Our Teachers

Kym vickery

Kym started dancing at 7 years of age training at Sharon Statham School of Dance (which was later renamed Auckland West Dance Academy).  Right from a young age she knew that she wanted to be a dance teacher when she grew up.  The exams she completed as a student included NZAMD Solo Seal Diploma in Jazz, JDNZ Advanced (Hons with Distinction), RAD Ballet, BAL Ballet, Jazz & Tap (Adv. Hons).  During her dancing career she competed in dance competitions winning various awards in New Zealand and Australia, including the Lisa Kelly Ballet Award in Sydney in 1997.  Kym was a New Zealand Jazz Nationals finalist in 1994 and New Zealand Tap Nationals finalist in 1995.  She was a member of the Northern Ballet Company, NBC Danceforce for many years.  She has been involved with musical theatre shows including choreography for Grease, Les Misérables and The Pirates of the Penzance for the Glen Eden Playhouse Theatre.  She has now been teaching dance for over 25 years and is a fully trained and qualified teacher in ballet, jazz, and tap dancing.  She has gained her RAD RTS, Certificate IV in Dance Teaching and Management, BAL Ballet Teaching Certificate, BAL Tap Teaching Certificate (Adv.).  Kym is the Dance Educator for Jazz Dance New Zealand (JDNZ).  She has past dance pupils who are dancing professionally and trained at top dance companies overseas.  Kym loves to teach to share her passion and knowledge for dance with her pupils.  She is thrilled to be the owner of AWDA and have such amazing dance teachers and students.

Keri edley

Like most of us in the dancing world Keri started out very young; mainly at first in the ballroom world, eventually branching through ballet and into jazz dancing.  She started teaching in 1979!!!  Yes it seems a million years ago but the joy and love of dance is a real magnet.  Keri is one of the founders of JDNZ and the artistic director. This syllabus was created in 1993 with Sharon Statham and Patricia Hodson.
She had her own dance studio in New Lynn teaching with Alissa Yee and Kym was her tap teacher, for 10 years Keri’s students had many successes including competitions here and in Australia.  She choreographed the cheerleading for the Auckland Blues Rugby team for a short time and the NZ Soccer team.  In the early days Keri had a small dance company called Tiptoze; it was her pride and joy but eventually as the students went their own ways in their own lives it disbanded.  Over the years Keri has choreographed many shows at Avondale College and other local drama schools. She joined forces with Auckland Academy of Dance and continued in the JDNZ syllabus and also in the competition world.  Now the tables are turned and Keri is thrilled to be working with Kym at AWDA and loving it.

Georgia Thompson

Georgia started dancing at our studio at the age of 4 where she found her passion for the performing arts. Georgia has completed exams in BAL ballet, jazz and tap alongside JDNZ jazz and lyrical to the advanced level.  She has also studied the RAD ballet, RBM hip hop and NZAMD contemporary syllabi. Georgia received nominations to the NZAMD contemporary scholarship for two consecutive years.  She has completed ‘B.A.L. Accredited Teaching Certificate Three (Ballet)’ and is currently working towards the next certificate.  Georgia has been a member of our competition troupes from a young age and was recently part of our Senior team who competed at PACANZ, making it to the finals two years in a row.  Georgia is now teaching our junior teams and loves pushing them to work to their potential.  She continues to be an active dancer at our studio, sitting exams in a number of genre.  Outside of dancing, Georgia is a primary school teacher.  This has helped her gain a deeper understanding of how children learn and she can use this knowledge when teaching dance.

stevie barker

Stevie started dancing at 3 years old at Auckland West Dance Academy taking JDNZ Jazz. She had always had a passion for jazz to where she found a love for BAL Ballet, RAD Ballet, Contemporary and Lyrical at the age of 13. Never would she think she would be doing Hip Hop, starting Hip Hop in 2018 and is now studying RBM Hip Hop. In 2016 Stevie performed in both Tempo and The Short & Sweet Festival through The Friday Company performing a piece called “Contrapostion”. Stevie discovered her love for competition with the AWDA Troupes at the age of 13 and started to perform solo at 18. Stevie has been teaching at Auckland West Dance Academy since she was 16 years old teaching Pre School, to now teaching Jazz, Ballet and Lyrical. She has also been very fortunate to teach dancers solo and duo pieces for national and international competitions. Throughout her dance journey she has competed a Certificate of Ballet through Royal Academy of Dance and is a member of JDNZ and NZAMD.

nichola Niemack

Nichola started dancing at age 5 at Nicola Wheeler Dance Academy in East Auckland taking Jazz and Hip Hop before training under Brigid Carter Chan taking NZAMD Jazz and Contemporary exams where she gained Distinction in all exams.  Nichola also has extensive training in Latin, heels and Ballet.  In 2016 she did various commercial and corporate gigs under C.E.P. working at Sky City for the Cosmos Pageant.  She has also been a regular performer at the “Moon Festival”, “Lunar Festival” and performed multiple times in “Tempo” and “The Short and Sweet Festival” where she has been able to perform work choreographed by exquisite New Zealand choreographers.  Nichola competed as a dancer from a very young age and started her journey as a choreographer from the age of 17 working with troupes from Carter Chan Dance and most recently Jayes Dance Studio where she has been responsible for soloists, duos and troupes.  At the start of 2019 Nichola worked with a Jazz troupe where they represented New Zealand and placed second in the world at the “Global Games” in Hawaii.  Nichola has completed a Bachelor in Contemporary Dance at Unitec where she danced full time for 3 years training in Contemporary, Ballet and Choreographic Practices and has worked with some of the most influential and celebrated choreographers and dancers in New Zealand.

