Midland Theatre Ballet Staff Members
Having trained locally in Sutton Coldfield, Lisa furthered her dance studies at The Hammond School, Chester. From here she spent a short time touring with Northern Ballet Company, but felt teaching was where her heart lay and was invited back to the Hammond as a Classical Ballet and Associates teacher.
Moving back to Sutton Coldfield in 1984 she opened her own school The Lisayne Ballet School. “The concept of MTB was born from what I felt my own pupils required to enhance their ballet training. Whilst I was always welcoming the opportunity for them to dance in staged ballets, I felt the experiences on offer were only like a quick fix and once over the knowledge gained was soon forgotten. As a result I created MTB as a yearlong project, incorporating weekly classes with vocational teachers and professional dancers, giving the children and staff the opportunity to get to know one another and develop together as a company.
The knowledge and experience that our company staff have is second to none. Our teachers/choreographers are from classical companies around the world and the West End, these currently include Angela Paul, Olivia Pickford, Tania Matos, Cheryl Thrush and Shannon & Peter Parker.
The ballets grow with the children and as they strengthen and cultivate their technique the choreography expands in complexity to accommodate this. We all love to see how the children grow in confidence & capability and I certainly hope that all the teachers who have kindly entrusted their pupils to MTB have felt that their hard work and commitment has been rewarded”
Olivia Pickford trained with The Royal Ballet Associates and The Arts Educational School Tring and then went onto dance in the professional contemporary company Dikosmos in Melbourne, Australia. Olivia moved to Tokyo, Japan and was employed by for Former Principal of The Royal Ballet, Teddy Kumakawa to teach and choreograph for his prestigious K Ballet Company.
She was also guest company teacher for Matthew Bourne’s all male Swan Lake Japan tour. Olivia is a fully qualified RAD, ISTD and Cecchetti teacher. She became teaching faculty for vocational schools, Tring Park, Bird College, Bodyworks and is Former Head of Ballet for Tiffany Theatre College. Whilst teaching at Tring she was recognised for her outstanding teaching of Contemporary in their Ofsted Report.
Olivia was invited to be Ballet Mistress for Irek Mukhamedov OBE, star of the Bolshoi Ballet and The Royal Ballet, for his production of Prince and the Pauper at The Peacock Theatre. Olivia was choreographer for London Children’s Ballet production of Snow White which was performed in the West End, London. Olivia currently teaches for The Birmingham Royal Ballet Education department, BOA and is cover teacher for The Royal Ballet Associates. She has also been Graduate teacher of Contemporary Dance at Elmhurst School of Dance and works for their Outreach programme “Reach4Dance”.
Olivia recently choreographed a full length production of “Beauty and the Beast” in Athens which has been re-commissioned and performed for the Princess of Serbia and is setting up the youth Ballet Company, Athens Children’s Ballet. She is a regular guest teacher for the RAD, IDTA, York Scholars and the BBO. Olivia’s latest success to date was being employed as choreographer for the major Hollywood film “47 Ronin” starring Keanu Reeves. Working closely with Hiro Sanada, the renowned Japanese actor, who starred alongside Tom Cruise in The Last Samurai. Olivia is co-founder of OPES International Classical Ballet Summer School.
As well as choreographing for Midland Theatre Ballet and running their own associate programme – Midlands Associates – Shannon and Pete participated in Sky 1HD’s Got to Dance and were voted by the public to make it to the last 3 – becoming finalists known as Bitter Harvest. This to date has been an incredible experience allowing them to perform again as well as fulfilling their passion for teaching and choreographing.
Peter trained at the Central School of Ballet under Christopher Gable, from here he graduated into Northern Ballet Theatre, dancing Principal roles including Albrecht from Giselle, Siegfried in Swan Lake, Romeo in Romeo and Juliet, the Prince in Cinderella, La Corsaire pas de deux and the Grand pas de deux from Don Quixote. In 1994 Peter moved to France and danced as principal dancer with Ballet Du Rhin. Guesting performances have included Nutcracker Pas de deux for Nevada Ballet with his wife Shannon, the Rite of Spring with Ballet Bejart. Peter also created three pieces for Ballet Du Rhin. (Bird in the Hand, Bitter Harvest and Memoir Perdu with his wife.) Peter has taught at the Northern Ballet School and now teaches at Kate Simmons School, Derby Academy as guest teacher and is invited to be a guest teacher at international summer schools. Peter is also a trustee and teacher for the Louise Brown Yorkshire Ballet Scholarship Centre. In 2010 he created a new full length Nutcracker for Manchester City Ballet in collaboration with his wife.
