Our Teachers

Ashleigh Hope

Ashleigh began dancing professionally as an Illawarra Hawks dancer and NRL Flame in 2017 and has danced in the Illawarra region since she was 3 years old. She has a degree in Medical Biotechnology and is currently researching new treatments for breast cancer at the Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute. She is enthusiastic about channeling her two passions – dance and medical research– to raise funds for a worthy cause that personally impacts almost every individual.

Darcie Clarke

Darcie is an energetic performer who has trained in styles of jazz, tap, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop, and ballet over the past 16 years. Darcie is apart of the Cronulla Sharks Mermaids, continuing into her fourth season as an NRL cheerleader. When Darcie is not dancing she can be found at the gym or planning her next holiday. Darcie first begun performing at the Dance for cancer in 2018 and brings to the stage many spectacular surprises for the audience.

Talia Rogan

Talia began her dance tuition at Kazzajazz at the age of 3, competing in many jazz, tap and hip hop competitions around the state over the last 15 years. She has enjoyed performing at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure Park, and Dreamworld and WhiteWater World on the Gold Coast.

When she's not dancing Talia is studiously completing her second year of a Bachelor of Law at the University of Wollongong.

Talia is thrilled to join the amazing line-up of dancers partnering this years stars to raise much needed funds for Cancer Council NSW.’

Phoebe Todman

Phoebe has been dancing for 13 years and as a student of Kazzajazz Modern Dance Studio, trained in many dance styles. Throughout her years of training she competed in countless Eisteddfods and Dance Challenges and also had the opportunity to attend workshops and auditions taken by some of the world's leading choreographers. In 2018 Phoebe travelled to the USA to perform at Disneyland and Universal Studios in Hollywood. 2021 marks Phoebe’s third year as a Dancer for Wollongong’s Stars Dance for Cancer and she jumped at the opportunity to once again help the Illawarra community.

Kelsey Heycott

Kelsey’s passion for dance began at the young age of five, which continued throughout her training in Classical Ballet, Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop, Lyrical and Contemporary. During her training Kelsey completed a number of BDA (British Dance Association), ADA (formerly F.A.T.D) and RAD Classical examinations and has been involved in a number of community dance projects including Southern Stars, Rock Eisteddfod and amateur theatre productions.

Kelsey has since turned her focus to passing on her passion for dance to the students of Kazzajazz as a student teacher and teacher for the past 8 years.

Samayah Khayat

Samayah began her dance journey at 3 years of age & has continued to grow as a dancer & performer. She has trained in all dance genre’s including Classical Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Modern, Contemporary, Demi & National Character. One of Samayah’s greatest achievements was being accepted into the Australian Ballet Schools prestigious Interstate Program from 2013-2016. To further enhance her skills, she has participated in dance workshops with renowned choreographers & dance teachers from all over the world! She had the pleasure of taking classes & workshops at Millenium Dance Complex & The Edge in Los Angeles & Alvin Alley & Broadway Dance Centre in New York. Samayah has performed at Universal Studios in Hollywood & at Disneyland in the USA. She cant wait to take the stage for the Stars of Wollongong Dance for Cancer tonight & is honoured to partner her Star!

Tahlia Davidson

Tahlia is one of Wollongong’s up-&-coming young dancers. In 2019 Tahlia won a coveted position at the Joffrey Ballets New York Summer Intensive for Jazz & Contemporary Dance & appeared On Broadway in their NYC “Joffrey Spectrum Showcase”! 2020 saw Tahlia appear for Iconic Creation as a Dancer for their Live DJ gigs.

At 19, Tahlia has 17 years of Dance training in many Dance Genres. She has appeared in both Professional & Amateur theatre productions including “Grease Arena Experience” Harvest Rain Theatre Company, “42nd Street” Moonglow Productions & “Nutcracker” Illawarra On Point Productions.

Tahlia is thrilled to be a part of Stars of Wollongong Dance for Cancer & always happy to give to such a worthy cause.

Vidiya Ramachandran

Dr Vidiya Ramachandran is the co-founder of Nachle Dance School and the school's Wollongong Branch Director. Vidiya received a Master of Science (Biotechnology) and a PhD from the University of Wollongong.

A scientist by profession at NSW Health Pathology, Vidiya's passion has been dancing, and she loves performing and teaching this art form. Her dance training began at the young age of 4, learning the classical Indian dance—Bharathanatyam, under guru Mrs Shivananthy Haridharshan. With her commitment to passing on her knowledge, skills, and cultural heritage, she began dance classes for the Wollongong Indian community, which paved the way to launch Nachle Dance School in 2012.

As a choreographer, Vidiya combines her vast experience in classical dance with Indian folk dance styles, jazz, hip hop, and middle eastern dance forms. Under her guidance, Nachle Dance School students continue to deliver high-quality performances in various stage shows in Wollongong and Greater Sydney.

Nachle Dance School's annual stage shows are dedicated to donating money to charities in Australia—over $24K contributed to charities such as Rotary, NSW Cancer Council, Bear Cottage and OzIndCare.

