Our Teachers

Angela Bontea

Angela has always loved dancing and performing. She began Jazz Ballet and Tap Dance at age three and soon after took up ballet, character and contemporary too. She continued dancing all throughout her childhood and into her late teens competing in Eisteddfods, performing for theatre groups and teaching younger dance students. After a long break she took up dance again as an adult in 2012 at Sharp Dance and now attends class at That’s My Jam!

Unfortunately, like the majority of people, She also has loved ones touched by cancer so it gives her great pleasure to be able to support Cancer Council that help so many by doing something she loves.

When she isn’t dancing she is working at CASPA Services as their Executive Director Child, Youth, Family & Disability. CASPA is a leading national welfare agency providing support and protection to the most vulnerable people in regional and remote communities.

Astoria Chapman

Astoria can't wait to be apart of Stars of Casino for the second time! She started taking dance lessons at the age of 3 and since finishing in 2018, She has been teaching young students ballet, tap, and jazz at Casino Dance Academy. Her all-time favourite style of dance is tap and it is her favourite style to teach.

Last time she was in Casino Stars she had so much fun teaching her partner tap. They had to work and practice really hard but were always having fun whilst doing so. She is so excited to be apart of it again because cancer is such a common illness and so many people can say they know someone who has been diagnosed with cancer. She is thrilled to be able to have the local community come together and fundraise for such a great cause.

Casino Dance Academy has been established in Casino for 50yrs. Offering classes in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Musical Theatre, Solo and Troupe tuition. 

Casino Dance Academy

Sarah Bird

Sarah Bird is a proud Casino native with a passion for dance and singing. She has graced numerous community events with her performances and is enthusiastic about rallying support for cancer awareness initiatives. With a penchant for jazz, Sarah aims to infuse her routines with vibrant energy. Having participated in this event before, she eagerly anticipates the opportunity to contribute once again. Sarah's dedication to fundraising for the cancer council reflects her deep personal connection to the cause, fuelled by the memory of loved ones who have battled the disease.

Sophie Gray

Sophie is the owner and Principal of local dance studio, McAuliffe School of Dance over south side in Casino. Her humble beginnings started at Lynch’s Creek, learning dance in Casino before leaving to attend Queensland Dance School of Excellence in Brisbane at the age of 16. After completing her formal training in Brisbane and Sydney, Sophie embarked on a 10-year professional dance career which saw her perform on cruise ships, theme parks, theatres, cabaret shows, film clips and movies within Australia as well as all across Asia and Europe. In 2019 Sophie returned to the area to support her mother and the family farm. In 2021 Sophie opened her own dance studio so she could generously expand her horizons and give back to the next generation of young performers within her home community.  Supporting Cancer Council is very important to Sophie and McAuliffe School of Dance as well as the Gray family, as cancer has touched us all in one way or another.

McAuliffe School of Dance

Arabella Barrett

Arabella is 16 years old and is currently training in ballet, tap, jazz, contemporary, lyrical, hip hop and acrobatics at McAuliffe School of Dance in Casino. Arabella is also completing her Assistance Instructor Training Program through Perform Ability, which will allow her to work with dance students who have special needs. This is an important goal for Arabella as she has autism herself and hopes to encourage other performers to reach their goals and dreams.  Throughout her many years of training, Arabella has competed at a national level in dance competitions and has also worked with Sydney Dance Company with their regional workshop projects. Arabella has been involved with other charity events and is very excited to be a part of Cancer Councils Stars of Casino as it is a cause she is very passionate about.

Jess Smith Orourke

Jess is a competitive dancer who has competed and performed all over the country, and on national level, for 13 years. She has been fortunate enough to learn from a bunch of extremely talented teachers in all different fields of dance, and ha spent two years as an assistant dance instructor.

She is excited to support such a wonderful cause and will be dancing for all the women in her family with the inherited mutated genes for breast and ovarian cancer.

Keely Maguire

At the age of eight, Keely began "Physie" with Summerland Physical Culture Club. This year will be her nineteenth consecutive year of competing in Physical Culture. At the age of sixteen, she began teaching girls and ladies of all ages. This will be her tenth year of sharing her love of Physie with others and empowering girls and women of all ages to have a positive mindset and value a healthy mind and healthy body. Keely's notable achievements include; being National Champion, obtaining a National Fifth place and being a regular top fifteen qualifier in her respective age groups. Her love for this sport has helped determine her career as a PDHPE high school teacher where she aims to promote a healthy lifestyle. Hence, there was no hesitation in taking on this role to be a part of such a worthy cause. 

Kate Dennis

Kate is a retired dance teacher. Having danced from the age of 3, she became a fulltime dance teacher for Fred Astaire Dance Studios first in Canberra and later in Sydney at the age of 18. She taught and competed with these studios until she retired from full time teaching in her late 20’s. During these years she taught Ballroom, Latin American & Rock n Roll style dancing. During her dancing life she also taught Ballet, Jazz, Contempory, Cabaret and Tap. Since retiring she has kept casually teaching Wedding couples, assisting in school productions, private development, styling lessons and judging dance competitions.

Like so many others she has been touched by the affects of cancer. She has watched family members and friends battle cancer with courage, dignity and hope. Her involvement in Casino Stars is her small way of helping in raising much needed funds to go towards the fight against cancer.

So, she is dusting off her dance shoes and is proud to be partnered with the amazing Sarah Smith.

Libby Wyatt

Libby has grown up in Casino and she loves the community. She has danced her whole life and it is her biggest passion. She loves the feeling of being on stage and performing to an audience. She has been competing in all the local comps since she was 8 years old and has been helping teach in classes since she was 13. She went to school at St Mary’s in Casino and has worked in many jobs around town including - Hairdressing, waitressing and dance teaching.

Libby thinks Cancer Council NSW are amazing and that they do great work throughout the community. She says in some way, everyone is  affected by cancer at some point in their lives and she thinks it is super important to raise awareness. She wanted to be involved in Casino Stars to give back and share her love for dancing, in a fun and creative way for this great fundraising event.

Jess Freeburn

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