Shannon joined San Francisco Ballet in 1986 and danced with the company until 1994. Shannon moved through the ranks of the Company under the direction of Helgi Tomasson, rising from Corps de Ballet to Principal artist in 1990. Shannon took part in many creations with the likes of David Bintley, Mark Morris and Helgi Tomasson as well as having danced extensively in the Balanchine repertoire. Shannon joined Northern Ballet Theatre in 1994 under the direction of Christopher Gable until 1999. Shannon finalised her dancing with Ballet Du Rhin in France after five years of dancing most of the Companies leading roles, under the directorship of Bertrand D’At. Whilst in the Company Shannon’s husband Peter Parker created two Ballets, Bitter Harvest and Bird in the hand, in which she danced the title roles.
After retiring Shannon was invited back to Ballet du Rhin to re-create the role of Odette for D’Arts Swan Lake. She has since been teaching for Northern Ballet School, Northern Ballet Theatre, York Scholars, The Dance Space, The Arts Garage, Preston College, Horsefirth Summer School, and Carrie Wright and for Gillian Hurst’s Associate programme. Shannon has two children and lives with her family in Ollerton. Peter and Shannon are co-founders of OPES International Classical Ballet Summer School.
Teacher / Choreographer
I was originally trained by Madeline Sharpe and danced at many RAD assemblies from the age of four. Whilst with Miss Sharpe I appeared in Margot Fonteyn’s The Magic of Dance, for the BBC, filmed at the RAD, and the RAD old syllabus Primary.
From the age of nine years I was trained by Miss June Mitchell, an Examiner of the RAD and at the age of ten I was accepted as a Royal Academy of Dance London Scholar.
A year later I successfully auditioned for White Lodge, The Royal Ballet Junior School. I continued my training both at the Royal Ballet Upper School and then Arts Educational Schools Chiswick. At the age of seventeen, I was asked to compete in the Adeline Genee Competition, but by then, I was performing in the London West End for Cameron Mackintosh in a new musical called ‘Moby Dick It’s a Whale of a Tale’, where I made my west end debut.
From that point I enjoyed a wonderful varied career within Musical Theatre performing in countless West End Musicals. I also danced on tour with artists such as Madonna, Backstreet Boys and Jason Donovan and on numerous other pop videos, plus performed in Pantomimes and in Trade Shows. On leaving my performing career, I once again returned to the RAD to train as a teacher.
I have taught at many vocational colleges including Bird College, Laines, London Studio Centre, SLP and Expressions and am currently teaching Ballet and Body Conditioning on both the diploma and degree courses at the Urdang Academy. In 2006 I started the Cheryl Thrush School of Dance in Halstead Kent. Since then, due to my family, I have moved to Sutton Coldfield, and teaching freelance.
Teacher / Choreographer
Tania Matos was first introduced to the world of professional classical ballet at the age of 13, when she was chosen to perform in the New York City Ballet production of Mozartiana at Covent Garden Opera House, London. Having completed 9 years of intensive ballet studies in two of England’s most prestigious schools, she has enjoyed a continuous active performing career from 1989 to 2008. She has a wealth of experience ranging from the severe disciplines of corps de ballet, to soloist, then principal dancer.
Tania has danced with various companies throughout the world including Northern Ballet Theatre, Portuguese National Ballet, Ballet du Grand Theatre de Geneve, Ballet Contemporaneo de Caracas, and Bat d’Or, as well as being invited to perform many of the well-known pas de deux as guest artiste.
She has been assistant choreographer and rehearsal director for Piers Gielgud in the Oliver Stone feature Film Alexander. Tania has taught both children and adults extensively for many workshops and schools including the West London School of Ballet, and Escuela Nacional de Caracas. Since moving back to the UK, she has worked with Ballet Theatre UK as Ballet Mistress/Rehearsal Director and taught and coached at The BTUK School.
Joshua starting dancing relatively late at the age of 14, beginning his training locally in Hucknall, Nottingham at the Sarah Adamson School of Dancing, before moving on to train professionally in 2007 under the direction of Kate Simmons at KS Dance in Warrington, graduating with their 3 year Classical Course.
