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Teachers & Faculty

Classes are taught by a variety of experienced, talented and energetic teachers.  All members of staff hold an Enhanced Disclosure CRB Certificate.

Susan Robinson - Principal

ARAD, Advanced Teaching Dip, RAD Examiner, FRAD

Susan Robinson won a scholarship to Elmhurst Ballet School and subsequently to the Royal Ballet School, training under distinguished teachers such as Dame Ninette de Valois. After graduating, Miss Sue danced professionally for a number of years, including touring many of the German and Dutch Opera Houses with the Wuppertal Ballet Company. On returning to England, Miss Sue taught professional dancers at the London Dance Centre in Floral Street before obtaining the Royal Academy of Dance’s Advanced Teaching Diploma and founding The Susan Robinson School of Ballet in 1975. In 1976, she was appointed as an Examiner for The Royal Academy of Dance.

In May 2011, Miss Sue had the honour of meeting the Queen and Prince Phillip at Buckingham Palace as a recognition of her long service teaching young people in the Arts. Additionally, it was with great pride that Miss Sue received the Fellowship of the Royal Academy of Dance, their highest honour , from Dame Darcey Bussell DBE in July 2019 .


Catharine Lewis - ballet teacher

LCDD (1st Class) RAD RTS (Teaching Certificate), AISTD (Dip) Modern, AISTD Ceccetti, ISTD Ballet & National

Miss Cathy began her dance training at the Susan Robinson School of Ballet before studying at The London College of Dance (formerly the ISTD College) achieving Advanced in ballet, modern and national dance and graduating with a 1st Class Diploma. She then taught ballet and modern for two years in Greece following which she returned to the Susan Robinson School of Ballet in 1993.

Miss Cathy also had the privilege of rehearsing our students for the Royal Academy of Dance new grades 1-5 launch and syllabus DVDs and also rehearsing our students for the grade 1-3 character syllabus DVDs.

Gretchen Kiefer - ballet teacher

BBO Diploma in Dance Teaching and Level 5 Certificate in Further Education Teaching (distinction), MRAD 

Dancing and teaching for over 25 years, Miss Gretchen is a former professional dancer and founder member of Island Moving Company (USA). She was involved in numerous tours, performances and outreach programmes with the Island Moving Company and also performed with the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and several Colorado ballet companies. Miss Gretchen has also choreographed for the Island Moving Company, Little Theater of the Rockies and the University of Northern Colorado. She has taught dance at the Newport Academy of Ballet, University of Northern Colorado and also teaches for  Woking Dance Space (adults).  Miss Gretchen teaches the vocational grades and our senior ballet coaching class.

Jade Souter - ballet teacher


Miss Jade started ballet with Miss Sue aged three.  She completed all her Royal Academy of Dance ballet exams including Advanced 1 as well as the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance Modern and Tap exams up to Advanced level. Miss Jade has danced in many shows and charity events and as a child successfully competed at several All England Dance Finals.

She gained her Royal Academy of Dance's Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies, whilst also achieving three A-levels at Godalming College.  Miss Jade began her teaching career over ten years ago, and has since coached many pupils to achieve exceptional marks in their ballet exams. She has coached students to dance with a number of well known companies including the Bolshoi and has choreographed for dance competitions, festivals and auditions. Her choreography for the biennial shows has meant she has a vast knowledge of repertoire from all the most famous ballets.  

Lara Lucano - ballet teacher


Miss Lara trained at the Susan Robinson School of Ballet from the age of four studying ballet, tap, modern and jazz. At the age of ten, she won the South East Final of the RAD Fonteyn Nureyev Ballet Competition and had the opportunity to dance with the Bolshoi Ballet at the Royal Opera House and also with the Northern Ballet.

Miss Lara enjoyed great success at festivals and was awarded runner up in the Young Dancer of the Year at the All England Dance Finals in London in 2011 . Miss Lara gained her RAD Advanced 2 Ballet with Distinction and and won a scholarship to Millennium Performing Arts in London. During her time there she was awarded ‘Best All Round Performer’ and the ‘Jazz Award' and was chosen as Dance Captain / Assistant Choreographer for a production of Cinderella at the Ickenham Theatre. Miss Lara successfully completed the Royal Academy of Dance's Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies.

Nicola Bacon - modern, tap & jazz teacher


As a child, Miss Nicky was winner of the the ISTD senior Tap award, the ISTD senior ballet musicality prize and was runner up of the ISTD senior Janet Cram modern award. She was also a regular All England Dance festivals finalist. 

Her professional dance experience includes TV work on the Benny Hill Show, Jim Davidson Special and Illusions Magic Show.  On stage, she has performed in Ziegfeld at the London Palladium, Cabaret and many summer shows and pantomimes.  She has choreographed for three pantomime seasons at the Epsom Playhouse and the pantomime at the Theatre Royal in Brighton.

Miss Nicky has previously taught at the Guildford School of Acting , Italia Conti, Mountview Theatre School, The Arnould School and Jayne Coleman Academy. She was also the owner and principal of the Ripley Dance Academy from 1990 to 2006. The school achieved huge regular success over the years with her students reaching the finals in All England Dance competitions, winning ISTD awards and performing in several shows at local theatres.

Amanda Lee Gardener - musical theatre teacher

Miss Amanda started dancing at the age of 3 and later travelled to Byfleet to attend Miss Sue's ballet classes. Miss Amanda has had a passion for musical theatre from a very young age and has played a variety of roles including Calamity (Calamity Jane ), Gladys (Pajama Game), Gertie (Oklahoma) and the part of Pepper in a professional touring production of Annie!

