SDS Teachers

Siobhan’s Dance Studios Teachers are carefully selected to support and guide the students at SDS. All staff members have passed  the necessary “Working With Children” (WWC) check obtained through the Department for Child Protection. We employ a variety of teachers at our school to ensure various styles of choreography and teaching techniques.

Siobhan Fearnley-Sander (Director)

Siobhan began dancing when she was 4yrs old, training at the Melbourne Dance Academy under Karen Stephens. Moving on to dance with Ringwood Ballet Group and B.E.Y.O.N.D Dance, she completed her Southern Federation of Dance Teaching Certificate and a Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of teaching degree at university.

Siobhan has many performance and choreography credits to her name including cabaret shows and corporate events, cheerleading for Melbourne Storm, and choreographing and dancing in numerous theatre productions.

In 1992, Siobhan began teaching dance classes at St Francis Xavier, Box Hill, operating as Siobhan Burrows School of Dance and soon realised that running a dance studio was what she was destined to do. Over time, the dance school grew and Siobhan gave up her primary school teaching career to follow her dreams, moving to the current premises of Siobhan’s Dance Studios.

Siobhan completed her Progressive Ballet Training qualification and is an examiner with the SFD Board of Examiners. Over her 30 years as a teacher, Siobhan has trained many successful dancers who have gone on to work professionally in the dance industry. Many of the teachers at Siobhan’s Dance Studios are past students of SDS, ensuring her high standards of teaching and choreography remain consistent throughout the school.

Karyn Heath

Karyn started dancing at the age of 3 in Sydney. At 16 she began teaching at the Johnny Young Talent School, where she was a student on a scholarship. Following a successful audition, Karyn began her professional career as a cast member of “42nd Street”, starting out in Sydney where it ran for nearly 2 years.  Karyn was recast several months later for the Australasian Tour of “42nd Street” which saw her touring Australia and New Zealand with industry greats such as Todd McKenney (Dancing With The Stars), Dein Perry (Tap Dogs), Nancy Hayes and Toni Lamond.

When the tour reached Melbourne, Karyn met her husband and settled down to have children. Not long after this, she commenced her dance teaching career which she balanced with professional performance work, appearing in numerous television commercials and television programs, including Neighbours and several ABC productions. Karyn was also a permanent dancer on the Andrew Denton Show, The Money or The Gun.

In addition to teaching at SDS, Karyn now works as an examiner on the Southern Federation of Dance Board of Examiners and teaches dance programs in several kindergartens and primary schools.

Bridgette Rutherford

Bridgette began her dance training at the age of 3 at SDS where she fell in love with all styles of dance, training in classical ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap and hip hop. She completed her Southern Federation of Dance examinations up to Level 8 Jazz and Pre-Elementary Classical, receiving Honours with Distinction. Bridgette also completed the SDS Student Teaching Program under the guidance of Miss Siobhan.

After completing her VCE studies, Bridgette trained at Jason Coleman’s Ministry of Dance in their full-time course, where she received her Diploma in Dance (Elite Performance) and Certificate 4 in Dance Teaching and Business Management.
In 2016 Bridgette was chosen as a choreographer to showcase her own work in Paul Malek’s “Dance Architect”. Performing in contemporary shows with LocREaDO Dance Company and Indefinite Dance Company, Bridgette remains active in the dance industry, enabling her to deliver new and varied choreographic styles to our students at SDS. Bridgette has also completed a certificate in Progressing Ballet Technique and Certificates 3 & 4 in Fitness – she uses her skills and knowledge from these courses to complement her teaching.

Currently Bridgette is on the Southern Federation of Dance Committee and is training to achieve her qualifications as an SFD Examiner. Bridgette has always had a passion for teaching young students to develop their dance and performance techniques and loves watching them grow into strong, confident dancers.

Susan Tan

Susan started dancing lessons at the age of 4, studying with various teachers including Lorraine Blackburn, Bev Palmer and Martin Rubinstein.

She was fortunate enough to be accepted into the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School (VCASS) in Year 10 and later went on to become a Tertiary Graduate at the Victorian College of the Arts School of Dance.

She moved to London in 1985 and had an extensive career performing in various musical productions and plays including A Chorus Line, South Pacific, Aladdin and Made in Bangkok in the West End. She performed in an Opera production with Jose Carreras in the UK, Japan and Australia.

As an actress she worked on many films, TV shows, Commercials and Radio Plays both in the UK and Australia. Susan is currently the President of the Southern Federation of Dance and a senior SFD Examiner.

She has been teaching dance for over 40 years now and is more passionate than ever about passing on her love for dance to all of her students. 