His professional career began in 2010. Joshua spent his first two years with The Serbian National Theatre Ballet, starting as corps de ballet and moving to soloist roles. He was then offered to dance for The Serbian National Ballet in Belgrade, under Director Bruce Steivel (ex New York City Ballet), performing works by Vladimir Vassiliev, Jiri Kylian and George Balachine. A highlight of that was dancing along side world renowned ballerina Svetlana Zakharova in ‘Giselle’, at the Sava International Conference Centre in Belgrade.
In 2014 Joshua moved to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Hercegovina to dance for The Bosnian National Ballet, dancing all works in their repertoire as corps de ballet and as a soloist, and also performing a variety of works at The Sarajevo Film and Dance Festival. Since 2015 Joshua has returned home to the UK and is currently dancing for London Contemporary Ballet Theatre. Joshua has taught and choreographed internationally including creating works for Midland Theatre Ballet, The Serbian National Ballet School, The ARS Ballet and Arts Centre Zenica, Bosnia.
Born in Paris, daughter of a ballet teacher, Claire started her training with her Mother before joining the Paris Opera Ballet School and then finished her studies at the National Ballet School of Marseille. She then danced with the Badisches Staatstheater of Karlshrue followed by several tours in Germany, Austria and Switzerland with Le Ballet Classique de Paris. Claire moved to England , first doing Swan Lake with English National Ballet, then back on tour with European Ballet where she performed lead roles in Nutcracker, Coppelia and Cinderella.
In 2012 Claire joined Ballet Theatre UK , where she has been dancing all their repertoire and created roles such as the Snow Queen , Queen of Hearts , Little Mermaid alongside the classical roles.
Since 2015, Claire teaches occasionally at The School of Ballet Theatre UK , and has joined Midland Theatre Ballet for their production of Beauty and the Beast .
Born in Limoges (France) Vincent Cabot began to practice classical ballet at the age of 10 at the private school, The Academy of Michele Darcy. When he turned 18 he moved to the UK and joined European Ballet for several seasons and went on to perform leading major roles such as BlueBird, The Prince in Cinderella and Nutcracker and Franz in Coppelia. After one year in Germany in the DeutschTanz Kompany, learning different styles of dance in their own creation of Snow White, Carmina Burana and Die Bremer Stadtmusikanten Vincent back to European Ballet as a First Soloist in Coppelia, Nutcracker and Cinderella.
In 2011 Vincent joined the new company Ballet Theatre UK based in Hinckley where he danced all their repertoires and created roles such as Mr Scrooge in Christmas Carol, The Prince in Sleeping Beauty and Swan Lake, the Caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland, Kay in Snow Queen, and teaching occasionally at the school of Ballet Theatre UK mainly pas de deux classes.
In 2016 after performing in Pinocchio the role of Gepetto, he decided to stop his dance career to concentrate in teaching at the school. Vincent joined Midland Theatre Ballet in the production of the 12 Dancing Princesses.
Trained in Marseille in France, Laëtitia won the Prix de Lausanne in 1996 and received a scholarship to the Royal Ballet School. She joined Birmingham Royal Ballet in 1997 where she spent her whole dancing career, going through the ranks to First Soloist. She danced many soloist and principal roles including ‘The Sugar Plum Fairy’ and ‘Clara’ in the “Nutcracker”, ‘Swanhilda’ in “Coppélia”, and the ‘Young Girl’ in “Two Pigeons”. Whilst dancing, she completed an M.A. in Dance with Birmingham University and taught ballet for Elmhurst School of Dance, Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Department of Learning and the Centre for Advanced Training. In 2013, she assisted ballet mistress Marion Tait to rehearse Birmingham Royal Ballet’s production of “Giselle”. Laëtitia became a freelance teacher in August 2014. Since then, she has taught for BRB’s Department of Learning, Elmhurst School of Dance Summer Schools, the Centre for Advance Training, Dance Xchange, Nicholson School of Dance and Siobhan Collins-McCarthy Dance Academy. Laëtitia joined Midland Theatre Ballet for the production of Beauty and the Beast 2018.
