PRINCIPAL – KRISTY MANSFIELD (L.G.T.D.A. Examiner) – TAP
Kristy’s career in tap dancing began at the age of four with the legendary Mr. Les Griffith. Along with members of Tap Dogs, she was among the first to learn his Australian tap syllabus (L.G.T.D.A.) and sit for examinations. Kristy’s first major achievement was at the age of nine after being selected to compete in The Fred Astaire Performing Arts Challenge in Miami, Florida and subsequently gaining the highest points scored amongst her age group. Following Mr. Griffith’s passing Kristy completed her tap exams with Donna Michalitsis (now co-owner of L.G.T.D.A.) and eisteddfod & concert training with Pullar’s Dancing Academy.
Her success is demonstrated through winning an average of thirty tap and song & dance championships and scholarships per year, a feat that is unrivalled to this day. During this period Kristy was also awarded the rare honour of a perfect score of 100/100 for one eisteddfod performance. Kristy studied Classical Ballet, Jazz, Character and Modern/Contemporary dance with Marie Walton-Mahon (Director of the National College of Dance, Australia) from the age of seven. At the age of eight Kristy began singing and speech & drama with Nola Wallace and then completed her singing training with Graeme Hands. This training assisted Kristy to gain the opportunity to perform in many stage musicals and The Opening Ceremony of the Sydney Olympic Games (2000) where she was a Lead Dancer.
Kristy has also been involved with corporate and promotional functions through employment with Fredrick’s Promotions, Great Big Events & Promo Technics in Sydney.
Kristy has always had a keen interest in choreography and since the age of 16 she has choreographed for many functions and several stage productions. One of them being, 42nd Street where she was awarded a City Of Newcastle Drama Award (CONDA) for best choreography.
Kristy now devotes her efforts to her own school, HVT Studio of Performing Arts, in the Hunter Region of Australia. HVT has offered a variety of performing arts for the beginner to advanced student since its establishment in 1998. HVT senior dancers were chosen to perform in the Opening Ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games & the Welcoming Ceremony of the 2001 Masters Games. Students from HVT have performed in many musicals and have also been accepted into The Australian Ballet School International Training program, NIDA, The Royal Ballet (UK), The Victorian College of Arts, Brent St & Carnival Crusies.
Kristy has been an associate member of the Australian Dance Adjudicators organisation for the past 18 years. She has adjudicated many Eisteddfods during those years and enjoys being involved in the development of young dancers today. Kristy has also recently been accepted as a tap examiner which demonstrates her vast knowledge & experience in the field.
SOPHIE MCKIE – JAZZ, CONTEMPORARY, LYRICAL, BALLET & HIP HOP
Sophie began dancing at Kicks Dance Studio at the age of five where she excelled in all styles from Tap, Ballet and Jazz to Contemporary and Hip Hop. In 2005 she was offered her own classes at the same studio and she began her role as teacher, while still continuing to compete and train in dance herself.
The following year Sophie obtained her HSC dance units at only 16 so she would be eligible to study dance on a full time basis. In 2017 she was awarded a scholarship with West Coast Dance Explosion after training at a number of prestigious studios throughout Sydney.
Sophie completed a Certificate IV in Dance Teaching and Management and through her study was offered a position with Australian School Dance sharing her passion at Primary and High Schools all over the Hunter.
At the beginning of 2010 Sophie spent some time in the USA furthering her dance study while forming strong connections with international choreographers and dance teachers, fuelling her love of dance education.
Sophie has been asked to choreograph and perform in many arena’s. She has been cast In musical theatre productions, music videos and international television commercials. She has choreographed a number of events for Newcastle City Council and was appointed creative director of the promotional group “Diamond Dancers” while also performing along side them supporting national and international artists. Her choreography has also won many awards and Sophie has been invited as a guest teacher for workshops and audition panels all over the country.
Over the past 3 years Sophie has adjudicated at a number of Eisteddfod’s throughout NSW including Dance Fever, Kempsey Eisteddfod and Inspire Performing Arts Challenge.
Sophie completed a Certificate IV in training and assessment in 2017 and was offered a position with Australian Dance Institute as an Assessor in the VET system. She has also been contracted to write dance syllabus under Australian Dance Vision in a number of styles.
Believing in strong technical foundations, a well rounded education and the importance of staying current in the industry Sophie continues to perform professionally while training the next generation of dancers.
KYLIE SKINNER – BALLET (R.A.D., C.B.T.S., A.R.A.D)
Kylie began dancing at the age of 3 in Tamworth studying Ballet, Jazz and Contemporary. She studied R.A.D. Ballet and completed her exams up to and including Advanced 2 with great results.
After completing her HSC Kylie studied at the University of Western Sydney then moved to Melbourne to do her Bachelor of Dance at Victorian College of Arts majoring in Contemporary dance. She was fortunate enough to study under the guidance of Sydney Saltner from Bangarra.
Upon the completion of her time in Melbourne Kylie moved to Newcastle to complete her Certificate in Ballet teaching R.A.D.
