Ballet Faculty

Denzil Bailey 

Denzil trained as a professional ballet dancer at the West Street Ballet School in London. After a successful career dancing with London Festival Ballet and English National Ballet he expanded on his classical foundations dancing in contemporary companies including Mark Baldwin Dance Company and Souls In Motion, as well as working in television, musical theatre and opera. He is a founder member of Ballet Black and Sheron Wray's Jazz Xchange and is now a well-respected dance teacher throughout the UK and Europe.

Michelle Ballentyne 

Michelle won a scholarship to study at Laine Theatre Arts for three years where she gained her Associate in Cecchetti Ballet with distinction. During her time there, she also won a scholarship to The Royal Ballet Summer School. After her studies, she immediately gained a place as a Principal Dancer with Union Dance Company, touring both nationally and internationally. Michelle went on to perform in Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical Cats (where she played the roles of Demeter, Bombalurina, Cassandra and Tantomile), and also Starlight Express, where she played the role of Buffy. Michelle was also a Principal Dancer with The Carol Straker Dance Company, and has worked extensively in both theatre and television productions. In 2008, Michelle graduated from Middlesex University with a BA Hons in Dance Studies. Upon graduating she continued to demonstrate Martha Graham Technique at Middlesex and went on to work very closely with Robert Cohan and Anne Donnelly on the first drafts of the 'Rescen' projects, documenting Martha Graham Technique for future resources.

Michelle has dedicated many years to teaching ballet and contemporary dance at all levels to various ballet schools and dance institutions, and currently teaches at The Urdang Academy, Tring Park Associates Programme, and also teaches Adult Ballet for The Classes and Courses Programme at The Place.

Nicola Simpson

Nicola trained in Cambridgeshire with John Dowson and King Slocombe School of Dance, in London at Central School of Ballet under the direction of Christopher Gable. She performed nationally and internationally, with Northern Ballet (Theatre) dancing a wide variety of soloist and principal roles in the company's diverse repertoire; Juliet (Romeo and Juliet), Cathy (Wuthering Heights), Mina (Dracula), Belle (A Christmas Carol), Hermia (A Midsummer Night's Dream) and Odilia and Cygnets (Swan Lake).

Nicola retrained as a teacher gaining a distinction on the Professional Dancers Teaching Diploma from the Royal Academy of Dance and furthered her education by studying Dance Science at Trinity Laban. She has taught classical ballet, pointe work, and repertoire in various vocational and pre-vocational colleges across London, including Central School of Ballet, Trinity Laban, London Studio Centre, Millennium Performing Arts, Mountview Performing Arts, Cecchetti Associates, and Transitions Dance Company. In 2016 she choreographed for and coached a scholarship winner at the Youth America Grand Prix Finals in New York City. She is Director of ARC Dance Academy London, Head of Ballet at D&B Academy of Performing Arts and Classical Ballet Tutor for the Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) at The Place.

Nicola's teaching style reflects her background as a professional dancer and training as a dance scientist. In a positive and encouraging atmosphere she endeavors to achieve a balance between technique and performance; ensuring her pupils gain an understanding of their own physiques to optimize technical execution, help to prevent injury, and give them the confidence and freedom to perform to the best of their abilities.