Nicholas Jachno


Paid Mentee

Nicholas Jachno is a Canberra based Contemporary Dancer. He studied a range of dance techniques at Canberra Dance Development Centre before attending The New Zealand School of Dance, graduating with a Diploma in Dance Performance majoring in Contemporary. During Nicholas’ time at the school, he was involved in a remount of Hofesh Shechter's 'Political Mother' for the 2016 graduation season. In his third year he worked alongside Footnote New Zealand Dance. He was also an understudy of the 2017 rendition of Tiki Tane Mahuta and worked with Craig Bary to create a solo for the schools 50th Anniversary season 'Once'. The solo was then taken to Sydney as part of the Parachute Festival held by Legs on the Wall.

In 2018, Nicholas was part of Malia Johnston’s, 'Rushes' created for the 2018 New Zealand Arts Festival which received four Wellington Theatre Awards. He was also a dancer and collaborator in a design film project 'Kinesis', that was displayed as part of the Lux Light Festival in Wellington and received a Bronze award at the 2018 Best Design Awards. Nicholas also worked for Cadi McCarthy as a dancer in Catapult Dance Hubs premiere season of 'That Place in Between'.    

Natsuko Yonezawa


Paid Mentee

Natsuko Yonezawa started studying graphic design at the ANU in 2018. She has been heavily involved in Canberra's arts community since 2014. She danced with QL2 youth dance ensemble from 2014 to 2017 and toured to Melbourne for the AYDF (Australian Youth Dance Festival) in 2017. She has also been involved in many of QL2's major projects, working with respected choreographers and dance artists. In 2018, Yonezawa started a design organisation called Mushō Laundry, an organisation which focuses on creating multidisciplinary works including dance, film, design, visual arts, sound design and other forms of digital media such as AR (Augmented Reality). In 2019, Mushō Laundry premiered a work, 'The Hikikomori' at the 2019 Art Not Apart Festival. Yonezawa also spoke at the 2019 BOLD Festival, talking about Dance and Isolation. Yonezawa also uses video extensively throughout her works. She premiered a short film 'Plastic Surgery' at the 2019 You Are Festival. Yonezawa loves all things art and has a passion for many creative disciplines. She likes experimenting using different artforms to create unique works.

Holly Fleming


My friends often describe me as a shy and energetic person. I love to dance and I can't see myself doing anything different. I compete many times throughout the year at different competitions around Australia. I focus on a lyrical / contemporary style in my solo classes and with my choreography and my goal is to be accepted into Ev&Bow and become a professional contemporary dancer. I just really enjoy dancing!

Neave Darmody


I have been dancing with Canberra Dance Theatre since 2006. I have been fortunate to have worked with many teachers and styles of dance. With CDT teens I have been fortunate to participate in performances across Canberra. I enjoy the performance aspect of dance. I also learn hip hop and tap.

Ella Pausina


I am 16 and currently studying towards my certificate III in Community Dance, Theatre and Events. I am training with Elite Dance Studio and have competed for the past 6 years as a member of the troupes, crews and as a soloist. I came to Ausdance through Dancefest and thoroughly enjoyed contributing towards two of the opening pieces. The Escalate program this year has been a great experience, presenting lots of challenges and opportunities!


Debora Di Centa

Debora Di Centa is a Canberra based independent dance artist and choreographer. Debora grew up in Italy and started dancing at a young age. She has extensive training in ballet, jazz, contemporary dance and she is an expert in Laban Movement Analysis. Debora studied and collaborated in dance works, research, and performances with various artists  and dance specialists around Europe, US and Asia. Debora is currently pursuing her professional development around Australia, New Zealand and internationally. She teaches, performs, choreographs, and directs dance events working for professionals and in community settings. Since 2016 Debora has been leading the Canberra Contact Improvisation community and a is team member of the Dance For Wellbeing program at Belconnen Arts Centre. She trains pre-professional Contemporary dancers at Dance Development Center and collaborates with Ausdance ACT (Producer and Leading Mentor of Escalate V), independent artist Liz Lea, Canberra Dance Theatre (Artist in Residence) and Praksis Canberra. As and independent, she works through her label ISEMS PROJECTS. Her motto is: “Dance for All!”

Jake Kuzma

Jake Kuzma is a locally grown Canberran dancer. Contemporary, floor work and urban movement are at the core of his dance style. His passion for contemporary dance began when he joined QL2 in his early teens. After graduating from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in 2011 with a Bachelor of Dance performance, he began a career in teaching, choreographing and performing. Claire Marshall’s Slowdive, Antony Hamilton Black Project 2, and Cadi McCarthy That Place in Between are the shows that were highlights of Jake’s performing career and the choreographers that contributed the most towards his dance practice. Jake’s youth dance company experience is vast, working for QL2, Yellow Wheel, Flipside and Drill. From juniors up to Bangarra Dance Theatre company class, Jake has taught a wide range of dance levels. International success came from performing in Montreal CINARS festival for Antony Hamilton, being a guest teacher in China at the Dong Guan Dancesport 2018 Summer Camp and as a performer in Chengdu for the BLAH BLAH BLAH #004 festival. In the past year Jake has returned to the Canberra dance scene through teaching various classes with GOLD dance company and a guest artist for The Canberra Youth Dance Festival. 2020 already has projects lined up with QL2, Canberra Youth Theatre and Ausdance ACT.

Elle Morris

Elle has been in the dance industry for over 20 years. She is a proud member of Ausdance ACT and Australian Teachers of Dancing (ATOD). Elle undertook her tertiary training at Bartuccio's Dance and Performing Arts Centre in Melbourne before pursuing a professional career in commercial dance. She also spent five years training at the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) in Aerial Silks, Trapeze and Acrobatics. Elle has danced internationally completing contracts in Singapore and New Zealand. Also a studio owner, Elle adores being able to pass on her love of dance to her students.

Leena Wall

Caroline ‘Leena’ Wall is the Artistic Director of Fresh Funk, Canberra’s original and leading urban dance program, part of the Tuggeranong Arts Centre. 

Leena has been dancing and performing for over 30 years. She has a background in classical ballet, jazz and contemporary dance, and was the first to introduce “urban” dance to Canberra, with Fresh Funk offering a fusion of hip-hop, street funk and contemporary dance since its inception in 2000.

Leena has completed an Honours degree in English and Theatre Studies at the ANU as well as her professional Certification in Dance Teaching and Safe Dance Practices from Queensland University of Technology. She has travelled interstate and internationally as a dancer and teacher, training annually in Los Angeles and/or Japan.

Leena also has a long history of involvement with Ausdance, QL2, and the Canberra Youth Dance Festival. She is an award-winning dancer and tutor, who was once nominated for Young Australian of the Year. She is dedicated in providing a supportive and positive experience for dancers, and to her teaching and mentoring.

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