Anna is a choreographer and fully qualified dance teacher (Diploma in Dance Education in Imperial Classical Ballet and Modern Theatre with the ISTD), and has over 11 years of full-time dance and teaching experience. Over the years, she has experienced teaching a wide range of age ranges and abilities from the truly tiny to the novice and professional adult.
Anna started Toddle around four years ago when she realised that there were very few truly dance related classes in Cheltenham that would actually teach foundational dance basics to such tiny people AND be like coming along to a toddler group. Since then it has grown and grown and Anna has been privileged to see some of her first class members progress to becoming little dancers in Stage Four.
Anna undertook vocational training at Northern Ballet School. She began her professional career as a dancer in Exalt with Saltmine, touring throughout the UK before continuing in the world of entertainment, performing in various theatres and touring several shows, both in the UK and abroad. As an actress, Anna played Florence in Saltmine’s production of Adrian Plass’s An Alien At St Wilfreds, enjoyed two summer seasons as a dancer, at Wicksteed Park; 3 fantastic seasons at The Adam Smith Theatre in Kirkcaldy – including covering the lead in, and various touring shows (including Route 66 and Decade Explosion).
She loves her work as a choreographer and has enjoyed being on the production team for Snow White at Carnegie Hall, Dunfirmline and Cinderella at Camberley Theatre, Surrey. She is excited to be returning to Camberley Theatre later this year to be part of the team that produces Peter Pan. Anna also enjoys her position as movement lecturer at Regents Theological College in Malvern.
Anna lives in lovely Cheltenham with her husband and has her very own toddler to try out all things Toddle related on. They recently added to their team number this summer with a new baby. Anna will return to teaching in November on Thursdays alongside Felicity.
Maria Blundell-Palethorpe MSc
‘Maria’s real passion is teaching dance to the new generation of thinking dancers, to inspire and inform their development.’
Maria is a choreographer, dance artist, performer and teacher who works as a visiting lecturer at Birmingham School of Acting delivering physical theatre and contemporary dance technique. Maria originally trained as a ballet dancer at Central School of Ballet, before attending London Studio Centre and London Contemporary Dance School, founding her dance company Pasgetti in 2002. She has performed works by some of the worlds leading choreographers and her own choreography has been successfully platformed throughout the UK and Europe.
Maria works extensively as a choreographer creating both live theatre and dance film shorts, one of which has been included in the Tanzarchive of the City of Cologne Library. She has been commissioned by BSA to choreograph several full-scale theatre productions including the musical ‘Spring Awakening’, A Clockwork Orange’ and ‘A Street of Crocodiles’ and most recently ‘The cabinet of Dr Calagari which tours to Serbia, Croatia and Budapest in May 2017.
Maria has extensive experience teaching young people contemporary dance and ballet. Maria founded the Cambridgeshire County Youth Dance Company whilst working at The Junction Theatre in Cambridge before moving to Birmingham to become a Dance Artist in Residence (DAiR) based in Dudley for the DanceXchange. The DAiR To… programme engaged young people in dance experiences that would otherwise not have been available or accessible to them. The project raised youngsters’ confidence levels by way of responsive and creative educational work, enticed new audiences into theatres, combated the isolation of local dance artists and helped to establish a thriving dance infrastructure across the region.
Maria has taught both GCSE and BTEC dance and was a contemporary technique tutor on the CAT (Centre for Advanced Training) programme for several years which enables elite young dancers aged 12-18 to access further training in Contemporary dance. Maria delivered CAT classes for The DanceXchange, Laban and Dance4. Maria was course leader for ‘Making Choreographers’, teaching a select group of young people aged 12-16 the tools of choreography.
Maria is a visiting lecturer at The University of Wolverhampton teaching ballet and contemporary dance to BA students.
Maria and family have recently relocated to Bourton-on-the-Water and Maria will be launching Pasgetti Youth Dance Company in the summer as well as teaching weekly contemporary classes for 10-24 year olds in Upper Rissington, Gloucestershire.
Maria will be teaching Toddle classes on Tuesdays.
Felicity studied at the Northern Ballet School gaining a Diploma in Professional Dance. She performed in many ballets to include Coppelia, Giselle, and The Nutcracker before dancing as part of the Carnival Cruise Line team for seven years, travelling all over the world.
Having gained her Diploma in Dance Instruction and Education teaching qualifications with the ISTD in Imperial Ballet, Modern Theatre and Tap she has returned to her Gloucestershire roots and now runs her own dance school, Winchcombe Dance Academy.
Felicity will be teaching Toddle classes on Thursday afternoons.
Anya started dancing at the age of 3 and spent all of her childhood and teenage years dancing and performing. She has a Level 4 diploma in Dance Teaching specialising in Classical Ballet and a Level 5 certificate in Safe and Effective Dance Practise from Trinity College, London.
She has also attained the ISTD Diploma in Dance Instruction (DDI) qualification in classical ballet and studied Modern to advanced level. Anya holds an emergency first aid at Work certificate and a full DBS disclosure. As well as being a mummy to two cheeky chaps, Anya has a wealth of experience working with little people and is looking forward to getting to know all the Toddle families. Anya will be teaching on Friday mornings with Abbie as her assistant.
Abbie is currently on her gap year, having finished her A levels in June. She has been dancing since she was four and has Intermediate Ballet and Gold in Jazz and Tap. She enjoyed working with Anna when she performed in Jacobs Well Productions’ ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ and ‘The Sound of Music’ and has lots of experience working as a princess for children’s parties. After her gap year, Abbie is looking forward to studying Drama at Exeter University. She is thrilled to be part of the Toddle team, working alongside Maria on Tuesdays and Anya on Fridays.