Read on below for biographies...
Michael Berkin is a former Head Boy of The Royal Ballet School. He trained there for 8 years, graduating with the Royal Ballet School Diploma in Dance. Whilst training at the school, Michael also performed in many of the Royal Ballet’s productions on the famous Royal Opera House stage in Covent Garden.
Michael has also completed the Diploma in Ballet Education Practice, awarded by The Royal Ballet School and Royal Opera House. He has since been invited to work as a freelance ballet teacher with The Royal Ballet School.
During his professional performing career, Michael has danced with many top international ballet companies including Birmingham Royal Ballet, Royal New Zealand Ballet, Ballet Ireland and Northern Ballet. He has performed in New Zealand, China and Thailand and toured extensively throughout the U.K and the Republic of Ireland.
Michael Berkin’s roles have included ‘The Nutcracker Prince’ and ‘Drosselmeyer’ in The Nutcracker, the lead in Les Sylphides, ‘Tybalt’, ‘Paris’ and ‘Lord Capulet’ in Romeo and Juliet, ‘Captain Hook’ in Peter Pan, ‘Seward’ and ‘Van Helsing’ in Dracula and ‘Sharpless’ in Madame Butterfly to name but a few.
Michael’s interest in teaching dance began early on in his career. Whilst still a student he assisted in teaching ballet classes at the Royal Ballet School’s International Summer School Programme. Michael continued to teach alongside his performing career. He has worked with the Learning and Access departments of The Royal New Zealand Ballet and Northern Ballet, teaching dance workshops in schools in the local community and workshops for visually impaired people as well as guest teaching at a number of dance schools.
Michael has taught as Guest Ballet Master for Northern Ballet, teaching and rehearsing the professional ballet dancers on the U.K tour of ‘The Ugly Duckling’, a ballet for children. He has also taught on the Professional Graduate programme at Northern Ballet and has taught and rehearsed the dancers for the 2014 tour of ‘The Three Little Pigs’. Michael has taught at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance, at Leeds University and at the Northern Ballet Academy. He has also been invited to teach ballet masterclasses for the Royal Academy of Dance and the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing.
Most recently, Michael has taught students at the Royal Ballet School at both White Lodge and the Upper School. Michael has also been invited to join the faculty of the Royal Ballet School's International Summer School at White Lodge
Professional Dance Experience was set up to allow students of all abilities to work with and learn from top professionals from the world of dance. Kimberley and Michael are delighted to have invited a number of guest teachers, choreographers, dancers, lecturers, physiotherapists, pilates instructors and more to join them in delivering their courses and programmes. They would like to thank the guests below for sharing their wealth of knowledge and expertise with the students and customers of Professional Dance Experience.
Michael Berkin RBS Dip. Managing Director, Professional Dance Experience
- Diploma in Dance (Royal Ballet School)
- Diploma in Ballet Education Practice (Royal Ballet School & Royal Opera House)
- International Performing Career
- Guest Ballet Master and teacher for a number of internationally recognised ballet companies and ballet schools
Kimberley Berkin PDTD, Director of Courses and Principal, Ballet Associate Programme
- Royal Ballet School trained
- RAD Professional Dancer’s Teaching Diploma (Distinction)
- International Performing Career
- Former Lecturer in Ballet Technique, Northern School of Contemporary Dance
- Founder of Tips On Ballet Technique
Kimberley started dancing at the age of three at The Classical Ballet Centre in Chippenham, Wiltshire before going on to train at The Royal Ballet School for 8 years. As a student, she performed with the Royal Ballet in various ballets including The Nutcracker, Manon and Sleeping Beauty at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. Kimberley also has a talent for choreography and won The Ursula Moreton Choreographic Competition as a second year student at the Upper School.
After graduating, Kimberley gained a contract with Ballet Ireland where she quickly took on soloist roles and performed all over Ireland and the UK. A highlight of her career was performing as ‘Juliet’ in Romeo and Juliet at the National Concert Hall in Dublin. Kimberley also performed as the lead in La Sylphide at a gala performance in London, hosted by the American Artist Karen Kilimnik. She then went on to perform with English National Ballet in Derek Deane’s Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall, The Palace of Versailles and also at The Princess Diana Concert at Wembley.
Kimberley’s talent for teaching was spotted at an early age. Whilst still a student, she was invited to work as an assistant teacher at The Royal Ballet School International Summer School for two consecutive years. This ignited her desire to teach and following her performing career Kimberley retrained as a teacher, gaining the Royal Academy of Dance Professional Dancer’s Teaching Diploma with distinction.
