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Lisa Archer (Director & Principal)

L.C.B.A. – C.I.C.B., Cert IV in Workplace Training & Assessment; Cecchetti Advanced 2; Certificate in Applied Anatomy & Physiology; Experienced in all styles including Classical, Jazz, Tap; Sub-committee Member – Cecchetti Ballet Australia Inc. (Vic. Branch); B.AppSci (Food Technology).


I was introduced to dance at the age of two and a half which at which point ignited my enduring passion for dance.  My last 30 plus years of my involvement with the school was under the guidance of Lorraine Blackbourn OAM, herself trained by Madame Lucie Saranova, a student by Maestro Cecchetti himself.


Lorraine always saw the true potential in people, even if they did not see it themselves and when I was invited to provide assistance in the dance class, I was amazed how my love for and ability in dance flourished, and it was from that point at 15 I knew that teaching and sharing my love for dance was for me.


I also have an inkling for science so I went to University and studied a B.AppSci (Food Technology) whist continuing to take any opportunity to teach and learn about dance, to which enriched my career achievements outside the studio.  I found myself on a 20-year long career with a global dairy company Fonterra, which saw me travel both nationally and globally -my aim always to get the best out of people and processes. 


In 2017 Lorraine asked if I would like to “take off where she left off”.  What an opportunity and one that was a dream come true.  I am honoured to continue to lead HD Dance into the future.  There are so many paths and directions in dance and life that if we can ignite, inspire and nurture these dreams (like seeing my own become a reality),and to assist these amazing people become the best version of themselves, then I can take great pride and celebrate this success.


I am so fortunate to have a wonderful and truly inspiring team behind me, many of whom started here at HD Dance students themselves.I welcome you to experience being a part of our ‘HD Dance Family’ and share with you my love for dance.

David Lawrence

A(Dip).C.B.A. – C.I.C.B.; Cecchetti Advanced 2; AMEB 8th Grade Piano; Experienced in Tap, Jazz, Latin and Ballroom. Bachelor of Science (Human Structure & Function). Studying Medical Radiations.

I began dance lessons at the Heidelberg & District Ballet School (now HD Dance) from the age of 6, initially starting with tap classes first and then branching into ballet and jazz soon after. Dance brought a sense of enjoyment while providing a great challenge AND it kept me fit. Dance was my sport, as I was terrible at sports in high school and it was where an extremely shy, introverted and awkward boy managed to make friends and found a safe space to be myself.

While my tuition from Heidelberg District helped me to excel in my ballet training, getting the opportunity to perform in the Cecchetti Medal test competitions and being accepted into the Cecchetti Scholars Program, also ignited my artistic side to be applied in other aspects of life. This included studies in music (clarinet, trumpet, piano and singing), participating in school musicals and rock eisteddfods, and taking up lessons in ballroom and Latin dancing.

Dance allows us to connect with how different people across history and from different continents were compelled to move, whether they were initiated by a favourite song, inspired by powerful emotions or both, it can immediately transport us to a special time or place. The practice of dance for me has instilled a confidence in me that no other outlet in life gave me. Every time I performed on stage, the anxiety of showing my vulnerabilities to hundreds of people grew less and less. However, the greatest confidence came from the lifelong friends I’ve made and the encouraging mentors we had growing up, who I now consider family. Dance is a part of my identity, and it has truly shaped the person I am today.

In my own life, I aim to be kind and accepting of every single person and hope to pass this message on to my students. I understand that every individual is different and has something special to offer to the world but also that we all seek the same things in life; striving to be the best version of ourselves we can be and connecting with others to establish a sense of belonging.

A(Dip).C.B.A. – C.I.C.B.; Cecchetti Advanced 2; AMEB 8th Grade Piano; Bachelor of Science (Human Structure & Function); Medical Radiations; Experienced in Tap, Jazz, Latin and Ballroom; Currently studying Cecchetti Diploma

Harriet Jenkins

L.C.B.A. – C.I.C.B.: Cecchetti Advanced 2; Cert IV in Dance Teaching and Management; Bachelor of Arts (Psychology, History & Youth Work). Experienced in all styles including Dance Play, Classical and Jazz.

Dancing has always been a part of my life, whether as a dancer or a teacher I have always found a supportive space within a studio. Dancing challenges us to be the best possible versions of ourselves. It gives us an opportunity to focus on what we can do better, as well as providing inspiration and vulnerability.

