Laura Dudman

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 a qualified Module 1 Acrobatic Arts Dance Instructor, and was one of the first dance schools in Medway to offer this syllabus. She recently completed the Acrobatic Arts Module 2 Training. She also teaches primary school gymnastics and prepares children for BGA Key steps competitions and proficiency awards.

Laura recently completed her MA in Professional Practice Dance Pedagogy at Middlesex University and ISTD Licentiate Tap, at DC College in Whitstable. She also completed the Progressing Ballet Technique training course with founder Marie Walton and the Royal Academy of Dance Silver Swans training. Laura is currently studying for ISTD Fellowship Tap.

(ISTD DDEDance and Acrobatic Arts Teacher 

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 recently passed the Module 2 certification. She is also a 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. 

(LISTD, ARAD) Dance Teacher

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.

Musical Theatre and Street Dance Teacher and Festival Choreographer

Beth taught Little Caterpillars classes before embarking on her performing career. She is now back teaching musical theatre classes for all age groups, commercial street dance to under 18s and also choreographs and coaches our competition team! 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!”. She recently finished her 2 year contract as a singer in “The Best of Wham” UK tour. 

(UKA Dip.) Street Dance 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. She also runs Kent Soul Choir, Rochester Community choir for adults . Eleanor is also available for private tuition for Caterpillar Dance School students who wish to pursue a career in Musical Theatre.

(ISTD DDE) Contemporary Dance Teacher and Choreographer for Essence Dance Company

Charlotte teaches contemporary dance and also choreographs for both Essence Junior and Essence Senior 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 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 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.  She recently attended the two-day ISTD Contemporary Dance training and is currently teaching the Intermediate Foundation level to our senior dance company.

Musical Theatre Guest Teacher

Hayley gained her Trinity Diploma in Musical Theatre from The Urdang Academy, London, where she was awarded an Andrew Lloyd Webber Scholarship. Since graduating she has worked abroad on Aida Cruises as a Lead Soloist and has recently finished performing in Thursford Christmas Spectacular. She has also performed in a number of stage productions. Her previous credits were Lead Soloist in When I Grow Up (The Forge, Camden) Lead Soloist in Our Time (Leicester Square Theatre). Her theatre credits whilst training include Velcro in Soho Cinders (The Pleasance Theatre) Ensemble In Spring Awakening (The Young Actors Theatre) Featured Soloist in The World Goes Round (The Urdang Academy). Hayley now freelances as a Musical Theatre Teacher around Kent, and also offers coaching to students auditioning for vocational training, who want to pursue a career in Musical Theatre .

Contemporary and Modern Dance Teacher (BA Hons.)

Kirsty danced from a young age attending ISTD ballet, tap and jazz classes at Tonbridge Performing Arts. Whilst studying dance at secondary school, contemporary dance became her main focus and passion.

Kirsty graduated from Bath Spa University with a BA (Hons) degree in Contemporary dance. Whilst at University, Kirsty was also a member of the cheerleading team for 3 years. She also took an interest in dance photography and filming, which is something she is hoping to pursue in the future.

She is now a freelance community dance practitioner working in secondary schools throughout Kent. She is also a teacher for Cascade Dance Company. Kirsty is also working towards her Contemporary Associate teaching qualification from the NATD, so she can teach all Contemporary graded work and enter students for exams.

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