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Southdowns Dance Academy

Southdowns Dance Academy Mission 

To develop and produce technically sound and well trained dancers that will have the opportunity to study dance at both secondary and tertiary level, and in turn to give the students the opportunity to follow a professional dance career both nationally or internationally.

 When studying further on a tertiary level this will enable the students to train dance as a teacher in ballet, contemporary, pilates, study music theatre, theatre management, choreography, choreology, and many more. Students wanting to further their studies in dance after grade 12 will be advised where to continue their future dance studies that will be recognized internationally.

 Southdowns Dance Academy Vision

A ballet trained dancer will always excel at alternate dance forms. Nothing has ever taken the place of ballet for disciplinary training and there is no technique in any other style of dancing that is so valuable for producing exactitude, precision, a sense of form and a sense of line. Even though the small child at a dancing class may never become a professional dancer or teacher, the courtesies and disciplines, postural development, brain development, musicality, confidence, and joy in movement, will touch their lives forever.

Ballet trained students have had opportunities nationally, and internationally, in acting for television or movies, modeling, being presenters on television, managing performing arts companies, production and co-ordination of large events such as Miss SA, Miss World, dancing at world cup opening events due to their dance knowledge and training. Many dancers have graduated as doctors, accountants, attorneys and decided to start teaching dance at a later stage.

 The above will be achieved through the training and direction of the following staff:

 Amelia van Ryneveld:

  • Matriculated as head girl at Pro Arte with Dance as a subject
  • Royal Academy of Dance: PP – Advanced 2
  • SADTA: all grade levels
  • ISTD: all grade levels
  • NSDTA: completed
  • Royal Academy of Dance: Teachers Certificate & Diploma (psychology & child learning)
  • Head of AvR & MP Academy of ballet, Junior & Major Academy (1996-2006)
  • 1st & 2nd year Vaganova theory – Eastside College
  • Co-ordinator of the Eisteddfod of the Performing Arts

 Amelia van Ryneveld heads our junior academy as well as train in the morning and afternoon senior dance academy.

 Debra Gush:

  • Baccalareus Technologiae Degree: Dance Teaching (Technikon Pretoria 1999)
  • Royal Academy of Dance: Teachers Certificate
  • Royal Academy of Dance: PP- Advanced 2
  • International Dance Teachers Association: Advanced
  • Pilates Conditioning Certificate: Australian methodology
  • Body Conditioning: Practical application for all ages
  • Professional dancer: NAPAC (4 years) & corporate dancer (4 years)
  • Lecturer & co-ordinator for Dance & Music Theatre at Tshwane University

 Debra Gush teaches our senior morning and afternoon academy in senior ballet, contemporary dance and Pilates.

 Chanel Gomes:

  • Baccalaureus Technologiae: Dance Teaching (2006 TUT – Cum Laude)
  • Registered Teacher: Royal Academy of Dance (Distinction – 2006)
  • Completed the DanceCor Associate Examination (2005)
  • Attended the Horton methodology course arranged by Debbie Turner (Western Cape Dance Teachers Association – 2010)
  • Taught  at the National School of the Arts (NSA) – [2005 – mid 2007] – Anatomy, History, Music, Ballet, Dance Theory
  • Ran the Dance Studio at Crawford Preparatory Pretoria (mid 2007 – 2009)
  • Was employed as Junior Lecturer at the Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) – [2008 – 2011]
  • Currently teaching part-time for the South African Performing Arts Conservatory (SAPAC / Oakfields) – Ballet, Jazz,Dance Teaching, Contemporary, Pas de Deux, Stage work
  • Completed both the Pilates and Body Conditioning courses through Top Condition SA (Debra and Andrew Gush) (2002 and 2007)
  • Completed Body Conditioning for Dancers with Pat Gush (2010 – 2011)

 Chanel Gomes teaches dance history.