Vidiya is a committee member of the Indian Australian Cultural Association of Illawarra (IACAII), and the treasurer for the Asian International Students of Australia (AISA).  

Ralphy Walter

Ralphy is a a DJ/MC by trade being a resident DJ at Hotel Illawarra for Retro Night for 10 years and also a DJ's at weddings, parties, formals, corporate functions and many other events.

After winning a talent quest at the age of 12 Ralphy found a love for performing arts. He was a ballroom and Latin teacher at Sydney Fred Astaire Dance Studios until landing his dream job of working professionally as an entertainer at Murramarang Resort performing, singing and acting skits in cabaret shows, running - kids club, Karaoke, talents quests, quiz nights, dance parties, sporting events and more.

Choreography and directing are Ralphy's other passions in the theatre and performing arts industry. He has directed and choreographed Guys and Dolls (2011) and was Assistant Director for The Boy from Oz (2012). He's choreographed productions for Barnum (2017) Joseph & The Technicolor Dreamcoat (2014), The Wizard of OZ (2013), The Full Monty (2012), Sweeney Todd (2010) and Oliver (2010).

Roles played include; Belize & Mr Lies in Angels in America (2018), Pouncival in Cats (2013), Ritchie in A Chorus Line (2011), The Scarecrow in The Wiz (2010) and Horse in The Full Monty (2006). His ensemble performances have been; Mamma Mia, Strictly Ballroom, Hello Dolly, Mary Poppins, Chicago, Joseph & The Technicolor Dreamcoat, Hairspray, Pippin, The Boy from Oz, Sweeney Todd, Dusty, Oliver, State Fair, Anything Goes, Cabaret, West Side Story and The Producers.

Ralphy has done some short films, ads and film clips appearing in Jessica Mauboy's video ‘Pop a bottle (fill me up)’ which was shot here in the Illawarra.

Sally Bassuni

Rebecca Virtu

Lacinda Fisk

Lacinda began dancing at the age of 3 and trained under the guidance of Lisa Bowmer & Angelique Barry at Dance Kinetic School of Performing Arts. At 16 she started singing lessons with Craig Woodward at Menai Music - and upon turning 18 began performing regularly in local Musical Theatre productions. Roles included: Delta Nu in ‘Legally Blonde the Musical,’ Amber in ‘Hairspray’ & Sandy in ‘Grease.’

Her love for the arts only grew stronger - seeing her undertake an Advanced Diploma in Performing Arts in 2016-2017 at the prestigious full time course - ED5 International - where she trained for 2 years under the guidance of William Forsythe & Elena De Cinque - graduating with representation from T&E Management.

Straight after graduating at the age of 21 - Lacinda was offered a contract to work at Universal Studios Japan for 13 months as a Singer / Dancer. When completed - she moved on to work for Regent Seven Seas Cruises for 8 months where she was lucky enough to explore the Mediterranean!

Before COVID came about - Lacinda was working as a Super Swing / Show Captain at a brand new theme park in Malaysia that was to be open in late 2020. Upon returning to Sydney she successfully produced and performed in 2 sold out Cabaret Shows - her first season of 'Songs of Change' & a Christmas Cabaret, 'Audley Carols.'

When not performing - Lacinda finds herself passionate about social justice - being awarded Sutherland Shire Young Citizen of the Year (2014) and NSW Sydney South Student Volunteer of Year (2015) for her work with World Vision.

Carina Serray

Carina Serray completed her Bachelor of Arts in Dance at the Western Australian Academy of the Performing Arts (WAAPA) in 2013. During 2012 she spent a semester studying abroad at Purchase College, the State University of New York (SUNY) located in upstate New York.

Upon moving back to Wollongong she auditioned for Austinmer Dance Theatre and worked alongside Michelle Forte (artistic director) and the company from 2015 -2017.The company provided her with a multitude of opportunities, working with local and international choreographers. She met Iraxte Ansa through a workshop with Austinmer Dance Theatre, and was invited to join her for her Summer Residency programme ‘Metamorphosis’ in Mexico and Spain in 2015/16.

Carina had the opportunity to perform at the Victoria Eugenia Theatre, and do a live installation at the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao.

In January 2016 she undertook a 3 week dance contract with Lisa Maris McDonell (a local independent artist) at the Casula Powerhouse with her piece called ‘Five Kinds Of Paradise.’

Exciting performance opportunities with Austinmer Dance Theatre in 2017 were Adelaide & Sydney Fringe festivals, with double and triple bill shows.

During 2018-2019 Carina studied with the Royal Academy of Dance to obtain her Post Graduate Teachers Certificate to become a qualified R.A.D teacher. She is currently at i-Dance Performing Arts studios and has been teaching classical technique for the past six years.

2021 brings back performance opportunities for Carina with the Austinmers Dance Theatres "Time will tell re imagined", coming back as an ex company member. She is also partaking in the Stars of Wollongong cancer council 2021 fund-raiser dancing alongside Dr Matthew Threadgate.