faith schuster

Faith started dancing at the age of 5 with cultural Samoan Siva.  She established a love for the art of Hip Hop Dance when she moved to New Zealand in the early 2000’s.  Faith was a part of Lil Saintz Dance Crew in 2008 and since then she has been exposed to the Hip Hop community in Auckland.  Throughout her years she has competed with various different crews such as Militia Dance Crew, Lil Saintz Dance Crew, Brady Bunch Academy, Prodigies Dance Crew and the Saintz Dance Academy.  She has been blessed to give back to the community and share her knowledge of movement through a performing arts school known as the SAINTZ UP Performing Arts Program (SUPA).  Through this program Faith gained 5 years of teaching experience in Hip Hop Dance and has loved every moment of it.  Faith is also a part of the Saintz Dance Academy leadership team who guide and take care of an elite team of dance students from the SUPA Program here in Auckland.  Faith has also completed a 3 year course of a Bachelor’s degree in Performing Arts and Screen Arts at UNITEC Institute of Technology.  Through this course she has performed in different dance festivals for various different amazing artists and is excited to be sharing her knowledge and experiences with the Auckland West Dance Academy. 

sarah tupara

Sarah Tupara began her journey with dance at the age of 3 at Auckland West Dance Academy.  Her first style of dance was jazz but throughout the years she branched out to many other genres including lyrical, contemporary, hip hop and ballet.  She has sat exams in JDNZ, BAL, NZAMD and RBM.  Sarah started competitions at the age of 11 doing solos, duos and troupes in New Zealand and Australia.  As well as these competitions Sarah has competed at the Auckland Hip Hop regionals, received nominations to the NZAMD contemporary scholarship in Wellington for four consecutive years (2015-2018) and competing at PACANZ with AWDA’s senior troupe.  Dance has also led to many other exciting opportunities for Sarah including working on TV shows and now teaching here at Auckland West.  In 2020 Sarah looks forward to teaching pre-school, jazz and lyrical.

gemma rundle

AWDA has been Gemma’s dancing home for the past 15 years! Throughout her years of dance she has completed the BAL Jazz, JDNZ Jazz and NZAMD contemporary syllabi, as well as BAL Ballet up to Advanced level. She has also competed in regional and national dance competitions as well as competing overseas in Australia. To pursue her dance journey further Gemma is currently studying a Bachelor’s degree in contemporary dance at Unitec, which has a focus on expanding both technical ability and choreographic processes. Dancing has always been her number one passion, and she cannot count the number of incredible memories and amazing things that she has learnt through pursuing this art form. For this reason Gemma absolutely loves being able to work with younger dancers, guiding them on their own dance journeys and helping them learn, improve and grow! 

chris te kawa

Chris started dancing at the age at 6.  He went to Excel School of Performing Arts for two years.  Chris has completed Certificate 4 and 5 in dance.  He taught dance at Crave Dance Studio in 2018.  He was a part of a dance crew called “The Brady Bunch” (BBA).  He has taught at Victory Dance Studio and has also taught at the Spreading Tree Studio (TST) Studio.  His dance background is contemporary, hip hop & jazz dancing.  He is looking forward to teaching at AWDA and will help to establish our first ever boys only hip hop class.

hope strom

Hope Strom has been dancing with Auckland West Dance Academy since she was 11 years old.  She currently still trains in ballet, jazz, and contemporary.  Hope has completed exams to an advanced level with excellent results for BAL, RAD, JDNZ, and NZAMD.  She has represented Auckland West Dance Academy in competitions for the studio troupe and for solos throughout Auckland and overseas.  She was a part of the PACANZ team, “Breaking Through”, in 2018 where they were fortunate enough to make the finals.  Hope was also nominated to compete in the Ballet Australasia Limited Scholarship Competition where she made the Semi-Finals in 2019.  She plans to continue her dance training while also teaching and providing a fun learning experience for the students.

jessica Opacic

Jess (ARAD) is passionate about dance education and loves teaching dancers of all ages. Her strengths in teaching lie in Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary and Choreography. She is a qualified personal trainer and has experience teaching pilates with Dance Pilates.
After twelve years living in Melbourne and more than five years as the Dance Director of a large Melbourne dance school, Jess returned to New Zealand and teaches and coaches dance students around Auckland, recently she has become proud mum of daughter Darcey.
Jess began her dance training in Auckland where she grew up, and Ms Kym was her tap teacher! She furthered her dance studies in Melbourne and gained a Diploma of Dance (Performance). Her performance credits are varied and include a season with Black Grace Dance Company. As a teacher, Jess has travelled throughout Australia, and as a choreographer, she has toured Europe, America and Australia with the Australian Girls’ Choir.
Jess is excited to work with the Senior Troupe Members at AWDA!