Meet the tutors

Intermediate/Advanced Lyrical Jazz

The thrill of competing in highland dance festivals growing up was where my love of dance began. When my teacher moved to Norway, I joined a new dance school in Orkney, and gave jazz, ballet and modern a shot. I haven’t looked back. I have also dabbled in tap, hiphop, commercial and rock and roll but find contemporary and lyrical style dance is where I can truly express myself. 

 

Dancing is my go-to stress reliever and the society has been a huge comfort throughout the past four years studying at Aberdeen University.  In 2018/19, I was jazz choreographer and treasurer for the competition team and this year I am incredibly excited to teach a lyrical/jazz class. I can’t wait to meet all you lovely dancers and hope you are lucky enough to make friends for life within this gem of a society.   

HELEN FLETT

Intermediate/Advanced Lyrical Jazz

 

I began dancing at the age of 13 at Danscentre here in Aberdeen. I have performed in several productions at His Majesty’s Theatre as well as at the Royal Albert Hall and the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony in 2014.

 

Starting with hiphop, I ended up leaning towards tap and contemporary more and have been part of the AUDS competition team in previous years. I also taught a contemporary class with AUDS a couple of years ago and will be back this year sharing a jazz/lyrical class with Helen. 

SAM BUCHAN

Jazz Technique

I’m Samantha Niven and I am a third year music education student. This will be my third year in the society and I’m so excited to get dancing with everyone!

 

This year, I will be running a jazz technique class on a weekly basis alongside choreographing for our tap and lyrical competition teams! Be prepared to work hard! I can’t wait to welcome everyone new and old into our dance family, I am so excited to meet you all <3

SAMANTHA NIVEN

Commercial

Dance has almost always had a place in my life; from dancing gymnastic routines at a young age to competing in hip-hop last year with AUDS. After choreographing a couple shows and working as a danceracrobat, I finally joined the society. I regret not doing this earlier; AUDS is such an encouraging and loving group of people. Dancing is something that makes me so happy and I would love for everyone to leave the class feeling happier and more confident in themselves.

VICKY BARVINKO
BETHANY NICOL

Intermediate/Advanced Tap and Modern 

I have recently finished my Masters in Divinity at Aberdeen, and this will be my sixth year with AUDS since I started in 2015. I have danced since the age of seven, and have kept it up through AUDS, as well as my current training to be a B.A.T.D. qualified teacher in tap and modern. With this being my fourth year teaching modern and second year teaching tap for the society, I have met so many lovely, talented dancers that have passed through the society and attended my classes, and I cannot wait to see this happen for yet another year!

 

I will also be choreographing for the competition teams which I took part in and choreographed for during my undergrad and postgrad degrees, and this year I am in charge of the wildcard team. Although not able to compete myself as I’m no longer a student, I am so excited to choreograph, teach, and be the No.1 dance comp mum to all those who join my team!

UrbanKiz

We met through social Latin dancing and have been dancing together since late 2016. We started dancing UrbanKiz and Kizomba together and loved it as it allowed ud to connect, feel and express ourselves.

In 2017, we won the first ever Great Britain UrbanKiz competition held in London then won 3rd place at the UrbanKiz World Finals in Paris. In 2019, we won 2nd place at the Paris Olympiads of Kizomba Finals in the Solo Styling category. Accolades aside, we dance because we love to and it brings us great joy. 

SHIVENDU SINGH AND GOSIA LEWANDOWSKA

Beginner Ballet

I started training at Karen Aitchison's School of Dance and learned tap, character and jazz but ballet was my first love. I've been performing with them since I was three, which included playing Kai in our production of The Snow Queen.

 

Since joining AUDS two years ago, I got the chance to improve in my ballet training as well as take part in new classes like hiphop and voguing. I was the tutor for Intermediate Ballet last year, which was challenging but also incredibly rewarding. I'm excited to take Beginner's Ballet this year and help others begin their training and discover just how fun ballet can be.

