Lorna Borrett

BA (Hons), I.S.T.D, B.B.O

Lorna began dancing when she was just two years old! She studied Ballet, Modern, Tap, Jazz, Disco and Contemporary to advanced level gaining a BA (HONS) in Performing Arts Specialising in Dance from Middlesex University, London. Following this Lorna gained a scholarship to complete an additional diploma at the Scottish School of Contemporary Dance.

In 2004, after several years of dancing and choreographing professionally, Lorna decided she would like to explore teaching opportunities and this was when she truly found her passion. In England she taught for various private dance schools, mainstream education schools and also developed her own dance and fitness business. In 2006 Lorna decided she would like to work overseas, which is when she moved to New Zealand, now her home.

In the past Lorna has been a tutor at Whitireia Tertiary Education Institute NZ, teaching on the Commercial Dance and Musical Theatre diploma and degree courses. She has adjudicated dance competitions around the country and appeared numerous times on TV One's "Good Morning" Show teaching Pilates segments.

Lorna is also the principal and owner of Spiritus Dance Company, a dance school exclusively for adults, co-owner of Wellington's newest dance studio, Dancetopia and mum to Archie.

Ella Leitner

Ella started dancing when she was seven, originally training in ballet, and loved every minute of it!

In high school she got introduced to Jazz, Hip Hop and Lyrical and continued to develop her technique and passion for dancing.  Ella has had many opportunities to dance on stage including The Wellington Sports Person of the Year Awards, half time entertainment for The Saints Basketball games, "Xmas in the Hutt" and she even got to perform at Disneyland in Los Angeles! 

Ella was awarded the role of Director for her Showquest team for two years running.  The role included choreographing the dances, creating the performance concept, teaching the routines and being in charge of a group of performers.  The team was very successful placing second and third.

Ella will be the regular Leaping Lizards Hip Hop teacher and will also be available to cover classes in other genres. She can’t wait to share her passion for dance to students of all ages!

Libby Finkle-Vern

Miss Libby took her first ballet class at age four and has been moving and grooving ever since! She has studied at several different dance schools but four years ago found her home at Spiritus Dance Company, (Leaping Lizards’ sister school).

Miss Libby started teaching with Leaping Lizards in 2022.  This sparked a passion for teaching which led to her returning to study as an early childhood teacher. She now works at a community preschool.

When she isn't dancing or teaching Miss Libby keeps herself busy as the Studio Manager for Leaping Lizards.

Jamie Moore

Miss Jamie started dancing at the age of 5 in North Carolina. She studied ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, and modern and performed with jazz and ballet pre-professional companies.

She went on to graduate from the University of North Carolina Greensboro with a BFA in Dance Performance and a BA in Political Science. While at university she performed with local companies and spent a semester studying contemporary dance at Unitec in Auckland.

Miss Jamie taught dance in North Carolina for 8 years and was the director of a pre-professional contemporary and choreography company. She has also worked for the Joffrey Ballet School in both New York City and San Francisco.

In 2021 Miss Jamie moved back to New Zealand to reconnect with the country her family is from. She has continued dancing and teaching in Wellington and is excited and honored to share her passion for dance at Leaping Lizards and our adult sister school, Spiritus Dance Company.

Charlie Adams

Charlie has been grooving with our adult sister school, Spiritus Dance Company for 6 years and loves to move!

Their bachelors degree in early childhood education, plus adoration for young learners, makes Charlie a passionate teacher who strives to unleash the silliness, creativity and natural drive, in young dancers.

Deborah Donkin

Returning to dance as an adult, Deborah spent a large amount of her twenties dancing and learning tap and jazz routines in the UK that were performed on stage twice a year, every year, for many years.

When her three children were young Deborah started a small dance school teaching tap to children aged between 3 and 11 years old. This school ran for over four years and then she took a break to travel.  Deborah returned to teaching in 2018 at Leaping Lizards School of Dance.

Deborah also teaches for our sister school Spiritus Dance Company for the adult Beginner Tap class, as well as participating in the Advanced Tap class and Jazz class as a student.  Deborah's fun personality makes her classes a blast!

Hillary Santos

Prior to university, dance was Hillary's life.  She has performed on various stages with many incredibly talented dancers and successfully competed in many large scale, prestigious Hip Hop competitions. Hillary has also worked professionally on numerous music videos and even appeared on "America's Got Talent"!!

Hillary moved to New Zealand from the United States in 2019 after meeting her partner, now husband.  Now having sewn her roots in Aotearoa, she is excited to be joining the Leaping Lizards family. 

Jessica-May Smith

Jessica-May started dancing at the age of four and quickly fell in love with it.  She spent a lot of her childhood and teenage years in the dance studio, including being a teaching assistant for Jazz and preschool classes. 

Jessica-May gained top marks in Jazz, Contemporary, Hip Hop & Tap exams, distinction in her Advanced RAD Ballet exams and even 100% in her advanced Lyrical exam!!  She also competed, very successfully, at New Zealand dance competitions, gaining a nomination to compete at a national level at the age of fourteen.

At fifteen years old she moved away from home to attend Canterbury Ballet on a full scholarship.  She is currently in her second year as a Contemporary Major at the New Zealand School of Dance.

Other notable achievements are gaining a professional contract to perform in a Bollywood movie, attending the Ailey School summer intensive in New York City, performing in WOW 2023 and has gained a secondment with The New Zealand Dance Company, due to happen in May 2024. 

Jessica-May will be assisting with the competition teams, solos, duos and trios and will be a reliable, well informed, cover teacher.

Celia Macdonald

Celia started dancing at the age of three, training predominantly in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, and Musical Theatre.  She is a recent Graduate from the National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art (NASDA) in Christchurch with a BPA in Music Theatre.

One of Celia's biggest accomplishments was when she entered the New Zealand Dance Awards in the Pro-Am Musical Theatre scholarship category and won "The Most Likely to have a Professional Career Award".

In 2022 Celia was a Leaping Lizards preschool teacher, as well as a cover teacher for Jazz, Ballet and Tap classes.  Due to Celia's performance commitments in 2024 she will not be teaching regular classes but will remain a reliable, well prepared, fun cover teacher when needed.