Our teaching staff
Kate STanforth (she/her)
Founder of the academy, Kate was training to be a professional dancer before she became unwell and since becoming a wheelchair user (over 15 years ago!) has adapted her dancing to fit her condition and mobility aids. She has a high level of skill and interest working with people with chronic conditions, mobility aids and hyper-mobility.
Kate has her Associate Ballet Qualification with IDTA and NCDTA. She also has her Level 3 Progressing Ballet Techniques qualification as well as being fully qualified with Rambert Grades. Kate works regularly with dance organisations to advise on inclusion with cross-sector partnerships with both brands and dance examination boards.
Kate has won multiple awards, including being named in the Dance Trailblazer in 2023 for Motability, Top 100 Most Influential Disabled People in the UK 2022, A 'Woman of the Year' 2021 + 2022, and, Wellbeing Practitioner Award for 2021 from One Dance UK. The Dance Academy was given a 'Highly Commended Award' at the Together Awards, named The Guardians Favourite Cheap Fitness Class (next to The Body Coach!) and named No2 Best Inclusive Dance Class by Cosmopolitan.
Kate is keen to challenge the industry perception of disabled dancers and has published pieces in high profile places, including The Guardian and Metro about this. As well as dancing, Kate engages in a range of activities from public speaking to modeling which all bring a better representation of disability and dance. She has recently collaborated with a number of high-profile brands, including worldwide dance brand Capezio, and become the first wheelchair user on the Disney UK Events team.
At the Dance Academy, Kate teaches a range of styles and teaches students with a variety of conditions from cerebral palsy to EDS. She has a real passion to include everyone and to help them find their own adaptations for dance.
Maeghan taverner (they/she)
Maeghan (they/she) is a disabled dancer, actor, choreographer, and academic. They began dancing at the age of 4 and have trained in styles like ballet, pointe, tap, jazz, musical theatre, modern, contemporary, hip-hop, salsa, and highland. Before they became chronically ill and disabled, they were just entering the professional world of dance and theatre. Their goal now is to make the dance and theatre industries more inclusive.
They have been a provincial representative in Scottish highland dancing for Team Nova Scotia in the ScotDance Canada Championship Series (2012, 2013, and 2017). They have completed their RAD ballet examinations up to and including Advanced 1. They formerly taught at Stagecoach Performing Arts and were the President of DalDance Society at Dalhousie University. They continue to choreograph/teach through Theatre Nova Scotia's PERFORM! program and are a current board member for Dance Nova Scotia.
Maeghan received their Bachelor of Arts degree at Dalhousie University, where they studied a Combined Honours in Acting (Fountain School of Performing Arts) and Sociology. They are currently a Master of Arts student in Sociology where they are focused on issues impacting LGBTQ+ populations. They are passionate about youth arts education and hope to share their experience and love of dance with the next generation.
Fay Crockett (she/her)
Fay is fully certified in Levels 1, 2 and 3 of Progressing Ballet Technique and a professional member of People Dancing, the foundation for community dance, who are committed to improving inclusion and diversity in dance.
Fay has always loved dancing, enjoying multiple styles both before and after the deterioration of her health in early 2017. She has experience in contemporary/lyrical, rock and roll, disco/freestyle, tap and ballet. Fay was even fortunate enough to take advantage of online classes during 2020/21, learning street dance with Diversity and ballroom and Latin classes with both Amy Dowden and Robin Windsor from Strictly Come Dancing.
As an ambulatory wheelchair user with ME, HSD, PoTS and other comorbidities, Fay has experience of various disabilities meaning she is comfortable working with dancers with a range of medical conditions. She is committed to learning about any illnesses/disabilities unfamiliar to her in order to ensure every individual is included and able to experience the joy, health benefits and sense of community in class.
Fay is enthusiastic about online teaching and understands the importance of online classes in allowing more people to participate; without the movement online she may not have been able to return to dance herself.
Fay has been teaching at the dance academy since Spring 2022 and is committed to continuing her professional development to become the best teacher she can be. She has worked with Progressing Ballet Technique, performed at Yorkshire Wildlife Park in partnership with Allied Mobility and assisted in the choreography of some of the academy’s TV appearances. Fay also works closely with Kate in her efforts to make the dance world and its examination bodies more inclusive.
Although Fay specialises in PBT, you will also find her teaching a range of styles across other classes.
Noa porten (She/her)
Noa is a dancer, certified meditation and mindfulness teacher, and multi medium storyteller. Noa danced and performed for much of her life training in a variety of styles and participating in a pre professional company and a competition team at her local studio until becoming chronically ill. After her own journey rediscovering and redefining dance alongside chronic illness, Noa became passionate about accessibility and inclusion, believing that everyone deserves inclusive and accessible movement spaces and options and that all movement is worthy whether it's sitting, standing, laying down, outside, in the kitchen or in a studio. Tap dance was Noa’s way back into dance after many years away due to chronic illness, and she is therefore excited to share the joy of inclusive tap with the community.
Noa received her 200 hour meditation and mindfulness teaching certification through The Interdependence Project and now teaches inclusive mindfulness and movement for Yoga for All Humans and Dance for All Bodies. Noa has 10 years of combined dance training, including at Dancers Workshop and McCallum Fine Arts Academy. Noa also attended Axis Dance Company summer dance intensive & day long inclusive dance teacher training 2021. Noa is currently a member of ComeBacks Dance Company, and trains in tap under Hillary Marie at I Tap Online.
Jade Armstrong (She/her)
Jade Armstrong is a disabled dancer, before her health deteriorated she had been dancing from a young age starting in ballroom and Latin then moving on to acting and dancing at the highest level appearing in byker grove, competing in disco freestyle competitions up and down the country, including dancing in the spotlight of the winter gardens and tower ballroom in Blackpool & winning many titles.
in further education Jade worked with the council as a sports leader and taught dance in school and communities.
She completed a BTEC in musical theatre and dance concentrating on Jazz, ballet and contemporary in which she received distinction grades.
She then went on to achieve a FDA contemporary dance degree where she trained in contemporary and ballet. She progressed on to professional training receiving a scholarship to Addict dance academy, where she performed on the main stage at Move it, meanwhile she also took part in a TV show with dance group diversity.
Jade took part in a photoshoot which Kate had organised for disabled people and found there was a new way to pursue her passion for dance after her health decline and begun classes with kate both online and in person so understands first hand how life changing and amazing these classes are to be inclusive and adapt dance for disabled people
Jade is interested in multiple styles but specialises in commercial dance which she loves to teach.