MEET OUR TEAM

Our teaching faculty provide a friendly and inviting atmosphere for students, all teachers exhibit a high standard of expertise by maintaining their abilities through sustained professional development and constant training. Please take a look at our teacher profiles below.

LISA

 

KARLIE GRACE JOHNSON

OWNER & PRINCIPAL

Karlie has a wealth of knowledge and a passion for dance. Her mission is to pass on this love of dance and skills to a new generation of young performers


Karlie Grace Johnson has a comprehensive background in dance education, having taught across Melbourne (metro and regional), interstate and overseas at specialised full-time performing arts schools. 

She began her dance journey at the age of five, learning all facets of dance and performance before moving on to study full-time at Dance Factory in Richmond, where she received a coveted scholarship for two consecutive years. She has a Diploma of Arts, a Diploma from Cecchetti Ballet Australia and Certificates in Dance, Performance, Dance Teaching and Management.

Outside of arts education, Karlie is also a professional dancer and has an extensive resume of achievements and performances to her name. Some examples of her work ranges from involvement with production companies (Moulin Rouge, Jean Ann Ryan Productions, Joanne Adderley promotions, Kerrie- Hayes Productions, Adrenalin Events, Grayboy Entertainment, Gr8 Eventz, FX Entertainment, Showtime Attractions, Entertainment Store), Australian TV (The Singing Bee, The Footy Show, Mornings with Kerrianne, The Today Show, Australia’s Funniest Home Videos, It Takes Two, Neighbours and The Ultimate High School Musical), TV Advertisements (Just Jeans, National Bank, Goulburn Valley), back-up dancing (Danni Minogue, Rhonda Burchmore, Irene Cara), cheerleading for NBL South Dragons and Dubai Rugby 7s, fashion parades for Loreal, Luxe and Myer, corporate shows for Crown casino and events across the country and overseas, appearances at the Grand Prix and the Grand Final, appearing in The Merry Widow with the Melbourne City Opera Company, dancing on the Tahitian Princess for Princess Cruises, and even a Bollywood movie “Salaam Namaste”. She has also choreographed many award-winning routines at high level dance competitions throughout the state. 

In 2010, Karlie decided to open her very own school to pass on her passion and love for dance, running classes one night a week at the local town hall. In 2011, Karlie Grace Dancers was officially born, and by 2013 classes had proved to be so popular, the school relocated to their current studio in Berwick. Today, the school is thriving with over 300 students, and is one of the leading up-and-coming dance schools in Melbourne’s south-east.

 

QUALIFICATIONS: Certificate IV & Diploma of Arts (Dance & Performance), D.F.T.A (Dance Factory Teacher's Academy). A(DIP)C.B.A -C.I.C.B Cecchetti Ballet Australia. Certificate IV in Dance Teaching & Management. Winner of the 2012 Maestro Enrico Cecchetti Advanced 2 scholarship. 

 

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GRACI-MARIE SIMMS

Graci-Marie specializes in Classical Ballet with a history within the art form for the last 11 years and her qualifications display this. She has performed various ballets throughout her career with the National Theatre Ballet School and possesses a passionate love for the art of Ballet. She has completed her Associate Diploma, A.C.B.A (Dip)-C.I.C.B (Cecchetti Ballet Australia), and has also completed her Cert I.V in Dance teaching and management and Cert IV in Pilates last year. Graci-Marie has trained and completed Cert IV in Classical Ballet at the National Theatre Ballet School. Graci-Marie performed the productions Carmen, Le Sylphide and Coppelia under the direction of Beverly Jane Fry, Director of the National Theatre Ballet School. Additionally during her time here, she was offered a place within various Contemporary pieces choreographed by Matthew Thomson.

 

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GEORGIA FRASER

Once upon a time a student first at KGD, the past number of years have seen Georgia blossom into not only a gifted  acrobatic / contortionist performer, but excel with her teacher training to now come full circle to teach her own Acrobatic classes at KGD. Certified in the world renowned Acrobatic Arts (Teacher Training Course) and many years experience in dance, acrobatics and Calisthenics at a competitive level 2020 will see great things unfold for our eager acrobatic students, as we implement the assessment system for the Acrobatique Arts examinations into our classes at KGD. Georgia is fondly looked up to by all students and looks forward to imparting further knowledge with them this year.

 

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PHILLIP EGAN

QUALIFICATIONS: Phillip studied for three years at the Dance Factory Melbourne. His studies included Jazz, Ballet, Commercial Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, Drama, Singing, Acrobatics, Funk & Hip Hop.

Phillip is a proud Aboriginal Mutti Mutti, Yorta Yorta man & also has Tongan Heritage. Growing up he spent a lot of time involved in sports such as Aussie Rules Football and Basketball and has always had a passion for dance. In 2007 he moved to Melbourne to study 3 years of Dance at the Dance Factory and he now runs his own dance and rap crew - Brothers In Arms. As part of his professional dance career, Phil has had contracts with Princess Cruises, performed opening acts for well-known big artists from Island Reggae to RnB and Hip Hop such as Roc-A-Fellas (Jay-Z), Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Savage, Fiji & Neasian Mystic. He has also featured in a number of Australian TV adverts & shows such as Dead Normal (ABC), Ultimate School Musical: Fame (FOX8), Angry Boys: TV series (ABC), Winners & Losers (Seven Network) & is now part of the Masters of Choreography company traveling internationally performing Beats on Pointe.

