Bea Lee Smith

A bunhead of some 35 years, Bea’s passion for dance and performing began as a young child. Since graduating from The National Academy of Singing and Dramatic Art in 2001 she has spent many years working as a freelance singer, actor, dancer, teacher, writer and director. She was a founding member of Christchurch's Chant et Danse Cabaret Company, and The Red Rose Dinner Theatre. Bea has performed in many musicals, cabaret shows and plays around the country, her favourite being her self-produced show Cabaret En Hiver, at the Opera House in 2010.

Bea qualified as a secondary school teacher in 2004. She taught Drama, Dance and Junior Music at Wellington East Girls' College for six years and ran the vocal tuition programme both there and at St Marys' College from 2008- 2010.

Bea also has a passion for fitness and completed her Comprehensive Pilates training in 2015. She has been working as a Pilates, Xtend Barre, TRX and Anti Gravity Instructor for the last four years and she currently works with the Scholars at New Zealand School of Dance on their conditioning programme.

Deborah Donkin

Deborah danced for a short time when she was five and after a 15 year break retuned to dancing in her early twenties. Since then she has never looked back. Deborah spent a large amount of her twenties dancing and learning tap and jazz routines that were performed on stage twice a year, every year for many years.

When her children were small 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 Deborah took a break to focus on her children. She is now eager to reignite her passion for teaching Tap to kids and joins the Leaping Lizards team in 2018.

Emily Jepson

From the age of two Emily has always felt at home in the dance studio. She is trained in Hip Hop, Jazz, Ballet, Contemporary, Lyrical, and Tap and holds NZAMD Solo diplomas in Hip Hop, Jazz and Contemporary.

At 18 Emily represented New Zealand at the World of Dance Hip Hop finals in L.A as part of the Wellington based Infinite Dance Crew. She has also competed in various forms of dance in the U.K, the U.S.A, Australia and New Zealand.

In 2017 Emily moved to Sydney, Australia, to complete a Diploma in Elite Performing Arts at Brent Street Performing Arts Studio. Whilst studying she also performed professionally in various corporate and promotional events with her most memorable being her performance on “The Voice Australia” with Season 6 winner Judah Kelly.

Emily has also worked for numerous dance schools across New Zealand and Australia teaching a variety of dance forms. In April this year she will be taking up a position with ‘The Dream Dance Company’ as a member of their Show Business Professional Development Programme. This focuses on creativity and performance quality and Emily can’t wait to work with the next generation of aspiring artists.

Holly Newsome

Holly, originally from New Plymouth, is a recent graduate of the New Zealand School of Dance where she majored in Contemporary. Since graduating Holly has found her passion lies with choreography, which initiated her own project based company called Discotheque. This is now a platform for devising and performing her own professional dance works and teaching around New Zealand.

In 2017 Holly was funded by Wellington City Council to create her own contemporary dance work called Incognito and later that year was commissioned by Footnote NZ Dance to create a new work called Sweet Salt, as part of their 2017 national tour of New Zealand. Another highlight of Holly’s was working with WOW (World of Wearable Arts) as an assistant choreographer and dancer.

She is currently working on a new full length work called Missing Lids under her company, Discotheque. This will premiere in Auckland in 2018. Other than dance Holly enjoys teaching Group Fitness classes at gyms, writing, painting and listening to music.

Mindy Hodder

Mindy’s dance training began when she was 6 years old. She achieved her Advance 1 ISTD Jazz, Advance 1 RAD Ballet and received Honours for Highland Dancing. She also was a junior associate at the New Zealand School of Dance as a teenager.

Mindy loves to be busy! Whilst fulfilling her passion for dance and fitness she works as an assistant accountant and studies at Massey University towards her Bachelor of Business degree.

Mindy has taught dancers of all ages in Ballet, Jazz, and Hip Hop but took a break to travel overseas for 3 years. She is now raring to go again and is excited to be teaching for Leaping Lizards. Her motto is “Dance like nobody is watching”.