Sandra Rasmussen - Artistic Director
Sandra is a renowned choreographer, dance educator, actor and director. She trained at the Court Theatre in Christchurch and has studied ballet, jazz, and tap. Her students come from all over New Zealand & Australia to work with her. She has choreographed winning numbers for Showcase National Finals and has won numerous top choreography awards. Many of her students have gone on to pursue careers as professional performers in the industry, performing at Universal Studios (Japan), on Princess Line Cruise Ships, Auckland Theatre Company, the Court Theatre (Christchurch), TVNZ (Shortland Street) and various NZ film and commercials. Sandra regularly travels to America to attend workshops, dance conferences to keep updated with the latest techniques to inspire her students.
Zara Cormack - Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary
Zara Cormack is an actor, dancer and choreographer. She trained in ballet, jazz, contemporary & tap, achieving enormous success competitively in New Zealand & Australia. She travelled to Los Angeles on a scholarship to train with some of the best choreographers in the world at Sourcedance in 2008. She completed her Bachelor of Performing and Screen Arts majoring in Acting at Unitec in Auckland. Choreography credits include Funny Girls (TV3), Jono and Ben (TV3)Mediaworks Commercial. Jacques Brel (Unitec), Little Shop of Horrors, Xanadu, Our House (Senior College), Acting/musical theatre credits: The Sound of Music (Louisa), La Cage Aux Folles (Anne), Guys & Dolls, The Producers (Dance Captain) all for the Court Theatre Christchurch, TV Credits: StepDave, Funny Girls 1 & 2, Jono and Ben, The Brokenwood Mysteries. Zara loves sharing her passion and knowledge with young talent.
Rebecca Bignall – Ballet
Rebecca was born and raised in Nelson. She commenced dance at the age of 5yrs, studying Jazz, Tap and Ballet. A former student of Gillian Francis and Helen Brown, she went on to pursue full time tertiary Ballet at the International Ballet Academy in Christchurch. She later joined Southern Ballet Company 2005.
Rebecca performed many lead roles throughout her training. Her favourites include Swanhilda – Coppelia, Puck – Midsummer night’s dream & Sugar Plum Fairy – Nutcracker.
She was awarded the IDTA NZ scholarship for highest points Advanced II Ballet and competed at the NZ National Ballet Award 2003. Rebecca was also awarded her Solo Performance Diploma for both Jazz and Tap under the NZAMD.
As a fully registered teacher of the Royal Academy of Dance and New Zealand Association of Modern Dance, Rebecca went on to direct her own studio “Rebecca Bignall Boutique Dance Company,” specializing in quality training for elite Classical, Contemporary and stylized Jazz students. This is the company’s twelfth successful year. Numerous past and present students have gone on to train full time in Australia and US, or as Associates and Scholars at the NZ School of Dance.
Alongside dance, Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Teaching and Learning (Primary Education) and has been a part time school teacher for the past 10yrs.
She is currently studying towards a Diploma of Positive Psychology and Wellbeing, with the intention of developing an educational resource for aspiring dancers, to use complimentary to their dance training.
In 2018 Rebecca was selected as an aspiring Examiner of the NZAMD.
Rebecca is passionate about Ballet, instilling her love of the art to all students and developing lifelong learners
Hayden Lockwood - Acro
Hayden has been involved with gymnastics and cheerleading for over 20 years. He competed in gymnastics both nationally and internationally up until age 18 and also coached young gymnasts as a teenager. He has also been heavily involved in competitive cheerleading, being on multiple National Championship winning teams and travelling with Team New Zealand to compete at The Cheerleading World Championships in Orlando, Florida. With almost 10 years’ experience coaching, Hayden has a lot of knowledge and has enjoyed many successes with his teams. In 2009 Hayden co-founded Auckland based cheerleading programme “Cheer Dynamix” where he continued to grow and help nurture young talent.
Ashley Medcalfe – HIPHOP
Ashley became involved in the New Zealand Hip Hop community in 2009, when she joined Triple8Funk Dance Company (T8F)-one of the most established street dance companies in Australasia.
Along with extensive dance training nationally, she has also trained internationally in places such as Japan, Australia and Los Angeles with the Boogiezone Xchange Program. In 2013 Ashley was a ‘shadow’ judge at the 2013 Hip Hop International Champs in Las Vegas.
Ashley has been teaching HipHop in Auckland since 2010 and also taught in Los Angeles at Boogiezone Utopia in 2012. She has choreographed solo and troupe competition work and also taught and choreographed for the 2011 Rugby world cup ‘fan trail’ in Auckland.
Emma Hardisty - Dance Pilates
Emma Hardisty is a BSc Hons Physiotherapist and Master Pilates instructor from the UK. She began her career as a professional dance and choregrapher at the age of 16 before completing her honours degree in Physiotherapy in 1996.
She began doing Pilates to manage her own back injuries and was so impressed with the results she became a qualified Body Control Pilates Mat instructor in 2001. She moved to NZ in 2005 with her husband and completed her studio qualifications.
Emma has a real passion for how Pilates and Physiotherapy combined can give optimal rehab results across all walked of life, but espcially to dances for enhanced technique, improved flexibility and control, ease of movement and injury prevention.
Tyla Maud – Tap, Jazz, Contemporary
Tyla Maud has been dancing since she was very young and trained in a vast number of genres such as jazz, tap, contemporary, hip hop, ballet and more. She has competed in competitions in New Zealand, Gold Coast Australia and LA, and won various awards in her solos and groups. She has had the opportunity to learn from some world renowned choreographers on her trips overseas. Her professional work includes back up dancing for Jono & Ben and various other media works productions. Her passion for dance and years of training is shared when teaching the young talent.
Bronte Maud – Junior Associate
Bronte Maud is a current student at ACSA and a junior teacher. She has trained in ballet, jazz, lyrical, contemporary, musical theatre and tap. She has gained multiple awards across the globe in competitions such as Showstoppers LA, Showcase Finals Australia, Evolution Finals Australia and multiple other competitions around New Zealand. She has taken part as a backup dancer on Jono and Ben and other media works production. Bronte loves to inspire and help the younger students grow.
Lauryn Pearce – Junior Associate
Lauryn has been training with Auckland City School of the Arts for 6 years.
She loves to dance and is rarely seen sitting! She studies jazz, lyrical, ballet and contemporary.
Lauryn has taken classes internationally at Showstoppers, the Edge, the Millennium and at Abby Lee Dance Company in Los Angeles, Intrigue dance in Pittsburgh and Jo Reed in Canada. She has competed at the highest level in National finals at Showcase and Get the Beat (Australia) and Showstoppers (Anaheim, USA)