Laura Dudman

AISTD (DDE), AIDTA, BA (HONS), PGCE, PGDip, UKA
Principal & Artistic Director
Caterpillar Dance School and Essence Dance Company

“In my opinion, teaching dance is about encouragement through enjoyment, whilst maintaining focus and discipline. I am passionate about dance and have been lucky enough to have experience in many different dance styles. Through my teaching, I am able to share my knowledge and experience with others, in order to produce confident and aspiring dancers”.

Laura was initially a student at Laurel Turner’s Jazzmatazz School of Performing Arts. She furthered her training under the direction of Karen King, at the Centre Performing Arts College, where she undertook 3 years professional dance training, completing Advanced Vocational dance exams and Associate teaching qualifications in ISTD Imperial Ballet, Modern and Tap.

In June 2006, Laura graduated from the University of Surrey with an upper-second class honours degree in Dance and Culture. In June 2007, Laura graduated from the University of Greenwich, with a PGCE in Post-Compulsory Education and Training.

Laura has been teaching dance since November 2002, and is a recognised teacher through the Council of Dance, Drama and Musical Theatre and Foundation for Community Dance. As well as running her own business, Laura also freelances as a Community Dance Practitioner in and around Kent.

In June 2008, Laura gained her UKA Diploma in Salsa running Salsa nights under the name Latin Essence and dancing professionally until December 2014. She also had her own Zumba® Fitness classes and is a qualified gym instructor, exercise to music instructor, exercise referral instructor and personal trainer. Laura also completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Dance Cultures, Histories and Practices in 2013 at The University of Surrey.

Laura is qualified as a Module 1 Acrobatic Arts Dance Instructor, and was one of the first dance schools in Medway to offer this syllabus. She also teaches primary school gymnastics and prepares children for BGA Key steps competitions and proficiency awards.

Currently Laura is completing an MA in Professional Practice Dance Pedagogy at Middlesex University and studying for her ISTD Licentiate Tap at DC College in Whitstable. She recently completed the Progressing Ballet Technique Course with founder Marie Walton.

ISTD DDE Dance, Acrobatic Arts and Performing Arts Teacher and Choreographer

Emily trained as a professional dancer at Performers College in Essex. She has a Trinity Diploma in Dance Theatre and is a qualified ISTD dance teacher in Ballet, Tap and Modern Jazz. Emily is also a qualified Acrobatic Arts Module 1 Instructor and Progressing Ballet Technique (PBT) Instructor. Emily has taught many styles of dance ranging from Irish, Contemporary, Lyrical, Musical theatre and Street Dance to all ages. Emily loves working with children, and successfully runs her own workshops and childrens parties. She has worked at Haven Holiday Park as dancer, been on tour with Ben – The Michael Jackson tribute Act, and appeared in the film Cuban Fury. She is currently completing further ISTD Teaching Qualifications at DC College in Whitstable.

LISTD, ARAD Dance Teacher and Choreographer

Mrs Turner trained for three years at Bird College, graduating with her Associate Modern and National, her Advanced RAD and ISTD Ballet and Advanced Tap and Modern.

She enjoyed a long professional dance career performing in numerous Summer Shows and Pantomimes in Number 1 theatres across the country including The London Palladium. She also worked at Her Majesty’s Theatre,London where she was the Wardrobe Mistress for the Musical Bugsy Malone.

Mrs Turner had her own Dance School for twenty years during which time she added to her qualifications by attaining her ISTD Licentiate Modern and Associate Diploma in Tap and Ballet. 

She now works freelance in other schools, as well as teaching Ballet and Tap classes for Adults at Hextable Dance.


ISTD DDI Musical Theatre Teacher and Festival Choreographer

Beth taught Little Caterpillars classes before embarking on her performing career. She also guest teaches musical theatre and choreographs under 9s festival solos. Beth completed her training at The Centre Performing Arts College, and performed with Royal Caribbean Cruises playing Scaramouche in the Musical – “We Will Rock you!”.


UKA Street Dance and Performing Arts Teacher

Shanice attended Mid Kent College where she gained her BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Performing Arts. She danced competitively in pairs and formation Latin and Ballroom for Bluebells Formation Team and also studied Street Dance. In 2011 she began teaching Ballroom, Latin and Street Dance for Vicky’s School of Dance, gaining a distinction in her UKA Teaching Diploma in Street Dance. She now runs Dance Vibes in Gillingham – where she teaches Street Dance to children and trains them to dance competitively. More recently she has qualified in Clubbercise ® and Poundfit ® teaching Adult Fitness at various venues including Rochester Dance Junction. She currently freelances and also teaches in schools and community settings for Sainsburys Active Kids and The Right Step Dance Company.


BA (Hons), A.T.C.L. Musical Theatre Singing Teacher and Vocal Coach

I am delighted to welcome my best friend Eleanor Wilson to be part of our Musical Theatre Team. Eleanor and I grew up together, and I feel so privileged to have such an inspiring and talented singing and piano teacher to our school. Eleanor is a professional musician and music teacher. As a child she attended the Italia Conti Saturday School in London. Aged 13, she, performed at The Royal Albert Hall and also achieved her grade 8 piano. By the age of 17, she had gained her diploma in piano. She has sung as a support act in Wembley Arena and from age 13 travelled all over Europe singing solos as part of a Philippine Islands Promo group. She had a record deal with a girl band in Germany in her 20s and is also a talented songwriter. She is now part of a band which provides musicians for weddings, corporate events and promotional events. More recently, she has got involved with, Kent Soul Choirs and will be starting a new community choir in Rochester in September 2018. Her latest business venture is, From the Top Choirs, which will be running on Saturday afternoons at Rochester Dance Junction from September 2018. Eleanor is also available for private tuition for Caterpillar Dance School students who wish to pursue a career in Musical Theatre.


ISTD Student Teacher and Associate Choreographer for Essence Dance Company

I first taught Charlotte as a student at Mid Kent College in 2012, where I was a part time lecturer on the BTEC Performing Arts programme. In 2015, she returned to Dance and joined Caterpillar Dance School as a student gaining Distinction in her ISTD Ballet and Modern exams. In September 2017, she started her ISTD teacher training at DC College Whitstable. Since then, she has won a choreographic award for her solo performance, helped choreograph our recent 10th Anniversary Showcase, coached and assisted Essence Dance Company and covered classes when our regular teachers are away. I am extremely proud of how much she has grown as both a dancer and a teacher and feel so privileged to have her as part of our school. From September 2018, Charlotte will be actively teaching for Caterpillar Dance School, alongside completing the new ISTD Level 4 Teaching Course.

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