Meet the team

sally1.jpg

Sally Carlson

Company Director

Born in Risca in the Gwent Valleys, Sally started dancing at the age of five and as a teenager was a member of Jumpers Youth Dance Company. She studied dance at the Laban Centre For Movement & Dance and theatre design at Central St Martins School of Art both in London. She was based in Berlin for five years where she worked as a theatre designer/ artist before returning to Wales to set up and run Carlson Dance Company with Co-Artistic Director Emma Carlson before the sisters set up Dance Blast in 1998 in partnership with the Borough Theatre, Abergavenny. Sally has worked in the arts for over thirty years and has wide experience across many disciplines. In 2011 she completed an  MA in Arts Management at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama. She has two grown up children.

kathy4.jpg

Kathy Young

DiverseAbility Dance Manager

Kathy is a tutor for Dance Blasts DanceAbility classes, as well as overseeing the entire DiverseAbility and Aerial programs. 

Full Biography coming soon!

emily3.jpg

Emily Pritchard

Lead Dance Teacher

Emily started dancing at the age of four at Geraldine

Harris’ School of Dance, in her home town of Abergavenny. Emily trained at the school in classical ballet and tap, taking several IDTA examinations and working as a teaching assistant with the younger pupils. Emily joined Monmouthshire Youth Dance Company with Emma Carlson in 2007 and has been with the company ever since. Emily has completed workshops and intensives with companies including Earthfall, National Dance Company Wales, National English Ballet, National Youth Dance Wales and was a member of the Beyond Repair Dance Associate Company. She graduated from University of Wales Institute Cardiff with a First Class BA (Hons) Dance degree in 2011. Emily has also worked as a dance teaching assistant for Rhondda Cynon Taff Community Arts and enjoys working with and teaching classes to a wide range of ages.

IMG_2549.JPG

Zoe Heelas

Administration Officer

Zoe began dancing with weekly Dance Blast classes when she was a teenager, before moving up into MYDC in 2009. It was in the Youth Company that Zoe really fell in love with dance, choreography and teaching; creating pieces for the Ignite Project in 2012 & 2013. Zoe went on to study Dance in higher education, achieving both a First Class BA(Hons) Undergraduate and a Masters degree in Dance Performance and Choreography from The University of Lincoln and The University of Bedfordshire respectively. Since returning to the area in 2018, Zoe has joined the team as a tutor for all strands of Dance Blast, including the DiverseAbility and Aerial programs. Most recently, Zoe has taken over as Administration Officer; overseeing Dance Blasts online presence and facilitating all online booking and correspondence. 

zoe1.jpg
IMG_6795.JPG

Fran Higginson
DanceAbility & Contemporary Dance Tutor

Fran is Dance Blasts Adults Contemporary Dance Tutor; as well as being a tutor for the DiverseAbility and Aerial Programs. Fran trained at Laban, and has worked in community dance and education ever since. She is passionate about how dance and aerial circus can impact on people's wellbeing and believes wholeheartedly in dancing because it makes you feel good in body and soul. Inclusive practice is central to her work and she has explored and developed this with Blue Eyed Soul, Candoco, Amici, Paradance UK, DanceXchange and most recently Iris training with StopGap Dance Company. Fran has been learning Welsh for the last five years and is very pleased to use Welsh in conversation and in the studio.

275326052_10159840061019116_8536956869218012274_n.jpeg

Hayley Feehan
Atomic Street Dance Tutor & Choreographer 

Hayley started dancing at the age of five learning tap, jazz and modern in Dot & Margaret Watts stage school and progressed onto Catherines School of Dance  in Cardiff. Hayley studied Ba (Hons) Degree in Dance at UWIC focusing on contemporary dance and choreography. Hayley  won the Dilys Price award for most improved student in dance. Hayley started teaching dance while at university, teaching street, jazz and tap classes in Cardiff these classes are still running at present. Since leaving university Hayley has been a freelance tutor working with a variety of community and educational organisations working with many different age groups and abilities. Teaching has always been a passion of Hayley's, seeing participants enjoy themselves while engaging, developing and improving their dance and performance skills.

kim1.jpg

Kim Noble
MYDC Tutor & Choreographer 

Kim is originally from Monmouth and attended Monmouth Comprehensive School. Kim later trained at Northern School for Contemporary Dance. Kim is an experienced dancer, choreographer and teacher and has been working in dance since 2008. Kim has many skills including: Circus skills- Static trapeze and aerial hoop/ dance/ harness and bungee work. Yoga- Ashtanga and Vinyasa Flow and ‘Swing Hop’. Most recently Kim has been creating and performing with Kitsch & Sync Collective.

Kim has lead MYDC since 2017 and has inspired many of the company to go on to study dance at university. 

Kaiya4.jpeg

Kaiya Thomas
Aerial Tutor

Kaiya started learning circus at the age of 8 with NoFit States youth circus and completed Circomedias BTEC course in 2020. She specialises in aerial and her favourite apparatus is silks although she does a mix of ground skills too, including partner acro, hula hoop, movement. Her past experiences include teaching, performing and volunteering with companies such as Circomedia, NoFit State, Circomotion and Up Side Down Circus. She has experience teaching all aerial disciplines, partner acro, conditioning and flexibility. Kaiya has always had a passion for circus and hopes to share her knowledge of circus with people around the globe.

Sammy1.jpg

Sammy Varley

DanceAbility Assistant

Sammy has been a member of Monmouthshire Connected Dance Company since it's creation in 2015, performing, creating and collaborating with a variety of choreographers. Sammy is one of Dance Blast's Dance Assistant, supporting Youth and Junior classes in Chepstow. Sammy also enjoys dancing in Dance Blast's Zumba and DanceAbility Adults classes. As well as completing previous training with Stopgap Dance Company, Sammy has most recently completed their 12 week Seedbed Inclusive Dance training program. 

Lauren1.jpg

Lauren Maloney

DanceAbility Assistant

Lauren started dancing at Dance Blast when she was 17 yrs old, attending classes such as DanceAbility Adults and Adults Aerial Dance. Lauren is a Dance Assistant for DanceAbility Youth and Juniors and has most recently undertaken a training course about Inclusive Dance with Stopgap Dance Company. Lauren is also a member of Monmouthshire Connected Dance Company, performing locally and collaborating with choreographers during Dance Blast's Ignite Project.

PHOTO-2022-03-13-22-27-08.jpg

Naomi Keevil
DanceAbility Assistant

Naomi grew up in West Wales and began dancing at the Jane Guy School of Dancing in Aberaeron. Her love of movement and performance lead her to study Theatre at Lancaster University. She went on to work as an actor, performer, puppeteer, and education specialist with many companies including Theatr Powys, LoudMouth, Impelo Dance and PuppetSoup. She regularily works as a freelance facilitator and workshop leader running sessions in schools and educational settings. 

Emma Carlson

Dance Blast Co-Founder

Emma was co-founder of Dance Blast and Artistic Director of Monmouthshire Youth Dance Company from its inception in September 2007 until March 2017.