HEATHER MAXWELL
CHRISTINE TAYLOR

Beginner Highland

My name is Christine Taylor and I am currently in my 2nd of studying Primary Education at the University of Aberdeen. I have been highland dancing for 13 years and have gained my SQA grade 8. I have had many opportunities through dancing as I’ve had the experience of dancing at Disneyland Paris, The Palladium and Her Majesty’s Theatre in London. 

CHLOE ROOME

Intermediate/Advanced Highland

 

I have danced since the age of 3 with a variety of dance schools. I trained in ballet, tap, modern, and later jazz with The Eileen Degnan Stage School and J&J Dance. I also trained with the Scottish Ballet’s associate programs. Additionally, I danced and competed with the Hemingway School Of Highland Dancing from the ages of 5 to 15. I also trained with the Scottish Dance Teachers Alliance (SDTA) in order to complete a two years SQA higher in Dance focusing on jazz, contemporary and choreography.

 

I have been part of the dance society since 2014 and served for three years on the committee from 2017-2020 as Secretary for two years, and PR for the third. I have also been on a variety of competition teams for three years. I am excited to continue to be a tutor in Highland for my 4th and final year.

 

Bachata

I am very passionate about dancing, especially salsa and bachata. I started with some ballet and contemporary classes when I was little but I discovered social dances recently and fell completely in love with them. Dancing is what makes me truly happy - I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon. I want to be 90 and still be on the dance floor, doing body waves and shimmies. I am so excited to be teaching bachata this year, we’ll have so much fun!

DÉBORAH GILLARD
MARLEE VAN OSTRAND

Intermediate/Advanced Ballet

I have been dancing and performing ballet for 18 years, predominantly at St. Croix Ballet in Minnesota under directors Karla Sweeney and Susan Hovey, and I also studied under Bolshoi masters Svetlana Gavrilova and Kirill Bak. I fell in love with performing at a very young age, became a principal dancer with St. Croix Ballet from 2013-2016, and was hired back to perform with the same company in 2017. After teaching general classes at the studio for years, I founded, wrote the curriculum for, and taught a Beginners Partnering class starting in 2017. Additionally, I have experience over the years in swing dance and Ukrainian character dancing.

 

I joined AUDS last year, and am finally starting to branch out more seriously into other styles of dance as well! Aside from dancing, I enjoy dog training and painting. I am studying for a degree in History, with a particular interest in Latin and Old Irish language, medieval politics, and early modern palaeography. I look forward to dancing together!

Salsa

I have been dancing for the past four years. My favourite styles are Salsa Cubana and Sensual Bachata. I love social dancing and will dance anywhere – in the ballroom, on the beach, in the park or in the club! I will dance to any music genre – my favourite is reggaeton!

 

My teaching style focuses on building solid foundations by going slow and easy in the beginning, then adding more complex moves whilst ensuring that all of the previous knowledge is retained. I am very involved in the Aberdeen Latin Dance community and during the last academic year I hosted a Salsa & Bachata party with over 120 people. I hope to host more of these events once it is safe to do so.

LI
ALI
LAURA IRVINE

Intermediate/Advanced Highland

I have danced since I was 3 years old in the styles Highland, Scottish National, Tap, Modern, Freestyle and Acro-Gymnastics. I have competed in Highland and Scottish National since I was 6 years old, competing in Championships all over the country including the Cowal World Championships. I had the pleasure of being my dance teacher’s apprentice for 5 years at the Wallace School of Dance and fell in love with teaching and choreographing.

 

I had the most amazing time last year being part of the Highland Wildcard team and competing with such amazing girls in Manchester and can’t wait to make many more memories together as a society!

 

Dance has opened so many doors for me, provided so many crazy opportunities and helped me make some of the most amazing friends. So I can’t wait to teach this year and help provide those amazing opportunities to others.

LAURA MATHANA

Street Dance

I have been training in hiphop and street since I was 8 years old and have been competing in National, Scottish and World Championships - winning all titles with my team and solo spots.

 

In my classes, I aim to not only have fun with you guys, that you all learn something and take something away from the class. More importantly I want it to be a space where we all let go of what is happening on the outside and just have peace of mind through dancing and vibing together within the limited time we have, because that’s what dance means to me. I cannot wait to start dancing with you all & learning together!

