Meet the Dance Track staff

Up Close / Dance Education / Dance Track
Rachel Hester – Dance Track Teacher

Rachel Hester was born in the Bahamas and lived in Africa, moving to London aged seven. She trained at the Royal Ballet School and danced with the Royal Danish Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet (1993- 2004). She attained a Professional Dancer’s Teaching Diploma at the Royal Academy of Dance and has taught for Elmhurst School for Dance, DanceXchange and Midland’s Theatre Ballet. She is currently a freelance dance artist for Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Department for Engagement & Participation delivering projects in schools and teaching on the successful Dance Track scheme from which several of her students have gone on to gain places at Elmhurst School for Dance and The Royal Ballet School. She delivers workshops on behalf of the Royal Academy of Dance and teaches for the British Ballet Organisation, the ISTD and the Royal Ballet School.

Olivia Pickford – Dance Track Teacher

Olivia Pickford, AISTD RAD Dip, trained with The Royal Ballet Associates and the Arts Educational School Tring and then went on to dance in the contemporary company Dikosmos in Australia. Olivia has taught globally in Australia, Norway, New Zealand, Japan and Italy. In Tokyo she worked for former Principal of The Royal Ballet Tetsuya Kumakawa at K Ballet.

Olivia has been guest company teacher for Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake Japan tour. She has taught for professional dance schools in the UK such as The Arts Educational School Tring, Bird College, and Bodyworks and is Former Head of Ballet for Tiffany Theatre College. She is a guest teacher for RAD and Cecchetti Summer Schools as well as guest lecturer for the IDTA. In 2009 Olivia was choreographer for London Children's Ballet production of Snow White, which was performed in the West End. Olivia recently worked as choreographer in the latest Keanu Reeves film 47 Ronin.

Andrea Tredinnick – Dance Track Teacher

Andrea Tredinnick, MSc, PDTD (RAD), trained at the Royal Ballet Upper School and danced with Birmingham Royal Ballet as a First Soloist, dancing principal, soloist and corps de ballet roles including Odette/Odile (Swan Lake) and leading and soloist roles in ballets by Ashton, Balanchine, Bintley, MacMillan and in Peter Wright's productions of The Nutcracker, The Sleeping Beauty, Swan Lake and Coppélia. After dancing with Birmingham Royal Ballet for 24 years she left in 2011 to undertake the Royal Academy of Dance Professional Dancers’ Teaching Diploma, and an MSc in Sport and Exercise Psychology, and now teaches ballet and offers mental skills performance coaching to dancers and athletes. Andrea currently teaches for Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Department for Learning, Elmhurst School for Dance, The Centre for Advanced Dance Training Birmingham, DanceXchange, ACE Youth, Welsh House Farm Primary School and the Royal Academy of Dance.

Ian Richards – Dance Track Pianist

Ian Richards is a graduate of Birmingham Conservatoire. He has worked extensively as an opera repetiteur and vocal coach, 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 programme.


Additional Staff for 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 he 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 his 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.