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Miss Jo McKinley

Director of GDANCE Academy, Classical Ballet Coach and Choreographer

Jo has trained from the age of 6 in Classical Ballet, Jazz, Music Theatre, Tap, Contemporary, Scottish and National Character dance. She has also studied Acting, Contemporary Singing and Public Speaking and holds a Bachelor of Communication.

Jo completed the Royal Academy of Dance examination syllabus and passed her teaching examination with high distinction. She has been teaching and choreographing for more than twenty years. She has coached students who are now in professional dance training institutions and companies all over the world.

Jo’s music theatre credits include: The Producers, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Guys and Dolls, A Chorus Line and Chicago to name a few. Jo has choreographed a multitude of award winning pieces and continues to stage new work each year.

Jo has taught and choreographed for several of Canberra's premier dance institutions as well as guest teaching around Australia. She opened the Gungahlin Dance Academy (now GDANCE) in 2002. She has enjoyed exceptional results with her students during this time with her dedication to the students' technical training in classical ballet.


Miss Elise Taylor

Classical Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Tap, Solos.

Miss Elise Taylor has been studying dance since she was two, she started with classical ballet and later on took on jazz, lyrical, and contemporary. Throughout high school she was accepted into both regional and state level dance ensembles participating in festivals as show pieces and the NSW School Spectacular. At the age of 14 she started to travel to Murray Youth Ballet for further training where she completed her RAD Intermediate and studied for both Advanced I and II.

Elise teaches Classical, jazz, lyrical and contemporary, tap, hip hop and musical theatre. Her previous students have gone on to achieve great results all over the world.

Elise is very passionate about dance and loves to see her students thrive both in the classroom and on the stage.


Miss Rachael Murphy

Head teacher of the Dance. Play. Grow. program.

Rachael has danced with the GDANCE Academy from its inception and is an original student of Miss Jo’s, dancing since the age of five. She has a strong foundation in Classical Ballet, and is passionate about Jazz and Contemporary as well.

Rachael has completed her grade 1-8 RAD Graded Examinations and her RAD Advanced Foundation. She has competed for many years in solos, trios and troupes, and has contributed to the choreography and characterisation in the end of year GDANCE Performances.

Rachael has been teaching dance for the past 5 years and gains pleasure from watching her students grow and develop. Rachael enjoys interacting with children and always aims to support and encourage the younger members of the GDANCE Academy. Rachael has tertiary qualifications in Event Management and administration. 


Miss Megan Thomas

Classical Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Tap, Solos.

At the age of 7 Megan was inspired to dance by her cousin, and has been dancing ever since. Megan started out taking RAD classical ballet classes under the instruction of Miss Jo and has since been trained in many styles of dance including Jazz, Funk, Contemporary, Modern, National Character and Broadway style. Of these, Megan enjoys contemporary and modern the most.

Since the age of 8 Megan has been performing on stage, first in the yearly concert and then she moved on to eisteddfods, competing as a soloist, troupe member or in duo/trios, and has been awarded with many prizes. Megan continues her love of dance for it allows her to perform and express herself in a fun and creative way.

In 2009 Megan started training as a teacher under the guidance of Miss Jo and has been teaching her own classes since 2010. She has enjoyed being able to inspire and teach younger students with the hope of them reaching their full potential in dance. Megan is currently studying to become a paramedic.


Miss Alysha Swan

Classical Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Solos.

Alysha began dancing at the GDANCE Academy from the age of 5 and has trained in many styles including Classical Ballet (RAD), Contemporary, Modern, Jazz, Hip Hop and Irish dance.

Alysha has competed in many local and interstate eisteddfods performing solos and as a member of the GDANCE performance troupe. Alysha has also performed for over 10 years in the annual GDANCE concert, and she has competed in Australian Championships for Irish Dancing. Alysha says she loves performing as it gives her the opportunity to communicate to an audience through dance and she sees performing as the reward after lots of hard work during rehearsals. Alysha has completed her Royal Academy of Dance examinations to an Advanced Foundation level.

Alysha loves teaching dance as she finds it very rewarding to see students achieve new things as they progress in class. Alysha strives to help students reach their full potential in a positive and friendly environment, where students are able to let their imagination and creativity flow.


Miss Hannah Donald

Assistant Instructor

Hannah started classical ballet at the age of three. She studied at Bellarine Academy of Dance and at Croft Gilchrist School of Dance before commencing her training at GDANCE Academy in 2013. She has experience in classical ballet, jazz, contemporary, national character, lyrical, musical theatre and tap. Hannah regularly performs in interstate and local eisteddfods for both troupe and solos, as well as in the annual end of year concert.

Hannah has completed her RAD ballet exams up to Advanced Foundation and Grade 8 and is currently studying for her Advanced 1 exam. 

In 2014, Hannah was a part of the GDANCE international team that performed in Disneyland, California Adventure Park, Universal Studios and Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, USA. She found the experience extraordinary and considers it a once in a lifetime opportunity.


Herminia Maneiro

Administration Assistant

Herminia has more than 25 years’ experience as an Administrator in the Bank industry, consumer good and aged care sectors. She migrated with her husband from Venezuela to Sydney 15 years ago, and decided to move to Canberra in 2010 to start her family, she is a busy mum of Julio Vicente and Ella Genevieve.

Herminia has passion for customer service, she prides herself for handling her work related duties with the outmost integrity, respect and a touch of Latin flavour. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask her whenever she is around on Saturday mornings or by sending her an email to: