CAT team and faculty

The Place's Centre for Advanced Training staff are professional teachers, dancers and choreographers with a wealth of experience and expertise in the dance sector. Our students benefit from being taught by leading dance artists who inspire and develop their students to realise their potential.

CAT Team

Vicky Evans
CAT Programme Manager

Vicky trained at London Contemporary Dance School graduating with a BA (Hons) in 1993. Vicky was a dancer with Matthew Bourne's AMP/New Adventures from 1995-2008, creating roles and performing in Swan Lake, Cinderella, The Car Man, Nutcracker! and Edward Scissorhands. She also performed in the film versions of Swan Lake, The Car Man and Nutcracker! Vicky was Resident Artistic Director for Swan Lake from 2005 to 2007. Vicky has also performed with many other small scale companies: Richard Lord (Duets for Small Spaces), English National Opera, Carlson Dance Company, Isabel Mortimer, Phoenix Dance Company and Dance City (Toutes Femmes). Vicky has also been teaching professionally for over 15 years for LCDS, Laban, Central School of Ballet, ENBS, The Place, GDA and was a founder member and workshop leader for Re:Bourne.

Irad Timberlake
CAT Assistant Manager

Irad started dancing at the age of 4 at the Taylor Dance studio. He went on to complete his professional training at Middlesex University and Millennuim Dance 2000 graduating in 2003. Irad joined the National Youth Dance Company in 2000 under the direction of Sir John Chezworth working with choreographers such as; Wayne Mcgregor, Cathy Marston, Andile Sotiya, Mark Baldwin and Matthew Hawkins. Over the two seasons with the company Irad created his own work which was included in the company repertoire. Irad has danced for Michael Clark and modelled for Alexander Mcqueen in Paris’ Fashion Week Spring Collection 2004 and continued to work with Mcqueen on various photoshoots. Irad appeared as a guest artist for the BBC1 show Strictly Dance Fever and the record-breaking Big Dance Mass filmed live in Trafalgar Square. In 2004 and 2006 Irad choreographed Verticil Dance for his company at The Place in 2004 & 2006 for their annual Resolution season. In 2004 Irad joined Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures Swan Lake as a Swan, performing around the world and played the role of an orphan and Liquorice Man in The Nutcracker UK tour.

Irad has over 15 years teaching, and choreographic experience and has taught and choreographed for various dance, secondary, and primary schools in London and Cambridge.

After five years with New Adventures Irad left to become a qualified Reiki Practitioner and has worked with in healing centres in the amazon jungle, Peru with trauma victims and those suffering from PTSD. Outside of dance Irad has worked in Specialist crime for the Metropolitan Police, and Hackney Council in Adult Safeguarding.

Rachel Wheatley
CAT Trainee

Rachel started training aged 2 at Lets Dance Academy in St. Albans, where she did Ballet, Tap, Modern, Jazz and Contemporary classes and ISTD exams. In 2012 she was accepted onto the Trinity Laban Centre for Advanced Training programme and continued with them until 2015. Further to this she studied Dance at University of Chichester and graduated with a BA (hons) in 2018. During her time at Chichester, Rachel was part of 3Fall Dance Company as a dancer, who worked with James Wilton, Abigail Mortimer and Joe Garbett, creating pieces before taking them on tour around the UK and Malta.

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.

Jenna Lee

Jenna is an innovative choreographer that specialises in neo-classical collaborations. She trained classically before dancing professionally as a soloist with English National Ballet for 12 years. Upon leaving the company she has choreographed dynamic classical pieces with the New English Ballet Theatre. She was commissioned to choreograph to Prokofiev’s Classical Symphony and Max Richter’s re-composition of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons. Dimensions Dance Theatre of Miami are currently performing 2 of her movements from The Four Seasons.

Jenna's work has also diversified beyond classical ballet now encompassing a variety of choreographic styles for various clients. In 2012 she collaborated with World Dance Champions Flawless, to choreograph a dynamic show that fused ballet, breakdancing and acrobatics. As a choreographer she has developed a strong network of collaborators across numerous art forms, from working on music videos, notably ‘Cartwheels’ for country duo Ward Thomas, to collaborating with beat boxers in synergetic performance pieces at The London Underbelly Festival. She produced a flashmob at London’s Tower bridge to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech. She has also worked internationally on a cross-cultural project in Shanghai choreographing for 200 students across China and the UK.