 

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LISA FURZE

Graduate of Spectrum Dance Full-Time Performing Arts course, Professional Dancer; Michael Jackson Tribute, Corporate events for K-mart Crown Casino, Masters of Choreography, Showtime Attractions, Winter Sound System, Coles Television Commercial, AFL Grand Final Footy Show. Associate Teachers with Cecchetti Ballet – Passed with Honors.

 

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BRETT FISHER

Brett is a graduate of the Musical Theatre Course directed by Andrew Hallsworth at Patrick Studios Australia. Brett has featured in many corporate events and shows in many Melbourne venues as well as dancing and singing at the Rob Guest Endowment with Christie Whelan-Browne and Twisted Broadway with Tim Campbell. Brett was a Dancer in Michael Ralph's debut production “Now & Then”, a dancer for “Grease The Musical” Promotional Tour launch, performed in Looney Tunes Live: Classroom Capers (Jim The Host) at the Royal Melbourne Show, The Wild Party (Burrs) directed by Andrew Hallsworth, was Associate Choreographer for Godspell as part of the Stephen Schwartz Triptych by Magnormos Productions and then went on to Direct ‘Namaste The Cabaret’ written and performed by Adam Porter. Brett performed in Lifelike Touring’s production of ‘Peppa Pig Live: Treasure Hunt’ (George Pig/Pedro Pony) which toured Australia and New Zealand. He directed ‘The Gathering’ as part of MUDfest, and was also in a sellout season of ‘Avenue Q’ (Bad Idea Bear/Ensemble) as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. He also wrote and starred in his own cabaret 'What’s He Building In There?' which he performed at Chapel off Chapel as part of The Cabaret Showcases. Brett made his professional music theatre debut playing the title role of 'The Fiddler' in ‘Fiddler On The Roof’, and performed in ‘Curtains’ (ensemble) with The Production Company and has just returned from overseas performing on ‘Voyager of the Seas’ and ‘Rhapsody of the Seas’ for Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines.

 

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MEGAN O'KANE

F.C.B.A - C.I.C.B, Certificate IV in Teaching Cecchetti Classical Ballet, Enrico Cecchetti Diploma Holder and Cecchetti Ballet Examiner. Megan was born in New Zealand but started her training in Perth, WA with Madame Kira Bousloff (founder of the WA Ballet Company and former Ballet Russe Dancer) and Shelley Rae. In Perth she did all of her Cecchetti dancing exams to Advanced (now Advanced
1). She was also fortunate enough to study with Lucette Aldous at the West Australian Academy of Performing Arts as part of a special program. In 1993 she moved to Melbourne

and taught for Lorraine Blackbourn (OAM and Senior Cecchetti Examiner) until 2013. During this time Megan completed all of the Cecchetti status exams up to and including Fellowship and in 2016 was appointed an Examiner with Cecchetti Ballet Australia.

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VANESSA NICOLAS

Vanessa has had many years of teaching experience and loves teaching and sharing her passion for dance by providing a fun, safe and nurturing environment for all her students to dance in. Vanessa has completed a Diploma in Dance Teaching and Management as well as having studied full time dance at Dance Factory and Patrick Studios Australia. Vanessa specialises in teaching pre schoolers and loves to see them grow and mature as dancers.

 

BRIGETTE RANKIN

C.I.C.B (Cecchetti International – Classical Ballet)

Brigette has attained a Bachelor of Arts in Dance at the Victorian College of the Arts in 1990, majoring in dance education in classical and contemporary dance. Over the years she has consolidated this experience with a number of teaching positions, including Head Dance Teacher at Presbyterian Ladies College and at various private ballet schools. Brigette has since continued her professional development in teaching over the years. In 2003 she attained her Licentiate in Dance Teaching (classical ballet). She has completed the current government accreditation in Certificate IV for Assessment and Workplace Training. Brigette also has her Level 2 in First Aid Training. Brigette’s performing experience began with receiving an overseas scholarship to study various forms of dance in New York. Since her time in New York she has performed with both Contemporary and Dance in Education companies, including various productions in primary schools throughout Victoria.

 

MADISON MCLEOD

Madison McLeod has come full-circle at KGD, starting dancing at the age of 4 and graduating as a senior student at KGD, she is now considered KGD alumni. Maddy graduated from full-time dance at Kelly Aykers Full-time Dance School and now has more than 5 year's teaching experience in various styles including Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, and Tap. Maddy holds a Certificate IV in Dance and a Certificate IV in Dance Teaching and Management.

 

Maddy is a seasoned performer - she even performed at the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Games in 2018! We are proud to have Maddy onboard our teaching faculty, as she shares her expertise with our keen students.

 

OUR GUEST TEACHERS

Professional performing contacts amoungst our teachers follow seamlessly through to teaching connections,

thus providing KGD with frequent access to a wide array of higly acclaimed guest teachers.

 

MEET OUR PAST AND PRESENT GUEST TEACHERS:

SUSAN SARGISON

BRIANNA ANDERSON

CAROLINE PAIS

LUCA DINARDO

NARELLE FORBES

ADRIAN RICKS

EMANUEL CARELLA

ANDREA ARENA

ARNA SINGLETON

LUKE ALLEVA

BRITTANY PAGE

ROBYN BEGG

SUZIE MELLOY

PENNY HIGGS

JASON COLEMAN

YVETTE LEE

NATHAN SHEENS

ETIENNE KHOO

PHIL HADDAD

MICHELLE THEUNISSEN

FREYA LIST

ANNE BUTLER

JUSTIN ANDERSON

LUCY ELLIS

PAUL MALEK

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