Following her extensive training Kylie became a mentor for the certificate IV in Dance Teaching and Management program through the Australian Dance Institute (ADi). During that time she also became a teacher at the junior academy of Marie Walton Mahon Dance Academy which is now known as National College of Dance where she taught all levels of the RAD syllabus.
Kylie has an extensive knowledge and personal interest in anatomy and Remedial Therapy and loves specialising in R.A.D. technique training.
JESSICA MELMETH – (L.G.T.D.A.) – TAP, JAZZ, BALLET, CONTEMPORARY & HIP HOP
Jessica began dancing when she was 4 years old doing tap and jazz and started dancing with HVT at the age of 8. She has completed her R.A.D Intermediate Ballet exam as well as all of her exams in the L.G.T.D.A tap syllabus allowing her to gain her Senior Teachers certificate in 2013. In 2007, Jessica gained a position in the Jets Bombers Dance Squad supporting the Newcastle Jets A-League team.
In 2016, Jessica was the choreographer and ensemble cast member for the Novocastrian Players production of ‘Best Little Whorehouse in Texas’. Over the years, Jessica has studied Tap, Jazz, Ballet, Hip Hop, Contemporary, Drama and Singing. Jessica also attends Australian Dance Festival and Sydney Tap Festival each year as well, and participates in numerous workshops to stay up to date with current trends and styles. Jessica has been teaching for HVT for 5 years now and loves being involved in the development and support of our dancers young and old at East Maitland and Clarence Town. Jessica really enjoys teaching our junior school and is looking forward to 2017.
EMILY GIBBS – TAP, JAZZ, BALLET, HIP HOP & CONTEMPORARY (B.Ed – Primary and Early Childhood HONOURS)
Emily began dancing at a young age at HVT under the tuition of Kristy. Over the years she has studied Tap L.G.T.D.A., Jazz, Ballet R.A.D., Contemporary, Modern, Musical Theatre & Hip Hop.
Emily has been an important member of our performance troupe for many years competing in eisteddfods and mentoring the younger members of our groups. By attending numerous workshops throughout Newcastle and Sydney, she has also kept up to date with today’s dance trends.
At the young age of 15 Emily was lucky to be asked to choreograph for Starstruck as part of the Student Production Team.
In 2016 Emily graduated from The University of Newcastle having completed a Bachelor of Teaching (Primary) and a Bachelor in Early Childhood Education. She currently also works as a primary school teacher in the Hunter Region and has a passion for helping each child reach their potential.
Having been a member of our teaching staff for over 4 years, Emily has developed a keen interest in teaching our Ready Set Dance program and working with our junior school.
SARAH NEVILLE – TAP (L.G.T.D.A.), BALLET & JAZZ.
Sarah started dancing at aged 4 and has been at HVT for 15 years. Over those years of dancing she has learnt a variety of styles including tap, jazz, hip hop and ballet.
She began Eisteddfods at aged 10, continuing them up until aged 18 winning numerous championships, scholarships and special awards each year.Her greatest achievement was winning the Heritage Challenge of the Champions Senior Tap Scholarship worth $1000.
In 2015 Sarah travelled with HVT’s Senior competition team to the Gold Coast to compete at Showcase National Championships where she placed first, 2nd and 3rd in the small group devision for our category with her team. One of the highlights whilst there was taking a class with a former Rockette.
Over the years Sarah has participated in many workshops with former tap dogs who have helped improve Sarah’s skills and ability.She have also taken part in many CAPA performances at school, including DioSounds and school musicals.
Sarah has completed all of her tap exams in the LGTDA syllabus, including Advanced. Her interest in teaching has led her to complete both her Junior and Senior Teacher Exams in order to extend her qualifications.
Sarah is looking forward to teaching at HVT for 2018 as she begins her new teaching role.
BRITTNEY HILL – TAP (L.G.T.D.A. Junior Teacher Training), BALLET & JAZZ.
Brittney started dancing at the age of 3 at HVT and has been dancing up a storm ever since. Over those 15 years Brittney has learnt tap, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, singing and ballet and has completed exams in both Tap (L.G.T.D.A.) and Ballet (R.A.D) up to Intermediate.
She began competing in Eisteddfod solo’s at aged 6 competing in Tap, Jazz, Contemporary and Song & Dance. 2018 will be Brittney’s final year of competing as a soloist. Over the years Brittney has won over 50 championships, scholarships and special awards.
In 2015 Brittney was a part of HVT’s senior competition tap team where they travelled to the Gold Coast to compete at Showcase National Championships placing first, 2nd and 3rd in the small group devision for our category. One of the highlights whilst there was being able to take classes with a former Rockette, and other professional choreographers.
Over the years Brittney has participated in many workshops with former tap dogs and industry professionals with ADF and Sydney Tap Festival being her favourites.
Brittney has completed all of her tap exams including Advanced gaining fabulous results in the LGTDA syllabus.Her keen interest in teaching and being involved in the development of young dancers today has led her to complete both her Junior and Senior Teachers Exams in 2018.
Brittney is welcomed into our teaching faculty for 2018 and I look forward to watching her grow over the years and mature into a wonderful young teacher.