The Heart of Little Lights Dance
Founded in 2014, the heart of Little Lights Dance is to see children learn to dance in a creative, positive and joy-filled environment where they feel valued and inspired to express themselves through dance. Little Lights preschool classes provide children with the opportunity to explore a variety of dance styles through play, story telling, improvisation and the use of props that aim to inspire the creative dancer within each child.
Classes are held within the awesome facilities at Kidz Connexion located on the corner of Wakehurst Parkway and Dreadnought Rd Oxford Falls – entry is through C3 Church and then just follow the signs to Kidz Connexion. The facilities are absolutely first class…with the cafe serving up beautiful coffee for the mums and the play centre available at special reduced rates for siblings not participating in the dance classes, everyone is taken care of! For more info about Kidz Connexion please see their website
Sonja Ebsary – ARAD, B Ed (Primary) Sonja is married to Scott and is the mother of 2 beautiful children Anders and Lucy. She immersed herself in dance from the age of 3. Throughout her teenage years she performed in many classical ballet productions with the Sydney Festival Academy including: Cinderella, La fille mal Garde and The Nutcracker, which travelled around Australia and developed in her a love for classical ballet and performing. In 1999, Sonja was responsible for pioneering the dance program at Brigidine College St Ives which at that point was non-existent. Having completed all Royal Academy of Dance examinations with the Sydney Festival Ballet Academy and completing outstanding results in HSC Ballet accelerated in Year 11, Sonja went on to study ballet/dance at tertiary level at the Victorian College of Arts and the Australian College of Physical Education. Sonja has taught dance for many years and enjoys instilling creativity and beautiful technique in her students whilst exploring with them the joy and freedom that dance brings. In 2004 Sonja graduated with a Bachelor of Primary Education majoring in Special Education. She then went on to teach at Oxford Falls Grammar School before the birth of her two children. She looks forward to bringing her passion for dance, knowledge and skills as a teacher and love for children into her teaching.
Angelica Lainis – Adv. Dip. Contemporary Dance – Head Teacher and Administration Assistant
Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, Angelica has been dancing since she was three years old. Training in both the Cecchetti and R.A.D. syllabuses she partook in numerous eisteddfods, productions and examinations. ‘Performing for me was my favourite part of dance. I loved to step into a new costume and become a new character on stage. There is nothing quite like the anticipation when hiding behind the wings before stepping into the lights.’ In 2012, she moved to Sydney, where she furthered her dance studies at C3 College over the course of three years. ‘I have been teaching and choreographing for a few years now. I can honestly say there is no place quite like Little Lights Dance. Not only is it a beautiful dance space but there is something truly magical about what goes on behind the studio doors that you don’t get anywhere else. We truly foster a love of dance and performance without the pressures of examinations or unrealistic expectations for preschoolers. My favourite part is seeing each child’s face light up as they enter into the classroom each week with wander and awe of what is to unfold each lesson.’
Hannah Elmes – CERT IV in Theology Majoring in Contemporary Dance, Cert IV in Contemporary Dance. ARAD – Head Teacher & Assistant Teacher – Currently on maternity leave.
Hannah has been dancing since she was 3 and hasn’t stopped since. She has completed all her RAD ballet exams and also trained in Cecchetti. When Hannah was 15 years old she trained at Tanya Pearson’s Classical Coaching Academy, she has also trained in dance at C3 College and last year she completed her Certificate IV in Contemporary dance at Ev & Bow Full Time Dance Training Centre. Hannah has trained in and enjoys dancing many different styles of dance but ballet has always been her favourite. She enjoys teaching all ages but believes the love and joy you give and receive when teaching young children is beyond compare. Hannah wants to pass on the love, joy and passion she has for dancing to the children she gets the pleasure of teaching at Little Lights.
Skye McKenzie – Head Teacher and Adult Ballet teacher
Born with a love of ballet in her DNA, Skye first visited the Opera House to see the Australian Ballet perform at the tender age of 2. Soon after, she began ballet lessons at Chambers de Maria under the tuition of Barbara Chambers and Kathleen Geldard. These 2 women, both original principles of the Australian Ballet, had previously taught Skye’s mum and aunty (a professional ballet dancer).
Skye completed all of her RAD ballet exams and enjoyed performing, competing & placing in many eisteddfods. At 15 years old, Skye began dancing at Sydney Festival Ballet where she met Sonja and had the incredible opportunity of touring and performing in numerous classical ballet productions. Skye went on to teach young dancers the RAD syllabus and choreograph ballet solos for her students to perform in eisteddfods.
Skye feels extremely thankful to her own dedicated ballet teachers (and supportive family) who nurtured in her a love of classical music, performance and the art of storytelling through movement.
Graduating from a Bachelor of Design, Skye has had a successful career as an illustrator and textile designer. She is happiest with a paintbrush in her hand or ballet shoes on her feet! She lives by the beach with her husband Josh and two ballet obsessed girls, Lilou and Sylvie.
Skye is excited to share her love for ballet with the Lady Lights in Tights, whether reigniting an old passion, living out a childhood dream or simply enjoying dancing to beautiful music in a warm and engaging environment.