She won a scholarship to Laine Theatre Arts for the most promising musical theatre student and went on to perform professionally both in the UK and abroad. Brushes with TV include making the final 50 of ITV's first ever reality show Popstars and appearing on ITV's Saturday night show Who Dares, Sings! with Ben Shepherd and Denise van Outen. 

After settling back in Portsmouth to start a family, she decided to spread the passion of performing and successfully studied for her ISTD teaching qualification. Amanda has also taught at Bedales and Dunhurst schools, Petersfield Academy and is a founder of ALG Theatre Arts in Portsmouth. Amanda is pleased to be sharing her love for the arts and hopes that her pupils fall in love with musical theatre just as she did.

Guest Teachers

Lauren Hurst

ARAD, BA (hons) Rambert

Lauren trained at the Susan Robinson School of Ballet from the age of six, completing all her Royal Academy of Dance examinations with distinction. In 2014 she was a semi-finalist at the RAD Genée International Ballet Competition in Antwerp (recently renamed as the Margot Fonteyn International Ballet Competition) and a member of Quicksilver Youth Dance Company at Rambert Dance Company. When she was eighteen, she gained a place at Rambert School and trained in ballet and contemporary for three years graduating with a BA (Hons) in Ballet and Contemporary Dance. Whilst training at Rambert she performed at the Barbican Centre, the Lilian Baylis Theatre at Sadler’s Wells and the Anya Linden Studio Theatre. She also had the privilege of working with Yorke Dance Project both in her final year and following graduation. She is currently completing a Masters Degree in Dance Science at Trinity Laban.

Emily Francis

BA (hons) Durham, PGCE Cantab, MEd (Cantab), ARAD, DDE

Emily trained at the Susan Robinson School of Ballet, eventually achieving her RAD Advanced 2 after university. In 2012, she danced alongside Darcey Bussell in the Olympic Closing Ceremony. She achieved 93% in her Diploma of Dance Education with the ISTD and is certified to teach PBT (Progressing Ballet Technique). She was involved in running the All England Dance Festival for many years, has acted as interpreter at the Prix de Lausanne, and regularly chaperones vocational students at the Wells Ballet Courses. She stills dances with Miss Sue, Miss Gretchen and Miss Nicky, attends many ballet courses and summer schools and observes as many classes as possible.  In 2016, she founded The Boathouse Ballet School in Arundel and also guest teaches for Rebecca Howell at Esher Ballet School. 

Phoebe Henderson 


Phoebe started dancing at the age of 3, then went on to train professionally for 3 years at Performers College, graduating with a national diploma. Whilst still at college, Phoebe was lucky enough to perform at the BRIT Awards with Olly Murs. Since graduating, some of Phoebe’s performing credits include: New Jersey Nights (UK Tour), Puttin’ on the Ritz (UK Tour), Dick Whittington (Manchester Opera House and Bristol Hippodrome), Spirit of the Dance (Niagara Falls), P&O Australia Cruise lines, Classical Spectacular (Royal Albert Hall), Princess Cruiselines (performing on 5 different ships cruising all around the world) and most recently Cinderella starring Brian Conley (Plymouth Theatre Royal). Phoebe loves teaching the talented students at Susan Robinson and feels privileged to be a guest teacher at the school.

Jess Henderson


Jessica started dancing at 3 years old  and continued her training at 16 when she started a 3 year musical theatre course at Performers College. Whilst at college, she had the privilege of performing for Prince Charles' 60th birthday and working with the likes of John Cleese and Michael McIntyre.  Since graduating in 2010, she has been travelling the world on cruise ships. Her first ship was the Thomson Spirit and followed by performing as a dancer on P&O Australia,  Jess has also had the opportunity of being Lead Irish dancer with Spirit of the Dance and was able to tour China, Dubai and Israel with the company. She is enjoying teaching with several dance schools including Susan Robinson and feels grateful to be involved with this wonderful school.

Emma Lewis


Emma trained at the Susan Robinson School of Ballet from the age of three. She completed all of her RAD ballet examinations to Advanced 2 with Distinction. She enjoyed many experiences at the Susan Robinson School of Ballet performing with the Bolshoi at Covent Garden and with other companies at various locations . Emma was offered a place at Bird College and previously performed in the David Walliam's Gangsta Granny. She is currently teaching Nursery, Primary and Grade 1 Tap and Modern.

Niamh Robinson


Niamh Robinson trained with Miss Sue from the age of 2 until 16. During this time, she was selected to perform at the Royal Opera House with the Bolshoi and Mariinsky ballet companies, as well as to film the RAD new Grades 3 and 5. In her final year at Susan Robinson, she won the All England Young Ballerina of the Year award and was offered a place to train at Elmhurst Ballet School. She spent three years at Elmhurst, achieving a Level 6 Trinity Diploma in Professional Dance, and being appointed Head Girl. During this time, she was also selected to perform with the Birmingham Royal Ballet and dance on the BBC’s Children in Need. Having attained three A Levels and an EPQ with A and A* grades, she has, subsequently, decided to pursue an academic career path and now attends the University of Nottingham. She still loves to return to Miss Sue’s when she is able as a guest teacher.

Administrative staff

Pelita Lucano - School administrator
email: [email protected]                 mobile: 07397 170899

Debbie Souter - Festival and show coordinator
email: [email protected]                mobile: 07531 782234

Edwina Farrow - Wardrobe mistress
email: [email protected]

Please find a list of our registered chaperones here.



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