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 a decade 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 1 Progressing Ballet Techniques qualification. 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 Top 100 Most Influential Disabled People in the UK, 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 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 a certified Level 1 Progressing Ballet Technique teacher and a professional member of People Dancing, the foundation for community dance, who are committed to improving inclusion and diversity in dance.
An active member of the Dance Academy from day one, Fay has been working with Kate to further her skills and achieve her qualifications despite many obstacles. She is committed to further her professional development both with assistance from Kate and through her PBT and People Dancing memberships.
Although her qualifications in teaching dance were only recently achieved Fay has always loved dancing, enjoying multiple styles both before and after the deterioration of her health 5 years ago. She has experience in contemporary/lyrical, rock and roll, disco/freestyle, tap and ballet. Fay has even been fortunate enough to take advantage of online classes in recent years, 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/hEDS and multiple comorbidities with experience of various disabilities Fay 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 teaches PBT classes which includes movements that aim to strengthen, prevent injury and achieve correct body alignment through gentle, adaptable dance based stretches, exercises and movements. An innovative blend of ballet and physiotherapy with some props such as a yoga ball and resistance bands, Fay has found online classes in PBT to be extremely beneficial in maintaining her health and mobility without resulting in setbacks and is looking forward to sharing its benefits with you.
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.