Meet the Dance Track staff
Rachel Hester – Dance Track Teacher
Born in Nassau, the Bahamas, Rachel Hester trained at Rona Hart’s School of Dance and the Park-Grahame Ballet School before winning a scholarship to the Royal Ballet School. She danced with the Royal Danish Ballet from 1988, joining Birmingham Royal Ballet in 1993; First Artist, 1997. Rachel's career as a dancer ceased in 2004 and started teaching for the Dance Track Programme the same year. She has completed a teacher’s course with the Royal Academy of Dance and has also been involved in several projects for the Department for Learning.
Jenny Murphy – Dance Track Teacher
Born in Hull, Jenny Murphy trained at the Royal Ballet School and joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2001. Her repertory includes a wide range of works and many of the classics; she has performed at a variety of venues throughout the world, including the Royal Opera House in London. Jenny has created choreography for Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Choreographic projects on the Birmingham Hippodrome main stage.
For several years Jenny has been involved with Freefall Dance Company, a company of dancers with severe learning difficulties, led by Lee Fisher. In the summer of 2006 Jenny completed the Professional Dancer’s Teaching Diploma at the Royal Academy of Dance and in September 2007 she successfully completed the Dancers’ MA degree programme, run by the University of Birmingham. Jenny's career as a dancer ended in 2007 and joined Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Learning Department as Co-ordinator for Learning. Since joining the department Jenny has delivered many dance workshops/ projects in education and community contexts throughout the UK and touring venues abroad. Jenny recently worked on Birmingham Royal Ballet's large-scale Ballet, Birmingham and Me youth project, in partnership with the Birmingham Youth Services.
Alongside her role with Birmingham Royal Ballet, Jenny works for the Royal Ballet School Junior Associates, Royal Academy of Dance, Rambert School, Dance XChange Birmingham and Centre for Advance Training Birmingham.
Ian Richards – Dance Track Painist
Ian is a graduate of Birmingham Conservatoire. He has worked extensively as an opera repetiteur and vocal caoch and directed many musicals. He is in much demand as a pianist for dance as he is experienced in the nuances of accompaniment for dance and in particular ballet. Ian works with Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Department for Learning on a regular basis, accompanying both technique and creative workshops for all ages, he also sometimes accompanies company classes. Ian also plays for Elmhurst School for Dance and the Royal Ballet associate program.
Natasha Massie – Ballet Training Officer and Chaperone
Born in Burnham-on-Crouch, Natasha trained at the Arts Educational School, Tring Park, and Elmhurst School for Dance; during her time as a student she toured nationally with Birmingham Royal Ballet. Upon graduating from Elmhurst in 2009, Natasha began her BA(Hons) Professional Practice (Dance) and completed this in June 2011. Natasha joined Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Department for Learning in November 2011 as Ballet Training Officer and Chaperone and her duties include coordinating the Dance Track programme and chaperoning the Dance Track students at their weekly classes.
Additional Staff for 2012 Dance Track workshops:
Colin Sangster – Dance Track workshop leader
Colin is from the highlands of Scotland and started highland dancing at the age of four. By 15 Colin had reached world championship standard and was asked to join an established television dance group. He then studied all forms of dance at the Academy of Ballet in Edinburgh. Colin had a very successful dancing career, working in all areas of the entertainment industry, from films and television to theatre, pop videos and corporate events. His experience in hip hop, ballet, jazz, contemporary, theatre dance, movement direction, historical dance, rock & roll and swing demonstrates the breadth of Colin’s choreographic abilities and his clients include Birmingham Royal Ballet, Scottish Ballet, Rambert Dance Company, BBC’s Top Gear Live and many more. During his career Colin has also travelled the country delivering a wide range of dance- / movement-based educational workshops for people of all ages and abilities.
Andrew Kristy – Dance Track workshop accompanist
Since turning professional in 1986 Andrew has had extensive experience both as composer and performer, appearing in performances of his own works on Radio 1 (The Andy Kershaw Show and The Friday Rock Show), BBC2 Network East, Channel 4 (Big World Café) with Nigel Kennedy and Nusrat Fateh Alla Khan. More recent TV and radio credits include African Safari (BBC 2005), and Ballet Hoo! (first broadcast in September 2006).
He has worked as composer and pianist, under the auspices of Birmingham Royal Ballet, on numerous education projects, including Romeo and Juliet, Swan Lake , 'Still Life' at the Penguin Café and many more. Andrew has also composed for numerous dance companies. His music has been performed live at the Lichfield International Arts Festival, Stroud Festival, Sadler's Wells Theatre and Birmingham Hippodrome. His first work for full orchestra, Synapse, was commissioned by The Duke of Norfolk to open the first open- air fireworks concert at Carlton Towers , Yorkshire, in July 1995. He has since written for members of the BBC Philharmonic, Royal Ballet Sinfonia and Bardi Symphony orchestras, and arranged music for concerts at Symphony Hall, Birmingham.
He also mentors piano students from the Birmingham Conservatoire, and is a consultant for AS and A2 Music Technology.