As teachers we have an amazing responsibility to provide our students with opportunities to be challenged, to be valued and to achieve their best. We are not only teaching the correct technique, we are teaching confidence, team work, self-worth and most importantly, opening the doors for our students to discover their full potential. As a teacher there is nothing more rewarding than the look on a student's face when they finally achieve something they believed impossible.

Emily Roberts

Spectrum Dance (2014); Dance Factory (2013); Classical (Advanced), Pointe (Intermediate), Pas De Deux (Advanced), Showgirl, Lyrical, Contemporary, Jazz, Hip Hop, Drama, Voice and Singing.  Centrestage Performing Arts School (2015); “Showfit” full time Musical Theatre Course


Emily became part of our HD Dance team in 2016 teaching our Jazz, Tap, Hip Hop and
Contemporary classes.


"I believe dance is a liberating art form because it brings both a sense of control and freedom all at once. It allows us to be the best version of ourselves; both confident and fierce, and also to be completely vulnerable. For this reason, it was so easy for me to fall in love with dance and music. 


Music is so influential in dancing because it is telling us a story, and as dancers we must always listen to these stories being told. 


I love teaching dance because it not only allows me to create these stories through movement but to ignite the love of dance in my students, and help them reach their full potential. "

Brigritte Tan


A(Dip)C.B.A – C.I.C.B.; Cecchetti Advanced 1; Currently studying Cecchetti Advanced 2 & Diploma; Bachelor of Arts (Korean); and Bachelor of Science (Physiology) with Honours. Bachelor of Applied Science/ Masters of Physiotherapy Practice.


"I am fascinated by the human body, the way it moves and functions. To me dance is not only a series of movements accompanied by music; it is also a form of communication, an expression of self, using the body by means of movement. Through dance I hope to share with others this wonderful way to connect with themselves, fellow dancers and audiences."

Stephanie Verga

A(Dip - Part1).C.B.A – C.I.C.B.; Cecchetti Advanced 1; Currently studying Cecchetti Advanced 2; Experienced in Classical and Jazz; Bachelor of Applied and Public Health and Speech Pathology

In 2016, Stephanie completed her Bachelor of Applied Public Health at the Australian Catholic University; her love and dedication for Health and Human Development was born through her high school studies and her time here at HD Dance.

During this time, Stephanie also founded and led ACU’s first Public Health Student Association to which continues to raise funds to support many worthy causes. In 2016 she commenced a Bachelor of Speech Pathology at ACU, having a particular interest in the Paediatric field; all whilst continuing to teach at HD Dance, and in 2018 also becoming 3rd year representative at the Australian Speech Pathology meetings.
Stephanie is loving this line of study and we look forward celebrating with her on her graduation and becoming a Speech Pathologist in 2019.


"In 2013, I commenced a Bachelor of Applied Public Health at the Australian Catholic University. I began studying in this field due to my love for Health and Human Development in which I studied throughout high school. During this time, I founded and lead ACU’s first Public Health Student Association to which has continued to raise funds to support many worthy causes. In 2016, I graduated and began further study in a Bachelor of Speech Pathology at ACU. I have a particular interest in working in the Paediatric field. I am thoroughly enjoying this course and look forward to becoming a Speech Pathologist in 2019."

Sandra DiCesare

Office Manager

Sandra commenced her working career with a city based Accounting Firm while studying Accountancy part time at R.M.I.T. She remained with this same firm for eight years before moving on to manage a family owned business. 

In 2000 Sandra commenced her own bookkeeping service. It was at this time that she met Lorraine  Blackbourn (Miss B) of the Heidelberg & District Ballet School; a relationship spanning 17 years. During this time Sandra started her own family and is the proud mother of two wonderful boys who keep her very busy with their sport commitments.

“Miss B introduced me to her Dance world and I have loved every minute of my involvement with the HDBS: both on a professional and personal level. I look forward with excitement to the New Year ahead and feel honoured to be included as a part of the “HDDance Family”.

Anne Sunderland

Studio Office Coordinator

Registered Nurse; Bachelor of Arts (Hons); Cecchetti Advanced 1; Currently studying a Master of Theological Studies.


"When I brought my little girls to their first ballet lesson, I little imagined that long before too long I would be back at the barre myself. As a child I had certainly enjoyed my classes but as an adult I have gained a new appreciation of the magic of ballet and dance where, with the help of some music, the body and brain are challenged to become one.

As part of the HD Dance team I have the privilege of supporting our teachers, students and their families as they grow and achieve great things."

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