In 2008 Kimberley was offered a full time teaching post as a Lecturer in Ballet Technique at The Northern School of Contemporary Dance, a Higher Education College in Leeds. Kimberley has been a year co-ordinator at NSCD, has worked as a rehearsal director, taught private and group coaching sessions and has also taught as part of the audition panel in the U.K and Europe.
Kimberley joined Professional Dance Experience full time as the Director of Courses and Ballet Associates Principal in 2014. Since then she has helped a number of our Ballet Associate students successfully audition for further training at vocational dance schools. Kimberley has also been responsible for the development and running of the Professional Dance Experience Summer, Easter and Christmas Courses and in 2016 she created the Youth Ballet Theatre. Kimberley is invited by many local dance schools to deliver Ballet Masterclasses including exam preparation and pointe work technique. Through her website, www.tipsonballettechnique.com Kimberley helps ballet students and teachers across the world to improve their ballet technique with downloadable videos and DVDs.
2018 Guest Professionals:
Michael Raynaud PDTD, Guest Ballet Teacher, Summer Ballet Course 2018
- Professional Dance Experience ballet teacher & workshop leader
- Trained at The Paris Opera Ballet School and the National Conservatoire.
- International performing career with English National Ballet
- Semi finalist at international Ballet Competitions in Budapest and St Petersburg.
Michael Raynaud trained locally in the South of France before beginning his formal training at The Paris Opera Ballet School at the age of ten. Whilst at The Paris Opera, Michael performed all over the world touring to Japan, NewYork, Greece and France.
Michael went on to train at the National Conservatoire in Paris, where he gained his Arts Baccalauréat and Unités de Valeurs. He was a semi Finalist in the International Ballet Competition in Budapest as well as the Maia Plissetskaia Competition in St Petersburg.
On completing his training Michael joined the English National Ballet for their worldwide tour of Swan Lake. He then became a permanent member of the company, performing many roles including ‘Paris’ and ‘Benvolio’ in Nureyev’s Romeo and Juliet, ‘Pas De Quatre’ in Derek Deane’s Swan Lake and ‘Winter Season’ in Michael Corder’s Cinderella.
Michael has toured with English National Ballet to Australia, Japan, Hong-Kong and Europe. His favourite ballets to dance to are Harald Lander’s Etudes and Kenneth Macmillan’s Rite of Spring.
Michael has taught ballet classes to students of all ages and also helps ice skaters with their choreography. Michael delivers Professional Ballet Workshops and Masterclasses for Professional Dance Experience in London and the South.
Most recently, Michael Raynaud has been invited to teach ballet workshops at the Royal Academy Of Dance Headquarters in Battersea and has also been teaching on their Ballet Associates classes in Hampshire. He has also become Associate Tutor for Ballet at the Guildford School of Acting at Surrey University, ballet teacher at the London Boys Ballet School, and has been teaching ballet classes at London Junior/Senior Ballet at ArtsEd and at the London Studio Centre.
Louise Bennett, Guest Choreographer, Summer Ballet Course Leeds 2018
- International performing career
- Royal Ballet School Trained Professional Choreographer
- Former winner of the Kenneth Macmillan and Dame Ninette De Valois awards
- Works created for The Royal Ballet, Ballet Central, The Royal Ballet School, Tivoli Ballet and more
Louise Bennett was born in Bristol and attended the Royal Ballet School from age eleven to eighteen. She has danced with English National Ballet, the Norwegian National Ballet and the Royal Swedish Ballet, and has attained a degree in English Literature from Royal Holloway, University of London.
Louise started choreographing at age 11 and regularly participated in school choreographic competitions. She won both the Kenneth Macmillan and Dame Ninette de Valois awards, and at age sixteen, her work 'Elegy' was performed in the Linbury Theatre at the Royal Opera House.
Since leaving the school Louise has worked with some of the most famous dancers of this generation including Sergei Polunin and Xander Parish. Louise has choreographed new works for The Royal Ballet, The Royal Ballet School, Ballet Central, Artelier, Tivoli Ballet and most recently the National Youth Ballet, as well as taking part in The Royal Opera House's Draftworks workshop and Dancelines project with Wayne McGregor. She also took part in a mentoring program where she worked under the guidance of Kim Brandstrup, and has led a series of creative workshops at Rambert School as part of the redevelopment of West End show Voices of the Amazon. In 2017 Louise created 'Summer Adventure' for Professional Dance Experience's 'Youth Ballet Theatre', and is thrilled to be returning to PDE.