Beginner Highland

My name is Linsay and I have been practicing Highland Dancing for 13 years now. I competed consistently for 9 years and won various awards throughout my time. I also sat UKA exams and completed all 8 SQA exams which included practical and theoretical sections. I have also performed at Disneyland Paris, London Palladium and Her Majesty’s Theatre in London.

LINSAY BURNETT
NATALIA PAWELSKA

Street Dance

I’m Natalia and I’m a hiphop dancer and choreographer based in Aberdeen.

For me dance is like a medicine; makes you positive, gives you energy, teaches you how to be confident but also patient. In my class, I’ll introduce you to all hiphop styles and let you have fun with the routines I’ve prepared. I love creating choreography and there are very few feelings better than dancing in sync with the team. It is all about having a great time together and sharing good vibes.

I have been dancing for the past 10 years, taking part in international competitions and The Opening Ceremony of Euro 2010 in Poland. As a dancer and choreographer in AUDS, I have competed in university competitions for the last 3 years. I have undertaken workshops from Kendrick Sandy, Galen Hooks, Salah, WilldaBeast, Dytto, Ysabelle Capitule and many more dance influencers. I am more than happy to share my knowledge and experience with people that want to take their dancing careers to the next level. My goal is for YOU to become the best dance version of yourself.
 

When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It's to enjoy each step along the way.

Street Dance

I have been dancing in hip hop and mainly commercial styles since the age of 9. Over the past years, I have taken part in dance showcases, competitions, performances and concept videos. I can’t wait to share my choreos with you guys, exploring the different styles within commercial and hip hop dancing. Each week is never the same; ranging from fast footwork to fluid grooves and floor work. Dance is an amazing way to connect with others whilst gaining confidence in yourself and the moves - I can’t wait to share, learn and dance with you all!

PANASHE NYADUNDU
MICHALINA GORZEŃSKA

Dancehall

I used to dance and do rhythmic gymnastics when I was little and then suddenly stopped. Four years ago I discovered dancehall and fell in love with dance again, as it helped me to gain so much confidence and gave me pure joy. Then I started to learn twerk and together with dancehall, it really became my passion. I love the energy, confidence and attitude these dances require. It’s only been a year since I came to the university, but I tried to take part in as many AUDS classes as possible, discovering new styles and loving each and every one of them, as well as the warm and welcoming atmosphere of the society.

Beginners' Tap

I started dancing just before my 3rd birthday at a small dance school in Southside Glasgow. I learned tap and modern there every Saturday until I was 17 and moved to Aberdeen. I joined the society in my second year and quickly made new friends. Now my closest friends at university - including my flatmate - I met through dance.

I love to share my passion for Latin rhythms and add a fresh touch t

AMY RICHMOND

Bachata

 

I love to share my passion for Latin rhythms and add a fresh touch to traditional sounds. I enjoy teaching Latin dance as well as learn styles from different countries. Founder of Bachata Aberdeen, I have performed in Bachata congresses and teach in Revolución de Cuba, Sinatra Bar and Station Hotel in Aberdeen

LUIS
TORAL

Strength and Conditioning

I started dance with Ballet at three years old like so many others. Over the years I have been trained in Modern, Jazz, Character and Broadway Dance. As a kid I competed in many different ballet competitions and eventually performed in three semi-professional Musical Theatre productions. One of my favourite things at university the last two years has been trying so many different kinds of dance offered at the society which inspired me to start a conditioning class for all different kinds of dancers and dance styles.

LYDIA GAHR
ORLA MEIKLE

Contemporary

I have been dancing since I was two years old, with experience in tap, ballet, jazz, modern, freestyle, majorette and pointe. I also competed for several years in tap, ballet, modern, freestyle and in group dances.

 

Last year in AUDS, I attended various different classes but was never overly involved, however, this year I hope to become more involved, hence why I have decided to become a tutor. Contemporary is an interesting style with lots of different elements which I am excited to explore with you throughout the academic year. I have a lot of ideas for different combinations and also for ways to help you improve on various different skills.

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