist) in Voice (Trinity College of London Diplomas) and teaches singing privately. Her own solo work sees her singing for various organisations throughout New Zealand, and has performed to large audiences of over 10000 people.

Jan-Maree has invaluable experience in musical theatre and loves working with youth to empower them with musicianship, stagecraft, confidence and charisma to perform under the spotlight.

Jan-Maree’s latest adventure is working within New Zealand TV roles.

Both her daughter Chloe and herself feel very privileged and proud to be part of the Bays School of dance culture and community.

Jane Wilson
I started dancing with Theresa McMurray in Mairangi Bay at the age of 4 until I was 18, sitting BBO ballet exams and at the age of 11 I started sitting exams in the very first NZAMD jazz syllabus.

I have three children and 6 grandchildren. After having two boys who showed no musical inclinations I had a little girl Tessa who started dancing at Bay’s at the age of 4.  This renewed my passion for dance and I soon became a busy dance mother.

Thirteen years ago I was asked if I would like to teach Beginners ballet and this has to progressed to Beginners Tap and Jazz and the baby and preschool classes.

As all my children attended Playcentre, after they were all at school I was able to work for the North Shore Playcentre Association as a support worker for 6 years and am now back as a grandparent so I have been working with young children for over 30 years and feel this experience probably benefits more with the age group I teach than my dance experience.

While teaching 2 to 6 year old’s can at times be a challenge it is also an absolute delight and I love to see how much those sometimes shy little dancers have progressed through the grades to be confident and stunning dancers.

Karyn Nicholls
Karyn commenced dancing at the age of 3 and has now been teaching for over 45 years. She comes from a dancing family, her mother a ballet dancer and father a tap dancer who received the New Zealand Fred Astaire Award. Also 2 aunties and an uncle who were founding members of the New Zealand Ballet Company. Karyn grew up in Wellington where her parents ran 2 dancing studios.

She competed in competitions in both ballet and tap and did her RAD ballet exams and BBO tap exams. The family shifted to Auckland in 1970 and her mother started a dancing studio in Browns Bay known as Draper Studio. Karyn completed her RAD major ballet exams and BBO major ballet and tap exams. The NZAMD syllabus was started by her father’s auntie in Wellington and Draper Studio was one of the first dance studios to start NZAMD Jazz exams in Auckland. Karyn completed her NZAMD jazz exams and at the same time started teaching the jazz syllabus. Her passion is ballet so at 17 she started taking ballet private lessons for competitions and helped her mother with BAL ballet exam classes. When her eldest daughter Anna was young she also completed her ISTD character exams. In the early 2000’s her mother changed the name to Bays School of Dance and Karyn took over the dance school. She gave the dance school to her daughter Anna in 2017.

Karyn teaches the BAL ballet exam classes and regularly attends the BAL Summer School in Sydney to update her teaching skills. In 2017 she was awarded the BAL trophy for honours points in Junior Ballet NZ and equal highest points in Senior Ballet and in 2018 highest for Junior Ballet.

Katie Bryant
BIO To Come.

Khalia Abplanalp
BIO To Come.

Leanne Coombe
Leanne’s love of dance started when she was just a toddler! At the age of 3 she had her first ballet and tap lesson with Mrs Adele Draper at Drapers (now Bays School of Dance) and she was hooked!
Leanne has been involved with the studio for 37 years this February.

Leanne has completed all her exam work through Bays – BAL Tap, NZAMD Jazz, NZAMD Tap and BBO/BAL Ballet up to Pre Elementary. In 1997 Leanne won the NZAMD Jazz Nationals and in 2001 she came second at the NZAMD Tap Nationals.

Leanne is the founding teacher at Bays for the NZAMD Tap syllabus and has been successful with two students winning the NZAMD National competition and others in jazz and tap placing in top 5 positions.

Leanne now also works in an administration role for the New Zealand Association of Modern Dance (NZAMD).
In 2019 Leanne was appointed the role of Area Co-ordinator for Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, Taupo and Whakatane with NZAMD.
Leanne has also helped out with some demonstration of the new tap exam syllabus work at courses held by NZAMD.

Leanne loves all forms of dance and her passion for dance lead her into teaching! Leanne started teaching at Bays 24 years ago and she’s loved every minute of it! As well as teaching Leanne also used to Cheerlead for North Harbour Rugby, Breakers and Warriors, Leanne has also danced with performance troupes that did shows and gigs for events.

Leanne now has a lovely family and whilst juggling family life and her children’s sports commitments she still loves to dance and teach! You may see Leanne at the studio as a mum with her daughter Millie or there with her teaching hat on!

Leanne says regardless of what she’s at the studio for she always love to say hi and chat to everyone, so for those of you that she’s not currently teaching, please come say hi!

May-Lee Hotter
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!

Melissa Berla
BIO To Come.

Nika Plesnik
BIO To Come.

Quinn Annemans
BIO To Come.

Tessa Wilson
Tessa has been dancing at bays school of dance for 20 years and has been teaching for about 7 of those years. She has completed all BAL tap, NZAMD tap and NZAMD jazz exams. Tessa competed in many competitions over the years giving her awesome experiences and great opportunities. Tessa’s true passion is teaching. She is currently teaching NZAMD tap, acrobatics, open jazz, open tap and extension classes.

Thea Rockel
BIO To Come.