Sarah Jones – Assistant Ballet Teacher
Sarah has been dancing since the age of 3 at Ballet Academy Northside and later for many years at Dance North Academy. Sarah has reached Advanced 1 level in R.A.D. ballet. She has competed in numerous eisteddfods in ballet, lyrical, contemporary, hip hop and jazz and has reached national level. She has a love and passion for dancing and performing. She is currently Dance Captain of the extra curricular dance program and is in Year 12 at Oxford Falls Grammar School. She has represented the school in many eisteddfods for the last 7 years. Sarah is really excited about sharing her passion for dance and creating new memories with the dancers at Little Lights.
Arna Elmes – Head Teacher school age ballet and Lyrical Lights and Adult Ballet/Pilates/Lyrical teacher
Arna Elmes ADA(Dance). ARAD. Diploma of Professional Pilates Instruction. Progressing Ballet Technique Certificate
Born in Brissie, Arna moved to Sydney with her husband David and her four children 17 years ago. Dance is simply part of her makeup – “Apparently I was the child who was always dancing around”, but she didn’t start actual classes until the age of 7.
As a young child Arna studied Ballet and Tap dancing but as the years rolled by she added Flamenco, Contemporary, Jazz, Gymnastics, Musical Theatre, Singing, Stage Craft, Choreography, Lyrical, Aerobics (teaching), Progressing Ballet Technique, Acting and Pilates. Straight after High School Arna studied dance full-time at QUT in Brisbane and at that stage decided to concentrate on her Associate Diploma and so didn’t complete her Advanced RAD exams. So, many moons later, with a feeling of ‘unfinished business’ and a desire to not only overcome the age stigma but also as an encouragement to others, she finally sat her Advance 2 exam at the tender age of 42!! “Dance is a life-long fleshing out of who I am, restricted only by denial and accepting a false mindset”
Arna has been teaching and choreographing for decades. Her students/clients/company members range in age from 2 – 72+ She has been employed by local dance schools, Colleges (including as Faculty Head of Dance at C3 college), Theatre Companies (Choreographing, Dancing and Acting), Full Time Dance training Programs, Local Dance companies, Private Schools, Private Dance Businesses and Pilates Practices. She is equally enthralled with the delight and impact that dance and movement brings to the young and older alike. The power of movement, connection, expression, music and community is compelling. “Vive La Danse!”
Lisa White – Dip. Creative Arts in Christian Ministry Specialising in Contemporary Dance – Assistant Teacher
Lisa began dancing at the age of 15 and quickly fell in love with the art forms combination of creative expression and athleticism. Coming from a background in gymnastics, she began by studying curricular dance and joining school based eisteddfod groups. After completing HSC dance in 2014, Lisa decided to pursue further studies in dance by completing two years at C3 college. Lisa enjoys working with children of all ages and is currently studying a bachelor of arts/bachelor of education. She loves teaching young children because of the energy, curiosity, and excitement that they bring to class; and she delights in watching the magical moments that unfold when a child experiences something new.
Luciana Lopez – Assistant Teacher
Luciana’s love for dance started from the age of 4 at Ballet Academy Northside, where she continues to train in lyrical, contemporary, jazz and ballet. She has immersed herself in the dance world from a young age, entering and succeeding in several competitions and scholarships; including placing first at the Sydney Eisteddfod, qualifying for scholarship finals, being selected to perform in HSC Dance ‘Callback’ and being offered a position in the Rambert School in London. Through teaching younger dancers, Luciana aims to share the joy and creativity dance has given her so that children will not only have an unforgettable experience in class and onstage, but also cherish the magic of dance.
Sascha Macdonald – Assistant Teacher
Sascha has been dancing since the young age of 4, beginning with Irish dancing and ballet. She then began styles in Jazz, Modern/Lyrical and Contemporary at Dance North Academy, competing with their performance teams. In 2012 she moved to Evolution Performance Centre, dancing 15 hours plus per week. Sascha competed on a weekly basis, coming away with high results at majority of eisteddfods. She has competed at national levels, and has achieved national championships numerous times over the years. She also trained at Tanya Pearson’s Classical Coaching Academy for 3 years and completed her RAD exams up to Intermediate. She did an accelerated HSC dance course in 2017 and got into Callbacks. Sascha has taught and coached many younger children and loves to pass on her passion of dance. She aims to create loving relationships with all the kids, and help them have a fun and memorable experience as they explore the art of dance.
Grace Rowe – Assistant Jazz Teacher
Grace began dancing at age 3, and instantly fell in love with the beauty of ballet. She trained for many years in local dance schools, before attending a summer school workshop intensive at the Sydney Ballet School. Following this week of training, she was offered a part time position at the school, alongside seven other girls. In 2014 she accepted the offer, and began homeschooling. This experience not only taught her immense lessons in the realm of ballet, but also in life. Being pushed at such a high level, forced her to determine the meaning of hard work, dedication and commitment at a young age. During her time at the Sydney Ballet School, she also trained in contemporary. Completing her HSC in 2018, she received 96% in dance. She also loves choreography, and having fun with hip-hop and Jazz. Grace has always had a passion for dance, working with children, and for helping young girls to dream big, work hard, and always have fun.