Ella McElroy

Ella started dancing at the age of 6 at SDS, studying all styles of dance over the past 15 years. Ella continues to train at SDS for personal growth and enjoyment, and to continually inspire her with new skills and choreography to extend her students further. Ella successfully passed the Southern Federation of Dance examinations up to Level 9 Jazz & Pre-Elementary Classical with outstanding results. Ella also completed the SDS Student Teaching Program under the guidance and training of Miss Siobhan.

Having finished her VCE studies in 2019, Ella completed a Bachelor of Health Science & is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Nursing. In 2021, Ella also passed the SFD Teacher Training Course, obtaining her SFD Classical Teaching Certificate. In addition to teaching at SDS, Ella further immerses herself in all things dance working at the Bloch for Dancers store.

Jade Olsen

Jade has been dancing at SDS for 14 years. She has trained in many styles including classical ballet, jazz and contemporary. Jade completed the Southern Federation of Dance examinations up to Level 8 Jazz & Pre-Elementary Classical, as well as the SDS Student Teaching Program under the guidance of Miss Siobhan.

Jade completed her VCE studies in 2019 and went on to become a qualified Remedial Massage Therapist & Myotherapist. She has a vast understanding of the workings of the human body, which is particularly useful as a dance teacher. In 2020, Jade completed her Progressive Ballet Training qualification and enjoys utilising the knowledge gained from this in teaching her students. Jade also completed the SFD Teacher Training Course to achieve her Classical Teaching Certificate in 2021. She continues to take classes in classical ballet, jazz and tap at SDS to continue growing as a dancer and teacher.

Jasmine Young

Jasmine started dancing at age 3 at Siobhan’s Dance Studios; she has studied all of the styles offered at the studio over the past 16 years and continues to extend herself doing classes at SDS. Jasmine completed the Southern Federation of Dance (SFD) examinations up to Level 7 Tap, Level 8 Jazz &Pre-Elementary Classical achieving Honours with Distinction.

Before becoming a teacher, Jasmine took part in the Student Teaching Program offered at the studio. Having enjoyed the years of student teaching so much, she chose to complete her Classical Teaching Certificate through SFD in 2022. Jasmine is currently studying to achieve a Bachelor and Masters in Osteopathy to further her understanding of the body, its systems and functioning. She hopes to inspire her students to achieve success in all areas of life and to create an environment where each student can feel comfortable and enthusiastic about learning new things.

Livinia Thompson

Livinia’s dance journey began at the age of 5 at SDS, training in the styles classical, jazz, tap and contemporary. She has completed Southern Federation of Dance (SFD) examinations up to Elementary Classical, Level 8 Jazz and Level 7 Tap, achieving honours with distinction; built teaching skills through the Student Teaching Program; and has proudly represented the school performing and assisting at dance competitions and events.

Livinia’s qualifications include a Diploma in Dance Elite Performance in the Performing Arts stream at Transit Dance, where she has undergone full-time dance training, as well as the SFD Jazz Teaching Certificate. Additionally, Livinia completed Units 1 – 4 of VCE Dance and VCE Drama. Due to outstanding results, she performed her drama solo for ‘Top Class’ at the Arts Centre Melbourne.

In the wider dance community, Livinia has taken up assistant roles for leading industry members such as Paul Malek (Victorian Dance Festival), Jillian Green (Transit Dance) and Sheridan Anderson (SFD competitions). Livinia has performed for two of ‘Challenge Cancer’s’ galas (Crown, Pullman Hotel) as a featured dancer, waved the Aussie flag on-field at the 2023 Melbourne Cup, as well as played the main role in Aussie dance legend Andrew Hallsworth’s show, ‘Glamour’e’ (Transit Dance). She is currently striving to pursue a career in the performing arts industry whilst passionately passing on her learnings to the next generation.

Our Studios

Our three studios are fully equipped with full length mirrors, ballet barres and reverse cycle heating/cooling.  The wall to wall mirror are a great advantage, enabling students to observe and correct their body alignment and technique. The ballet barres provide our dancers stability and balance, especially while learning correct placement and are often used for a significant portion of a dance class. A full kitchenette, students change room and parents waiting room is also provided.

Testimonials

All four of my daughters have danced at SDS over the past eight years. SDS offers quality dance training in a supportive, friendly environment. The teachers are fantastic and make it such a happy place for the students. SDS lives by its motto “Where every child shines”. The concerts are always a highlight of the year. My girls love being part of the SDS community.

Michaela Fox 

We have been with SDS for eight years now and it has been a wonderful journey. As a three year old when my daughter started it was very much about coordination, movement and fun. It has been wonderful watching all the girls dancing develop over the years and every teacher we have had has been amazing, 100% supportive and always full of encouragement no matter what “level” the girls are within the group. I couldn’t recommend SDS any more, it is a truly caring environment where everybody grows and shines.  

Kate Stevens