Her company JLee Productions provides bespoke entertainment for events and includes clients such as Citroen, Sony and Harrods. Her work has appeared on productions for Sky, ITV and Channel 4. Last year Jenna choreographed a piece for the Classical Brit Awards that was performed at The Royal Albert Hall. This year Jenna is working with Northern Ballet on a production of Puss In Boots that she has directed and choreographed, which is currently touring the UK and will also be shown on CBBC. Jenna collaborated with pianist Alexandra Dariescu on an avant-garde Nutcracker with digital animations, ballet and live music which is currently on a world tour.

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. 

Contemporary/Creative Faculty

Nicky Ellis

Nicky Ellis trained at the Arts Educational School, Tring Park and London Contemporary Dance School graduating in 1993. She performed professionally for 15 years with many leading international choreographers including Aletta Collins, Charles Linehan, Martin Lawrance, Laurie Booth and Jasmin Vardimon. Nicky performed at Sadler's Wells’ first ever Breakin’ Convention and appeared in BBC2’s Dance for Camera film, The Lift.

Nicky’s teaching career has spanned over 22 years and ranges from leading BTEC and GCSE dance courses through to training elite level dancers at The Royal Ballet School (White Lodge), Central School of Ballet and Elmhurst Ballet School. She led the Contemporary and Choreography courses at English National Ballet School between 2005 and 2009.

Choreographically Nicky has made work for over 20 years. Her first commission was for National Youth Dance Company with Martin Lawrance in 1995. Since then she has gone on to develop her own work and created over 30 commissions across Europe. Choreographic credits include; The Southbank Centre's Sound Moves project and a collaboration with designer Simon Costin for the V&A. In 2014 her choreography was selected by English National Ballet dancer Guilherme Menezes as a solo for ‘Emerging dancer of the year’.

Nicky now divides her time between her Osteopathic practice (qualified in 2005) and working with the CAT scheme at The Place. She also regularly guest teaches and choreographs around the UK and Europe. Most recently she choreographed for Encore Dance (Tring Park) and was invited to speak at Inspiring Women in Dance at Sadler’s Wells.

Phil Hill
Phil trained at Northern School of Contemporary Dance and has danced for a wide variety of companies including: Protein (Big Sale), Richard Lord (Duets For Small Spaces), Adventures in Motion Pictures (Cinderella, Swan Lake, Highland Fling and Nutcracker!), Lloyd Newson (Mazzeppa and Ariodante), Aletta Collins (Carmen), Alistair Fish, V-tol (32 Feet per Second per Second, Dansproduktie on Space, Colour and Stamina). He has worked as choreographer on the operas Fantastic Mr Fox in Los Angeles and A Beggar's Opera in Strasbourg. He has taught classes, workshops and run projects for over twenty years, working with ages 5-80 and on all levels. His teaching work has taken him to Belgium, Germany, Italy, France and Sweden. He has choreographed on many youth groups, and worked choreographically with A-level and degree students. Phil bases his workshops around the strength-building elements of contact improvisation and builds work within the group, using it as a foundation for building confidence in performance with an emphasis on dynamics and character. Phil bases his classes around the strength-building elements of Graham and Cunningham techniques, using them as a foundation for building confidence in performance with an emphasis on fluidity and dynamics.

Sarah Miller
Sarah began dancing at The Place at the age of 4, and went on to work with Youth (now Shift). Sarah trained at London Contemporary Dance School, graduating in 2003 with a First Class Honours Degree. She is currently teaching on the Young Dancers Saturday Programme at The Place, and at primary schools in Camden and Hackney. Sarah has worked with Russell Maliphant, Jan de Schynkel and Martin Lawrance and Marguerite Caruana Galizia. She is currently participating in research work with Sarah Blanc and Moxie Brawl.

Pari Naderi
Pari Naderi completed a BA (Hons) degree at Roehampton University followed by a two year course in contemporary dance and choreography at London Contemporary Dance School graduating in 1996. Since then she has danced with Charles Linehan, Javier De Frutos, Gary Lambert and Richard Alston. Pari joined Siobhan Davies Dance in June 2003. Most recently she has been working with Snag. Pari is also professional freelance photographer.

Ihsaan de Banya

Ihsaan was part The Place's Centre for Advanced Training programme in 2005 where he was mentored by many of the faculty still teaching on the programme today. On graduating, Ihsaan continued training at London Contemporary Dance School during which time he co-choreographed work performed at various venues in the UK and Internationally. 

In 2013, Ihsaan became an apprentice dancer with Richard Alston Dance Company, before becoming a full company member the following year. Ihsaan has danced and toured internationally with the company since. 

