All staff have a working with children check and current First Aid qualifications.
We are committed to ongoing learning and professional development and Child Safety Standards.
Sharon Saunders -Owner/Principal
Sharon grew up in Bacchus Marsh, Victoria, she began dancing at the age of three years. Sharon studied Jazz, Tap, Ballet and Calisthenics. In later years her biggest influence in dance was studying Classical Ballet and Jazz with Peter Faux of Peter Faux Dance Ensemble in Melton. She also loved Youth Theatre and was involved in many productions as an actor and dancer.
Sharon discovered her love for teaching at the age of 17 when she started assistant teaching with Peter Faux; she married and moved to Bendigo in 1988 and started a family soon after. Sharon has worked in Pharmacy and cosmetics, also as a host with Humphrey B Bear, and as a dance teacher for over 30 years!
In 1992 Sharon opened her own dance school in Marong Hall. From there the school grew with a second school at Healthworks in Kangaroo Flat. The Marong and Kangaroo Flat studios grew rapidly while under her direction and soon merged in Kangaroo Flat. Sharon later built her own purpose built studio in Kangaroo Flat where they still are today. Sharon was a member of The Australian Theatrical Dance Inc for 20 years. Sharon is now an Affiliate member to The Australian Teachers of Dancing Limited and excited to share their syllabi with her students and take advantage of their ongoing professional development opportunities.
Sharon loves all aspects of dance; it is her life! She is honoured to share her passion of dance with others – this is evident through the countless number of students who have danced until adulthood at SSD (and proudly 3 students are currently working as SSD teachers). Lifelong friendships are constantly formed by Parents and students at SSD. Sharon’s mission was always to provide quality dance education in a caring and friendly environment.
Sharon continues to run SSD with great passion and enjoyment. She also keeps a close eye on all dancers often relief teaching different classes and is always working behind the scenes to ensure our SSD runs smoothly and efficiently!
“… I love to share my love of dance with children and am grateful to the parents who entrust their children to my care. It is an absolute joy to watch young children grow in dance, life skills and confidence! So many Magic Moments."
Steph Riley- Teacher
Steph started dancing with Sharon Saunders at 4 years of age. Steph has been dancing for 22 years and loves passing on her experience and knowledge of dance to her students. She has completed Jazz, Tap and Ballet exams with First Class Honours through the Australian Theatrical Dance (inc). Steph has been teaching with Sharon Saunders Dancers for the past 8 years and currently teaches jazz and tap class to all age levels. In 2008 Steph completed both VCE dance and VET Certificate II in Dance at Bendigo Senior Secondary College.
Steph’s personality is infectious and energy is loved by all who take her class. The commitment shown by Steph over 20 years at SSD is much appreciated.
Steph is studying nursing at Federation University and work with Bendigo Health. Steph is an important member of the SSD family, having grown up here! Steph will continue to teach our Adult classes and relief teach when needed.
Madeleine Somerville -Teacher
Originally from Anglesea, Madi Somerville moved to Bendigo 11 years ago to get married and start a family. Madi is a former paediatric nurse and a mum of 2 young children. She currently works at Bendigo South East College as a Student Support Officer. Madi has been teaching dance for 20 years in styles ballet (Cechetti, RAD and SFD), Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Neo Classical and Musical Theatre.
Madi gained her teaching qualification through the Southern Federation of Dance and has had experience dancing with the Australian Ballet School – Dancers Company and the Australian Ballet as an associate and then graduated to Corps de Ballet dancing in ballets Swan Lake, Manon, Coppelia, Nutcracker and The Sleeping Beauty.
Madi has been involved with NEXUS BYT as the choreographer working on shows Beauty and the Beast and Sound of Music, but has also performed in musicals Les Miserables (as Eponine), Sound of Music (as Liesl) and Beauty and the Beast (as Belle).
2018 will be Mad's 5th year at SSD and she will be teaching ballet, jazz and musical theatre.
Alyce Saunders- Teacher
Alyce Saunders attained her Bachelor of Early Childhood & Primary degree at ACU in Ballarat. Alyce is the daughter of Sharon and has been dancing since she could walk! She has always been an integral part of our school, especially on exam days, awards days, photo days, enrolment days and Concert weekends! Alyce has studied the ATD (inc) jazz, tap and ballet syllabus. She was also a keen gymnast for many years with John Palmer.
Alyce teaches at a local Preschool and also teaches our younger students. She also works as Sharon’s personal assistant behind the scenes.
Alyce has taught dance in Ballarat at Dancemakers and particularly loves teaching preschoolers. She has also been the head teacher for Emotion 21 children and adults classes. Emotion 21 is a not for profit organization catering to children and adults with Downs Syndrome. Alyce has a passion for preschool and early primary students.
Emma Brown - Teacher
Rachael began dancing at 3 years old at That Dance Place in Werribee, and has trained in ATOD Jazz and Tap, Cecchetti Ballet, Hip Hop, Contemporary, and Calisthenics. As well as being in countless local theatre productions around Melbourne.
Rachael is currently studying full time at 'Kelly Aykers Full Time Dance', completing her Diploma of Musical Theatre, and is excited to be able to bring her knowledge and passion for performing to the students at SSD.
Hannah Mc Bain -Teacher
Hannah has been a dedicated student at Sharon Saunders Dancers since she was 2 years old. She was born into our SSD Family as her sister Ashlea was a student for many years too, meaning her parents have been at SSD for well over 20 years!
Hannah has completed Year 12 at Bendigo Senior Secondary College and has been a student of SSD for 16 years. Hannah has passed exams each year in Classical Ballet and Jazz Ballet since joining our school. She has been a student assistant over the past 2 years and has built a great rapport with students and parents. in 2017 Hannah worked closely with Madi & Sharon in 2017 in preparation for her own classes in 2018. Hannah has a great rapport with all students and adores our school!
Julia Wellard -Teacher
Julia has been dancing for the past 13 years at Ann Maree Dancers & Start Studio. She has been assistant teaching for the past 3 years. Julia is a very passionate dancer and loves every style of dance, from Modern Contemporary to Broadway jazz; however her favourite style of all time is Tap! She has studied Australian Theatrical Dance (inc) syllabus and just completed VCE Dance. She has a deep love of performance - especially Tap dance and Musical Theatre and is excited to evoke a similar passion for dance within her students.
Julia continues to be heavily involved in the Bendigo Theatre Company, performing in ‘Boy from Oz’ in 2016 as a part of the ensemble, and earlier this year with Bendigo Theatre Company’s, youth theatre group, Tribe in its premier show of ‘Barnum’, within the principal cast, playing the role of ‘The Blues singer’, she was also appointed the role of dance captain within the production.
Julia is excited to join the team at Sharon Saunders Dancers, she can’t wait to meet the students and start classes in 2018!
We are blessed to have caring and dedicated dancers who volunteer their time to mentor and assist in junior classes. Georgia, Caitlin, Keeley, Kiet & Hannah have been students for many years and love to help our junior students in class. They are great role models and a credit to both their families and our SSD family.