Debbi Purtill - Guest Contemporary Dance Teacher, Easter Dance Course Leeds 2018
- Professional Contemporary Dancer and Choreographer
- Trained at The Northern School of Contemporary Dance (NSCD)
- Associate Director of balletLORENT
- Former Lecturer at NSCD and former Course Leader for the HND in Dance at Newcastle College
Debbi is a dance technique and yoga teacher, performer and choreographer who trained at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance (NSCD).
Her career has encompassed both dance and theatre, working with choreographers, visual artists and directors including Nigel Charnock, Herve Jourdet, David Massingham, Paul & Menno Nooijer, Alan Lyddiard and a career long collaboration with Simon Birch.
She joined balletLORENT in 2001 working as a dancer (credits include Rapunzel, Designer Body, la nuit intime and The Night Ball) rehearsal director and mentor and in 2014 she was appointed Associate Director with the company.
As well as founding Debbi Purtill Dance in 1995, Debbi has taught and choreographed across the UK, she was course leader for the HND in Dance at Newcastle College and a lecturer at NSCD (2001 – 2011) where she developed and refined her teaching of Graham based technique.
Debbi regularly mentors dance artists, teaches for professional dance companies and has recently completed her MA in Professional Dance Practice through Teesside University.
Debbi Purtill's classes were very popular at the Easter Dance Course 2016 and we are very excited that she will be returning to be part of the Professional Dance Experience team for the Easter Dance Course 2017.
Nathalie Leger PDTD Guest Ballet Teacher, Easter Dance Course Leeds 2018
- Former Principal Ballerina
- Performed with Basler Ballet, Les Ballets De Monte Carlo, Deustche Oper Am Rhein and Northern Ballet
- RAD Professional Dancer’s Teaching Diploma (Distinction)
- Teacher at a number of vocational dance schools
Nathalie trained at the “Academie de la danse Classique “ under the tutelage of Russian ballet teacher Marika Besobrasova.
She joined the Basler Ballet under the direction of choreographer Heinz Spoerli. In 1990 Nathalie became semi-soloist then soloist and created the role as Clara, as well as the ballet Miniaturen. In 1991 she joined Deustche Oper Am Rhein, Dusseldorf, Germany, as a soloist.
In 1997 she joined Les Ballets De Monte-Carlo where she danced an extensive repertoire from George Balanchine to Michel Fokine.
In 2004, she joined Northern Ballet and was promoted to Principal, dancing roles including Odette (Swan Lake), Tourvel (Dangerous Liaisons), Queen Ann (Three Musketeers), Lady Capulet (Romeo & Juliet), before having her last lead role of Gertrude (Hamlet) created especially for her. Throughout her career Nathalie has worked with renowned choreographers such as Hans Van Mannen, William Forsythe, Maurice Béjart, Paul Taylor, Nacho Duato, Lucinda Childs Gillian Lynne , Jiri Kylian, to name only a few.
In 2010, Nathalie retired from Northern Ballet and trained at the Royal Academy of Dance in London, gaining the Professional Dancer’s Teaching Diploma with Distinction. Nathalie has taught at a number of vocational dance schools including Northern School of Contemporary Dance, Northern Ballet, SLP, KS Dance and Dance Studio Company, in Faenza, Italy.
Nathalie is regularly invited to be part of the teaching staff on different Summer Schools around the country and a regular Guest Teacher with the Matthew Bourne touring Company” Lord of The Flies”, The Molly Lake Award 2014/2015, and was in July 2015, part of the teaching staff and jury panel for the International Rieti Dance Competition in Italy.
Ciara is a former student of the Professional Dance Experience Ballet Associates Programme. Since finishing her training at the Ballet Associates, Ciara has returned to work with Professional Dance Experience on our Courses. She was Louise Bennett's Rehearsal Director for the Professional Dance Experience Youth Ballet Theatre in 2017 and she assits Kimberley and Michael at the Ballet Associates and Pointe Work Programmes. Ciara was recently invited to work as Rehersal Director at the National Youth Ballet and she is currently a Dance Ambassador for One Dance UK and is also studying for a Degree in Dance at Leeds Beckett University.
