Mrs Helen Holmes - Principal
Helen began her training at Dorinda School of Dance. At 16 she moved to SLP College , Leeds where she trained for two years before embarking on a 3 year course at London College Of Dance where she gained her Ba Hons Dance and her ISTD teaching qualifications . Two days after graduation , Helen flew to Paris to embark on a dance contract at Disneyland Paris. On returning from Paris, Helen fell straight into her first love , teaching . Working at several schools and colleges across Yorkshire including SLP College, Leeds and Lynton Academy, Harrogate . Helen also worked in several primary and secondary schools in various support roles including Cover supervisor and Sports Coach.
In 2003, Helen decided to start her dream of opening her own school. Elev8dance was born, with just 18 students and 3 classes! Throughout the last 15 years, the school has grown as did it’s reputation . Helen began an new career as a Lecturer of Dance at Leeds Beckett University, Gained further qualifications with the ISTD and IDTA and now holds the Licentiate teaching status. Helen also became a very proud mother to Rowan and Esther.
Miss Belynda Ray -
Studio Manager & Teaching Staff
Belynda began training at Scala Performing Arts and Stage 84 from a young age. Whilst training, she became a member of the Leeds Rhinos Dance team where she performed on match days and other promotional events.
Belynda also trained at top schools such as Northern School of Contemporary Dance.
After graduating from Stage 84 she began further training at SLP and Phil Winston’s Thetareworks. Belynda has attained a Diploma in Performing arts and Musical Theatre. Belynda has also trained with the IDTA for her teaching qualifications.
Belynda is a qualified Pointe shoe fitter and has fitted at top ballet conservatoires and companies in the country.
Belynda made her London Theatre debut at a young age. Other notable theatre credits include The Lion the Witch and The Wardrobe (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Opera Norths Peter Grimes (Leeds, London, Newcastle, Nottingham, Manchester.)
Television credits include Emmerdale, Waterloo Road, Steel River Blues, The Royal, The Quest, A touch of Frost and My Parents are Aliens.
Belynda also has a Diploma in business management.
Miss Nia Jackson - Teaching Staff
Nia trained in gymnastics from the ages of 5-13. In 2003 Nia joined Elev8 as a student in hopes of becoming more graceful with her floor and beam routines.
It became apparent that Nia had a love for dance and continued to train in Modern, Ballet, Tap, Street and Musical Theatre.
At the age of 17 Nia attained a BTEC National Diploma in Performing Arts and a teaching qualification with the IDTA. Along side her training, Nia started teaching classes at Elev8dance.
It was from here that she knew she wanted to be a teacher so went on to study at Liverpool John Moores University focusing on Teaching, Education and Choreography and gained a 1st class honours degree.
After graduating university Nia started teaching at Elev8, adding contemporary and Acrobatic Dance to her teaching experience and has now gained further teaching qualifications with the ISTD.
Nia says “I love elev8 and I love teaching. I hope to be teaching here until I am old and grey".
Mrs Jodie Hill-Pearson - Teaching Staff
Jodie has always had a passion for performing and especially acting from an early age. She studied theatre studies as well as Health and social care at Notre Dame College.
Alongside this, Jodie attended Stage 84 and Wyspa/Starlight Dance academy.
Whilst at stage 84, Jodie was involved in numerous shows performed at the prestigious Alhambra theatre and appeared in TV programmes such as BBC ‘Five Days’, ITV’s ‘The Royal’, ‘Waterloo Road’ and adverts.
Jodie gained her ISTD dance qualifications at Starlight Academy and her love for Modern in particular shone through when she got to the advanced stages.
Jodie also has qualifications in IDTA and completed her Teachers Freestyle exam at the same time as gaining her qualifications in Teaching ‘Zumba’ and ‘FitStep’
Jodie has 2 children, one of which attends Elev8 and Jodie can see her love for performing already.
Miss Lily Turk - Teaching staff
Lily began at Elev8 at 8 in 2003 when the school first opened, with a passion for dance and teaching her younger sibling routines, she knew she wanted to be a teacher in the future. Lily left Elev8 at 17 to attended Lynton Academy in Harrogate for two years before going onto Preston Dance College at 19. Lily attained her BTEC qualification in Harrogate and gained a Degree in dance teaching along with her teaching qualifications. After finishing her training In Preston, Lily returned back to teach at Elev8 where she started her dance journey.
Lily has performed in London at the Royal Albert Hall, danced in Disney Land Paris, performed in choreography for the British Red Cross, participated in local competitions and performed on the BBC performance of Frankenstein.
Lily is passionate about choreography and creating dances for the students of Elev8 which they perform at local dance events and competitions.
Yasemin Kayalar - Student Teacher
Yasemin started dancing when she was 2 years old in a half hour baby ballet class. Her love of dancing quickly grew to the point where she was dancing 3 days a week at the age of 12. After starting at Elev8dance as a student in 2013 and joining the competition Elex team and first Modern Scholars class, her passion for dance grew even further to dancing every single day. At 14 she began student teaching on a Saturday and at 16 gained her own class. She is now studying dance full-time and is hoping to continue her training over the next few years. Yasemin is also qualified in Level 2 Exercise to Music and is studying for her IDTA teaching qualification. Her various performances include Her Majesty’s Theatre, Royal Albert Hall, Dance On! Yorkshire, That’s Showbiz and Harrogate Theatre Pantomime ‘17-‘18.
Ceri Bullock - Student Teacher
Ceri began her training at Elev8dance in 2014. During this time Ceri performed in top theatres such as The Royal Albert Hall, Blackpool Winter Gardens and The City Varieties in Leeds.
Ceri achieved many awards during her time at Elev8. Her biggest achievements were passing her ISTD Inter Modern exam, IDTA Inter Ballet exam and receiving an Adjudicators choice award.
It became apparent that ceri was destined for a life in the performing arts industry.
In 2019 Ceri gained a place at Renaissance arts on a vocational 3 year dance course.
When Ceri graduates she will receive a Level 3 B-Tech and a level 4 teaching qualification with the ISTD.
Becky Marshall - Student Teacher
Becky trained at Elev8dance for 11 Years. During this time she took part in dance festivals and performed at many prestigious theatres such as the Royal Albert hall, Her majesty’s Theatre, Blackpool Winter Gardens and Disney Land Paris.
In 2017 becky was offered a place at Renaissance Arts where she would train full time on a 3 year vocational dance course. She is due to graduate from Renaissance Arts in 2020 with an IDTA Level 4 Diploma in Dance teaching, Anatomy and Physiology.
Becky has had the chance to work with many amazing teachers, including West End stars.
Becky cannot wait to start auditioning for her dream jobs in the performing arts industry!
Nichola is our Lead Administrator. Although she has no formal dance or vocal training she knows all the moves to YMCA and can hold a tune on the karaoke!
She has over 30 years experience as a PA, secretary and administrator having worked for a professional sporting governing body, the local authority, in the legal sector and the NHS. She also has experience working as a volunteer in the community including school governance.
Nichola works alongside our Studio Manager to ensure the smooth running of Elev8.
Economics and Business Management degree
NVQ 4 in Business Administration
17 years in CAMHS in senior administration role
Former school governor with special responsibility for SEND and Child Protection
Dance mum since 2003! Chaperoned shows and dance comps since 2005