He was also commissioned by The Place to create work for the Companies At Home season, and has recently created work in collaboration with Two Thirds Sky for a curtain raiser at the Royal and Derngate theatre in Northampton.  

Emily Powell
Emily began her training at The Place’s Centre for Advanced Training programme; she then continued her training in dance at London Contemporary Dance School where she graduated with a First Class BA (Hons) degree. During her time at the School Emily performed works by Richard Alston, Dane Hurst, Jeannie Steele and Lauren Potter.

Emily began her teaching career as an assistant for The Place’s Centre for Advanced Training Programme before going on to teach her own classes. Emily is currently teaching on the degree course at London Studio Centre, youth classes at Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, and contemporary classes at The Place’s Centre for Advanced Training.

Emily is also a qualified STOTT Pilates instructor and general gymnastics coach.

Hannah Kidd

Hannah began her training at Elmhurst Ballet School and then went onto London Contemporary Dance School where she completed her BA Hons and later her MA. In 2007 Hannah joined Richard Alston Dance Company, with whom she performed for six years both nationally and internationally. In late 2012 Hannah was nominated for the National Dance Award's Outstanding Female Performer.

As a freelance dancer she has performed for many other leading companies and choreographer’s, notably Russell Maliphant, New Movement Collective, Merce Cunningham Company (Event), Didy Veldman, Ashley Page, Darren Ellis and Mark Bruce Company. Hannah was part of the original cast for Bruce’s ‘Dracula’ which was winner of the Sky Arts South Bank Award 2014 and was nominated for a Critics Circle award for her role as Penelope in Bruce’s Odyssey in 2016. Alongside performing Hannah has taught in many of the UK's dance conservatoire’s on both undergraduate and postgraduate programmes at London Contemporary Dance School, at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, Central School of Ballet and at Trinity Laban, as well as for companies Richard Alston Dance Company, Matthew Bourne's New Adventure's and Mark Bruce Company.

Physical Therapy

Nicky Ellis
Nicky's interest in osteopathy evolved during her 15 year career as a professional dancer. She graduated in 2005 from the British College of Osteopathic Medicine and qualified in myofascial dry needling acupuncture in 2012. Nicky now combines running a busy osteopathic practice with lecturing, choreographing and teaching dance, and brings her expertise in dance and movement to her osteopathy practice. Aside from dance, Nicky has experience in climbing, martial arts and circus skills and therefore an understanding and interest in treating movement-related and postural problems. For more information visit

Arianna Pisano

In 2018 Arianna qualified as an osteopath at the British College of Osteopathic Medicine. Since graduating Arianna has been working for two clinics in the Greater London area. She has a particular interest in optimal biomechanical functioning and women's health.

Arianna started dancing at the age of 10. She moved to the UK in 2010 where she was employed by several ballet and contemporary companies such as; Ampersandance, Vienna Festival Ballet and Hack Ballet. She also performed at the Rose Theatre Bankside in London, with a physical theatre company. Alongside her dance career, she gained a qualification as a Pilates Instructor. Since then she has been teaching group and private classes regularly. 

Arianna joined the Centre of Advance Training (CAT) team at The Place in January 2019.

Lucy Anderson

Lucy gained her Masters from the British School of Osteopathy with Distinction in 2016. Since then she has worked in several practices throughout London and a GP practice in Guildford. She now splits her time between 2 busy practices in South London.

Lucy trained at the Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance and spent 6 years performing as a freelance artist alongside teaching ballet, contemporary and GCSE dance.

Keen to pursue a lifelong interest in injury prevention and rehabilitation, she trained as a Pilates Instructor with Body Control Pilates (BCP) and has been teaching for over 10 years. Her diverse experience includes private, group, clinical rehabilitation and corporate environments working with people from a wide variety of backgrounds. For 2 years she taught classes at BCP and was a supervising teacher there, preparing trainee instructors for their exams.

Through this background, Lucy has developed a keen eye for movement and alignment and integrates her skills as a dancer and teacher into her clinical practice.

Nicky Ellis 

Nicky's interest in osteopathy evolved during her 15 year career as a professional dancer. She graduated in 2005 from the British College of Osteopathic Medicine and qualified in myofascial dry needling acupuncture in 2012. Nicky now combines running a busy osteopathic practice with lecturing, choreographing and teaching dance, and brings her expertise in dance and movement to her osteopathy practice. Aside from dance, Nicky has experience in climbing, martial arts and circus skills and therefore an understanding and interest in treating movement-related and postural problems. For more information visit