Ciara Clayton Courses And Classes Assistant, Professional Dance Experience
- Former Professional Dance Experience Ballet Associate
- Dance Ambassador For One Dance UK
- Currently studying for a Degree in Dance at Leeds Beckett University
- Rehearsal Director For National Youth Ballet and Youth Ballet Theatre
Previous Guest Professionals
Kenneth Tindall - Summer Ballet Course Choreographer, 2016 & Ballet Teacher Seminar Day Guest Speaker 2016
- Award winning choreographer
- Former Principal Dancer with Northern Ballet
- Works created for Northern Ballet, English National Ballet, John Neumeier's Hamburg Junior Ballet and more
Morgann Runacre Temple - Summer Ballet Course Choreographer, 2014 and 2015
- Choreographer in residence at Balelt Ireland since 2009
- Choreographer for London Children's Ballet
- Works created for film and theatre
Raymond Chai - Summer Ballet Course Choreographer, 2017 & Ballet Teacher Seminar Day Guest Teacher, 2016
- Former dancer with National Ballet of Portugal
- International Guest Teacher
- Former Chief Ballet Master for Ballet Black and current Ballet Lecturer at The Place
Diane Van Schoor F.I.S.T.D. [CSF] C.I.C.B, Fin Dip, FRSA - Ballet Teacher Seminar Day Guest Teacher, 2015
- Former Ballet Principal of The Royal Ballet Lower School, White Lodge
- International Master Teacher and Examiner
- Guest teacher at a number of the world's most prestigious vocational ballet schools and companies
Janet Briggs MSc. MCSP - Ballet Teacher Seminar Day Guest Lecturer, 2015
- Physiotherapist at The Royal Ballet School
- Lecturer at CPD events for ballet teachers
Alexander Campbell - Ballet Teacher Seminar Day Guest Speaker 2017
- Principal Dancer with The Royal Ballet
- Guest Artist with Australian Ballet and Birmingham Royal Ballet
Viki Westall - Ballet Teacher Seminar Day Guest Teacher 2016, 2017
- Former Principal Ballerina with Northern Ballet Theatre and former dancer with London Festival Ballet
- Guest Teacher at a number of vocational ballet schools and companies
- Body Control Pilates Teacher
Eric Assandri FHEA, MIfL, QTLS, PGCLTHE - Ballet Teacher Seminar Day Guest Teacher 2015, 2016
- Former Professional Ballet Dancer and Ballet Master
- Lecturer in Ballet Technique at The Northern School of Contemporary Dance
- International Examiner for the Royal Academy of Dance
Judith Reyn - Ballet Teacher Seminar Day Guest Lecturer, 2017
- Former Dancer with the Royal Ballet and former Principal Ballerina with Stutgart Ballet Company
- Former teacher of classical ballet, variations, and repertoire for Vienna State Opera Ballet School
- Guest Teacher with a number of prestigious vocational ballet schools and ballet companies
Darren Goldsmith - Ballet Teacher Seminar Day Guest Speaker, 2015
- Former Principal Dancer with Northern Ballet Company
Samantha Modeste - Easter Dance Course Guest Teacher, 2017
- Professional Jazz Dancer and Teacher from BOP Jazz Theatre Company
- Former Head Of Jazz at Stella Mann College and guest teacher at Urdang Academy, Pineapple Dance Studios and Danceworks
- International performing career on film, television and stage
Laura Davenport, Former PDE Ballet Teacher and Workshop Leader
- Trained at Elmhurst School for Dance
-Diploma in Professional Dance
-International performing career with Birmingham Royal Ballet
-Former ballet teacher at The Elmhurst Summer School
Christie Bell, Former PDE Ballet Teacher and Workshop Leader
- Royal Ballet School and Central School of Ballet trained.
-Diploma in Classical Ballet
-International performing career
-Royal Academy of Dance Solo Seal, and finalist at the prestigious Adeline Genee International Ballet Competition
Bethan Smith, Former PDE Ballet Teacher and Workshop Leader
-Trained at The Elmhurst School for Dance
-International performing career with The Slovak National Ballet
Emily Edwards, Former PDE Ballet Teacher and Workshop Leader
- Trained at The Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance.
- International performing career with Ballet Cymru
- Former teacher on Ballet Cymru Ballet Associate Programmes and Summer Courses.
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Photo Credits below
Photo: Martin Bell
Photo: Brian Slater
Photo: Carl Thorborg
Photo: Alfy's Photography
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Photo: Martin Tomlinson
Photo: Rob Moore
Photo: Peter Teigen
Photo: Martin Bell
Photo: Sian Trenberth