About Pivot Studio

At Pivot Studio we have experienced,professional, patient,open, motivated,enthusiastic and passionate team with the flexibility to facilitate your experience regardless of ages or level of dance background.

Pivot Studio offers dancers or dance tuitions for functions and fun nights out such as Hens & Christmas Parties, new years eve events, birthday parties, Team building and Corporate events.

We also offer an option for children’s birthday parties.

Private tuition in Wedding Dances, Birthday parties, High school dances & Formals is also available upon request.

Meet Our Teachers

Lija Turner-Carroll

Lija Turner-Carroll

Principal

Principal teacher and co- owner of pivot studio has her own unique style of dance drawing on techniques and training in Afro, Jamaican dancehall, hula, tap, jazz, Latin styles and hip hop. She had performed and choreographed throughout Australia with local and international artists in music videos and live performances, such as Lisa Viola, Afro Moses, LL Bock and Elephantman.
Atalie Wilmoth

Atalie Wilmoth

Lyrical Jazz Instructor

Atalie is a professional singer, choreographer, dancer with over 19 years professional performing experience. Former principal and owner of pivot studio teaches many kids jazz/ballet classes, lyrical jazz, burlesque, funk hip hop and Latin styles.

Atalie has performed nationally and internationally at many prestigious events.

Ishtar

Ishtar

Hip Hop Dance instructor

Ishtar’s dance journey began in the usual way – a little girl with dreams of becoming a Ballerina. However, as with most journeys, there have been a few forks in the road and numerous changes of direction along the way. Ishtar did most of her formative dance training with Jackie Hallahan at the Canberra Dance Development Centre (CDDC) before being accepted into the Bachelor of Arts (Dance) course at the WA Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA) which is a predominantly Contemporary based course. Soon after finishing her training at WAAPA, Ishtar met her most influential teacher and now husband, B-boy Swipa. Through Swipa Ishtar had the opportunity to learn about Hip Hop dance and culture as well as train and perform with other dance artists involved with Dance Central Sydney – where a whole new world of dance opened up for Ishtar. Ishtar and Swipa moved to Newcastle in 2008 and began teaching at Pivot Studio as well as numerous other dance schools around the Newcastle/Hunter region. It has been the time spent with the Dance Central and Pivot dance communities that has really deepened Ishtar’s affinity for dance and taught her that dance is for everyone – whether you’re a Prima Ballerina with perfect technique or a toddler bouncing along to The Wiggles, the joy we experience from dance is the same.

Some of Ishtar’s career highlights have been dancing in the Fall Down film clip for Perth band Jebediah, being a Principal Dancer in a Perth based production of Bob Fosse’s Chicago, performing at corporate functions for companies such as Yahoo, McDonald’s and Westpac, NYE 2007 and 2008 at Lunar Park Sydney and being Head Choreographer for the Newcastle United Jets Dance Squad from 2009 to 2011.

Mary-Anne Hawson

Mary-Anne Hawson

Hula Hips Instructor

Mary-Anne has a Tongan, Welsh background . She has  been dancing different styles of Polynesian dancinjg since the age of 5.

She started to focus on Hula as she entered her late teens, when she began to educate people around Polynesian Culture and how Hula is the telling of stories. Your hips are the ocean, your core is the foundations and your hands gently tell the story.

Loris Andrea Sanchez

Loris Andrea Sanchez

Latin Dance instructor

Loris was born to dance, in fact she assures that she was just a child when she started dancing back in Colombia, where she was born and raised she is a natural dancer With a love for the Latin music and a tremendous desire to teach people to Latin dance such salsa, cha cha cha, boogaloo, merengue, bachata, and Colombian Folklore Loris will transform you into a lover of Latin dancing immediately whit her passion and charisma.

Danielle Lilley

Danielle Lilley

Samba Dance instructor

Danielle fell in love with samba during her first class at Pivot Studio in 2017 with our previous instructor, Emma Lindsay. She quickly became obsessed, taking private lessons to develop her samba technique and fundamentals.

With a broad dance background, Danielle quickly progressed into the advanced class and performance team. In 2018, she travelled to Tokyo with a group of Australian samba dancers to perform in the annual Asakusa Samba Carnival, the largest samba parade outside of Brazil. During her time in Tokyo she trained with some of Japan’s best samba dancers, and several times a year she also travels interstate to attend samba workshops and events.

Committed to developing her freestyle technique, she trained for and competed in the annual Australasian Samba Queen Competition in July 2019 and debuted her first samba choreography in the 2019 Pivot Showcase.

Danielle loves to share her passion for samba and her classes filled with drills, skills, fun choreography and amazing Brazilian music that will definitely get you shaking your bunda.

