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 2 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 and teach our youngest dancers 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."
Kellie Jackson - Teacher
Kellie started dancing as a 4-year-old and is an experienced dancer whose career spans nineteen years, with her early years at Ann Maree Dancers and the majority at Sharon Saunders Dancers. Throughout this time she has developed her techniques in jazz, tap and ballet styles and completed Australian Theatrical Dance (inc) exams with First Class Honours in all genres. She is a creative dancer who also has a passion for contemporary and more recently is enjoying Hip Hop.
Kellie has been teaching at Sharon Saunders Dancers for the past 7 years. Kellie teaches jazz, tap, Hip Hop and contemporary classes with great passion. After many years of dedication to dance, Kellie has grown to be a strong technician with a passion for dance and choreography and flair for working with children right through our adult classes! Her versatility and diversity shines brightly in those she teaches.
We thank her for ongoing commitment to SSD.
Kellie has completed a Bachelor of Journalism at Monash University but would prefer to be teaching dance. Kellie Jackson is in her final year of a graduate diploma in education and sharing her love of dance with children of all ages at SSD and in Woodend and Gisborne where she works for the Macedon Ranges Council. Kellies love for dance continues and she performs with our Advanced Adult Troupe.
Steph Riley- Teacher
Steph started dancing with Sharon Saunders at 4 years of age. Steph has been dancing for 21 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 has been working full time in a Lending role for many years, and has just started a nursing degree and work with Bendigo Health. Steph is an important member of the SSD family, having grown up here!
Madeleine Somerville -Teacher
Originally from Anglesea, Madi Somerville moved to Bendigo ten 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 19 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).
This is Mad's 4th year at SSD and teaches Classical Ballet, Contemporary & Musical Theatre.
Alyce Saunders- Teacher
We are thrilled to welcome back Alyce Saunders to our school after completing a 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 is thrilled to have gained employment at a local Preschool and be able to come back to her SSD Family! She will work as Sharon’s personal assistant and teach our Ballet Kids class. She will also work as a relief teacher when needed.
Over the past 3 years 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. We are very fortunate to have Alyce back home at SSD!
Emma Brown - Teacher
Hannah Mc Bain -Teacher in Training
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 is currently completing Year 12 at Bendigo Senior Secondary College and has been a student of SSD for 15 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. Hannah will work closely with Sharon in 2017 with our new SSD Teacher Training Program. Sharon Saunders will mentor and guide Hannah and she will teach our Junior Contemporary class with Madi Somerville for the remainder of the year . Hannah adores our school and is thrilled with the opportunity!
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.
The concert was AMAZING and so BEAUTIFUL! The little ones were gorgeous, and we really enjoyed watching everyone it was so captivating. Looking forward to next years concert already :) A great night and WOW an amazing effort from all. We want to thank you for making us feel so welcome this year, and helping to build Luciana's interest and confidence in not only dancing, yet holistically. Luciana can't wait to return next year and continue dancing..
We wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays,
Keep on Dancing!!
Love the Vaillard family