At ESD we are immensely proud of our lovely teachers, they are all dedicated to nurture, encourage, and inspire your child to reach their potential; whether they dance for fun or want to dance as a vocation.
PRINCIPAL - Head of Ballet
Tanya has been dancing the age of three! She completed her professional training at the Hammond School in Chester and is a fully registered teacher of the Royal Academy of Dance.
She returned to Exeter in 1988 to run the school with her sister Susan. When Susan left to pursue another career Tanya became Principal of the school and is proud of it's outstanding reputation as a centre of dance excellence in the heart of Exeter's city centre. Her choreography regularly wins solo and group sections at the Exeter Dance Festival and beyond.
The school has won the Exeter Festival Performance Award and had pupils medal in the Young Dancer award on many occations, pupils have also gone on to compete and achieve medal places in the All England Festival.
Tanya is also head of dance for Stage Studios' sister company Stage By Stage, run by her husband Ian Trafford. She has staged a over 150 of musicals for children and adults of all ages including West Side Story, Carousel, Songs for a New World, We Will Rock You and Seussical the musical.
She is the resident choreographer for Kickline Theatre Company and has choreographed their professional pantomimes from 2010 to the present day. She has also worked with Kickline for their Rep season of plays.
Tanya is also a qualified instructor for the Exeter Gymnastics Club and regularly choreographs national and international championship-winning floor routines.
Head of Modern and Tap
Sarah started dancing at the age of 2, and trained with the Euridge School of Dancing and Stage by Stage until she was 18. Sarah then went on to train at Performers College in Essex, graduating with a Level 6 Diploma in Professional Musical Theatre. During her time at college, Sarah was lucky enough to be taught by and work with many professional choreographers, and performed at events such as Move It, The Daisy Ball and the FA Cup Final.
After graduating, Sarah worked as a professional dancer and performer at The Colour House children’s theatre in London, as well as playing the title role in Kickline’s productions of ‘The Little Mermaid’ and the 2015/16 Pantomime ‘Sleeping Beauty’. However, Sarah’s love of teaching soon drew her back to Devon, where she completed her teaching qualifications with Deborah Laws, FISTD and examiner for the ISTD. Sarah is now studying for her Licentiate teaching qualification, and also recently also achieved 95 marks for her Advanced 2 Tap exam.
Head of Street Dance
Joanne first found her love for dance at the age of six when she joined the Pamela De Waal School of Dance in Torquay. Whilst Joanne was a student, she won the British Ballet Championships on two occasions and the South West of England Ballet Championships five times. She then progressed to win the World Ballet Championships as well as the World Modern Championships. At 14, she moved to London to attend Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts and remained there for two years. Her third year of training took place at the London Studio Centre.
Jo’s career has taken her all over the world; she worked on Caribbean and Mediterranean cruise liners as dance captain/ choreographer and also performed in many summer seasons and pantomimes in the U.K. for top light entertainment producers Q.Dos and E&B Productions, working alongside such artists as Bobby Davro, Bradley Walsh, Jim Davidson, Leslie Grantham, Vicky Michelle, Mel B, The Chuckle Bros, The Krankies, Cannon & Ball, Micheala Strachen, The Nolans and Shane Ritchie.
Jo was honoured to be asked to perform for Her Majesty the Queen and HRH Prince Phillip in the Royal Centenary Gala at Buckingham Palace. She was also presented with a certificate of "achievement in dance" by Diana, Princess of Wales.
Jo played a leading role in the film Count Solar and has made many television appearances on such shows as Eastenders, Casualty, The Bill, May to December, London’s Burning, Noel’s Christmas Party as well as performing regularly on Children’s BBC.
Body conditioning and associate teacher
Will Trafford is an Exeter-born actor returning from London to perform in the Exeter Rep season of plays. Will trained at the Euridge
School of Dance and Stage by Stage in Exeter from the age of two in acting, singing, and dancing befor going on to Performers college where he gained a Higher National Diploma in Musical
He has been working professionally since he was thirteen, performing in local pantomimes such as 'Aladdin', 'Jack and the Beanstalk' as the titular characters, and in the musical 'Merlin’s Apprentice' in Taunton playing Arthur.
He appeared on the Italian TV show ‘Tú Sí Que Vales?’ as part of the Tap Corps group created by veteran Tap Dog Dougie Mills and as a backing performer on ‘The X Factor’.
In 2018 he created a new physical theatre characterisation of the Creature in 'Frankenstein'. Most recently Will appeared as Greebo in ‘Snow White’ at the Exeter Corn exchange and has recently completed shooting a film due to come out next year!
Will trained as a professional modern and tap dance teacher through the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing and is also a qualified gymnastics coach.
Associate teacher/singing teacher
Bryony started her performing life at the Euridge school of Dancing and Stage by Stage at the age of 3. Her potential was soon realised and she went on to play many leading roles including SANDY in Grease and SALLY BOWLES in Cabaret. Bryony enjoyed competing in festivals where she,and her dance partner Will Trafford won many medals for their duets including 2nd and 3rd medals at the National Finals. After her A levels Bryony went on to train at Bird College graduating with a 1st BA (hons) in Professional Dance and Musical Theatre in 2008.
Professional theatre credits include: MEG GIRY - Phantom of the Opera (Guernsey) ALICE - Alice in Wonderland (UK tour) CINDERELLA - Cinderella (Embassy Theatre) Bryony created the role of CHLOE THE RAG DOLL - Toys the New Musical (Dubai) NGNANA - South Pacific 2008 UK tour (Princess Theatre Torquay)