Leah Gale

Leah Gale

Heels On Dance instructor

I started at age 9, completely by chance. My friend’s sister started a studio so we all joined together. Fell in love with it from day one. I did RAD ballet, jazz, lyrical. It quickly became the thing everything else revolved around! I danced as much as I could with a few different studios around school, uni and work, then took a break when I had the kids. By wonderful chance found Pivot through a friend and started dancing again 5 years ago. 

My greatest dance inspirations arent anyone famous – I’m inspired by anyone who dances just for the love of it. Other dancers in class, absolute beginners or trained professionals, if someone is dancing simply because they love to dance, it inspires me to embrace my love of dance even more.

Dance is important to me because it makes a space for so many different experiences. The challenge of nailing new choreography or technique, the physical workout, the fun of meeting and dancing with friends and the chance to explore and express emotions through movement.

I’m excited to be teaching heels and the thing I love most is watching how each dancer infuses the choreography with their own style. My aim is to make a space where everyone can learn choreography and technique, while feeling free to explore their own artistry and style.

 

Alisha-Jane

Alisha-Jane

Tap Dance instructor

Alisha-Jane first fell in love with the world of Tap dancing when her grandfather and mother took her to see The Hot Shoe Shuffle at the Newcastle Civic Theatre at the tender age of 6 – there she knew she would find happiness in tap! Under the guidance of Newcastle’s finest tap teachers, Kristy Mansfield, Donna Michalitsis and Pamp Cramp – AJ has completed most of her LGDTA exams, performed in many Hunter Dance Festivals, Star Struck and School Spectacular, teaching tap as well as attending as many workshops to keep her mind fresh. Still dancing to this day she also enjoys, Jazz and more recently Samba – bringing out her inner Passista! AJ also has a inner thespian within her with a diploma of Speech and Drama from Trinity College of London – Dancing fills the soul with happiness which can be seen with her infectious smile on stage!

Stella Umeh

Stella Umeh

Yoga instructor

Stella Umeh, the founder and creator of The Ivory Elephant Group, is the most prolific gymnast in Canadian history. Stella Umeh championed the stage of gymnastics with several stints at the Commonwealth Games, World Championships, and a trip to Barcelona, Spain for the 1992 Olympic Games. Stella Umeh wrapped up her international career with an all-time honoured college career at UCLA as a ten-time All-American and NCAA Champion leading her to her 2012, UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame induction.

Stella has graced the stage, television and silver screen with her high-flying personality and dramatic expertise, Stella has made several coast-to-coast appearances showing her range as a gymnastics analyst with CBC to a fitness and wellness expert on the Fine Living Network out of Los Angeles, California. Stella recently wrapped up a 13-year love affair with Cirque Du Soleil where she became the only female artist to master virtually every single female role in the touring show Varekai. Taking her from being a key participant in the creation of the show to mastering the role as the lead female clown understudy. Stella’s knowledge was not limited to on-stage performance. She held the positions of choreography assistant and artist integration supervisor.

Having been a committed yoga practitioner for the last 21 years, Stella achieved two teaching certificates in yoga. Enabling her to share her love for the practice and teach classes and workshops all over the world to anyone who has a thirst to live a life of breath and elevated fluidity.

Stella is truly a consummate “Jack of all Trades,” and it is precisely this label that prompted her to start her own company and wellness brand: The Ivory Elephant Group.

“All that glitters is gold for Stella Umeh, Canada’s foremost female Gymnast…”

-People Who Make a Difference

Debra Rodrigues

Debra Rodrigues

Circus/Aerial Instructor

Debra has 20yrs experience teaching over 3000 students in youth and adult amateur and professional circus and drama companies, festivals and arts programmes.  She specialises in coaching circus conditioning, single static, swinging and dance trapeze, aerial web, tissue, tumbling, clowning, hula hooping and stilt walking. She has trained and worked with members of Circus Oz, Flying Fruit Fly Circus, Rock n Roll Circus (now Circa), Legs on The Wall and Chinese hand balancers (Lung Bros). She was artistic director/trainer/performer for The Tasmanian Youth Circus, Bliss Family Circus, Triptoe  Trapeze Trio, Horizon Circus (Tasmania), Circus Kabau (Brisbane) and performed at Out of The Box Children’s Festival, National Circus Festival, Woodford and Illawarra Festivals and has toured extensively as a professional hula hoopist, dancer and comedian with The Australian Touring Theatre Company.

Raquel Hamilton

Raquel Hamilton

Zumba / Ballet Barre Instructor

has been spreading the zumba love for many years now and has recently added to her love of fitness and dance with becoming a ballet barre instructor.