Luca is from Milan, where he studied piano and composition. As a répétiteur and pianist for dance and ballet, he worked for the Ballet School of Teatro alla Scala in Milan, which led him to collaborate with Roland Petit at the Ecole Nationale Superieure de Danse in Marseille, Nina Watt and Denis Ganio in Rome, and later with the Arena di Verona. Before relocating to the Midlands last year, Luca spent over eight years in London where he worked regularly with the Royal Academy of Dance, Urdang Academy, Arts Ed, Rambert School of Dance, the New English Ballet Theatre, European Ballet, Natalia Kremen Ballet School, and many others.
Luca is also an award winning composer – he won the Milano Milhaud Prize, the City of Rome Prize and the Ottorino Respighi International Composition Competition among the others. In 2012 he co-founded T‧ArT Productions, for the development of new opera and music theatre, of which he is Musical Director.
Nina is a pianist, vocalist and composer. She has been playing and composing for ballet classes since 2014. Nina joined The Midland Theatre Ballet team as a ballet pianist in June 2016. She is also a full-time pianist in Elmhurst Ballet School. Previously Nina worked for the Ballet Art Support and Development Society in Cracow (Poland) at The Cracow Academy of Dance “L’Art de la Danse”. She studied Music Theory at The Academy of Music in Cracow (BMus, MA), Piano Performance at The Władysław Żeleński State Upper Music School (graduated with honours) in Cracow. She has taken part in many festivals and competitions as a pianist, vocalist and composer.
Musical Director / Class Pianist
A graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland), Wai Sum was awarded the Barcapel Foundation Scholarship to study postgraduate chamber music with Philip Jenkins. She subsequently held the post of RSAMD Scholarship Accompanist for two years.
In recognition of her accomplishments, she was awarded the RSAMD’s Piano Accompaniment Prize, the Dunbar Gerber Prize, The Bach Prize and the A Ramsay Calder Prize for Debussy Songs. She later graduated with distinction as a pioneering student on the ground-breaking Pianist for Dance course delivered by Scottish Ballet / RSAMD. Wai Sum has worked for major companies and schools such as Birmingham Royal Ballet, Elmhurst School for Dance, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures, Mark Morris Dance Group, and choreographers such as Ashley Page, David Bintley, Ian Spink, Patrick Hinson, Samira Saidi and Olivia Pickford.
She has participated in masterclasses with internationally renowned musicians such as Felicity Lott, Malcolm Martineau, Charles Rosen, Cristina Ortiz, Martino Tirimo, Dominique Merlet. With her piano duo partner Geneviene Wong, she has been invited to perform in concerts at the Dartington International Summer School and St. Martin’s-in-the-Field, London.
Together with soprano Shuna Sendall, Wai Sum founded the chamber music group écoute which made its premiere performance at the 2000 Edinburgh Fringe Festival with music by John Harris, Matthew Brown and Clare Parker. From 2000-2005, écoute toured concert venues and festivals in Scotland and England specialising in repertoire for voice, flute and piano. A keen proponent of music therapy for dementia and Alzheimer sufferers, she regularly accompanies live concerts in hospitals and nursing homes under the auspices of the Council for Music in Hospitals and Lost Chord.
Ballet Assistant & Notator
Trained at the Royal Ballet School and Elmhurst. Training with Patricia Linton, Marion Tait and Shirley Graham. Was cast as ‘Princess Phillipa of Hainault’ in David Bintley’s premiere production and season of Edward II, performing with the Birmingham Royal Ballet at The Birmingham Hippodrome and on tour in Plymouth, gaining insight into the professional world of dance and professional practice.
Performed in the reopening of the Royal Opera House with The Royal Ballet (1999). Performed as a JA The Royal Ballet’s Nutcracker staged by Sir Peter Wright for two consecutive years (1999 – 2000). Performing in the Farewell Gala for Sir Anthony Dowell at The Royal Opera House, London. Gained a BSc (Hons) Degree in Psychology accredited by the British Psychological Society from the University of Sheffield.
Sarah started dancing aged 3 years and joined The Lisayne Ballet School at the age of 13 to concentrate on her favourite dance genre, classical ballet. Whilst at the school she danced the part of Susan in The Lion, Witch & The Wardrobe and was principal dancer in The Jazz Suite. After successfully passing her RAD vocational examinations at Lisayne she successfully gained a place on the Royal Academy of Dance BA Hons Course.
I am proud to be working with Midland Theatre Ballet. Having trained in classical ballet and musical theatre I can say how wonderful the experience has been working with such talented young dancers, seeing the students flourish in a hardworking a rewarding environment. It is a true a privilege working alongside the whole company.