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 and Licentiate Modern. She has recently become an ISTD approved tutor for all units of the DDE Level 4 Teaching Qualification.

(ISTD DDEDance, Acrobatic Arts and Aerial Skills 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. More recently, Emily qualified as an Aerial silks, hoop and trapeze instructor and runs workshops and classes as well as private lessons. 

Guest Teacher – Musical Theatre and Commercial 

Beth completed her training at The Centre Performing Arts College. Whilst training, Beth taught Little Caterpillars classes before embarking on her performing career. She performed with Royal Caribbean Cruises playing Scaramouche, in the Musical “We Will Rock you!” and was also a singer in “The Best of Wham” UK tour. After her performing contract ended, she returned to teaching musical theatre classes for all age groups, commercial street dance to under 18s and also choreographed and coached our competition soloists. In August 2021, Beth joined the cast of “Bat out of Hell – The Musical”. She is also performing in the Hazlitt Maidstone pantomime 2021, “Jack and the Beanstalk”. 

(UKA Dip.) Street Dance and Hip-Hop 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.

(ISTD DDE) Dance Teacher and Choreographer

I first taught Charlotte as a student at Mid Kent College in 2012, where I was a part-time lecturer on the BTEC Level 3 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, choreographed for our productions and also taught ISTD syllabus classes. She completed the two-day ISTD Contemporary Dance training and is currently teaching the Intermediate Foundation level to our senior dancers. Charlotte teaches contemporary dance, ISTD Modern and Ballet and runs Essence Dance Company classes. 

Musical Theatre and ISTD (DDE) Dance 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 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 . She is currently studying for her ISTD DDE Tap with Dance College Whitstable.

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

I am delighted to welcome my best friend Eleanor Wilson 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 available for private singing and piano tuition for Caterpillar Dance School students who wish to pursue a career in Musical Theatre.

ISTD (DDE) Dance Teacher

Meg completed her training in Musical Theatre at Reynolds Performing Arts, gaining a Level 3 Extended Diploma in Performing Arts and Level 4 Creative Practitioner Diploma. Upon graduating College, she has taught Ballet, tap, jazz and musical theatre in various dance schools around Kent. Meg has been a Tap Attack Associate for five years and currently attends their monthly training sessions. In 2019, she secured her first professional contract dancing in India with TalenTreee, performing at events, weddings, in music videos and Bollywood films. On returning to the UK, she continued with her ISTD Teacher training and completed her DDE Modern. She is currently studying for her DDE Tap. 

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