 Carli Spies

  • Completed final ( Grade 8) UNISA exam in practical piano with distinction in 1998          
  • Worked as an accompanist in contemporary studies at Die Gräfelfing Hochschule für Musik 1999
  • Enrolled for BA.Mus through UNISA- finished with a UTLM Diploma   Worked as an accompanist / and junior lecturer at the Department of Performing Arts, Dance and Musical Theatre,   
  • Tswane University of Technology 2003-2011
  • Member of the SASMT
  • Worked as an accompanist for the South-African Ballet Theatre and the South African Ballet School 2002-2004
  • Composed the soundtrack for a mainstream Afrikaans film- Johan Heyns 2008

 Carli Spies teaches music.

 Larian Botha:

  • BA(MBK) Human Movements Science. 4 years - University of Pretoria.
  •  Majors: Anatomy, Physiology, Bio-mechanics, Biokinetics, Sport Science, English, Biblical Studies, Education.
  • Specialization: athletics, netball, ballet (Paula Olivier), gymnastics, rhythmic gymnastics and swimming up to 3rd year level.

 Larian Botha teaches anatomy.

 Southdowns Junior & Senior Dance Academy - afternoon centre:

Southdowns College has the perfect facilities to train dance. We now offer primary school students the opportunity to receive tuition at the Southdowns Junior Dance Academy and high school students have the opportunity to train at the Southdowns Senior Dance Academy - in the RAD ballet training method, open classes, contemporary dance and pilates - as well as participation in a dance Eisteddfod, pre-exam courses, examinations, shows and bursary competitions.

All the afternoon centre classes for the senior and junior academy may be attended by students from Southdowns Pre-preparatory, Preparatory and College, as well as students from other schools.

 Southdowns Senior Dance Academy - morning centre:

Southdowns Senior Dance Academy morning centre will consist of classes during school hours. The classes will consist of only Southdowns scholars with four practical dance lessons and three theory classes per two week cycle. The practical lessons will consist of three ballet classes (1x with a pianist) and one contemporary class alternating with pilates for grades 10, 11 &12. The grade 7, 8, & 9 will have one ballet and one contemporary with two theory classes in a two week cycle.

 In addition to the choice practical hours, all the students may also join the enrichment dance classes four times per two week cycle. The enrichment lessons will alternate with ballet, contemporary/jazz, modern, hip-hop and pilates each week. This allows the dancers to train and develop different dance styles whilst developing versatility. Qualified ballet teachers will train the practical ballet work and guest teachers will be invited for the alternate classes during the year. We would like to inspire the enrichment students by inviting choreographers and professional dancers to perform and motivate them during the year.

 The theory consists of: anatomy, music and dance history - qualified lecturers will teach the appropriate subjects to the students.

UNIFORM - All senior mornings dance classes (grade 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, &12)

Your child needs the following uniform for her classes and all of it can be purchased at Danceworx – Doringkloof centre

Tel: 012 667-5806) – except the school leotard needs to be purchased at the school uniform shop.


Ballet: Black school dance leotard (with the school logo), pink tights, canvas soft shoes and point shoes. Please come and show us your new point shoes before you sew the ribbons on, so that we can check the fit. Enrichment students will be allowed to wear a plain black leotard but all the choice ballet students must purchase the school leotard.

Contemporary/Jazz, Modern & Pilates: Leotard with black footless tights or unitard.

Hip-Hop: Black leotard (with the school logo) with tights, t-shirt, school quantec shorts and any trainers.


Here are just a few rules we would like to bring to everyone’s attention:

  • Silence in the foyer at all times.
  • Students must attend class in full uniform with hair done in a bun. Tidiness and discipline is part of the dance experience. Students will have one month to purchase their dance uniform.
  • Students will have 10 minutes to get to our dance facilities at the SAX building and to change into their correct uniform. The studio doors close after 10 minutes. It is very disruptive to the class and the punctual students, if we allow late arrivals. Register will be kept and communicated to the school authorities regarding late arrivals and incorrect uniform – please communicate these rules to your children.
  • Parents are welcome to contact us from Tuesday to Friday between 9h00 and 12h00 in the morning. Please do not contact us at any other time unless it is very urgent. You are most welcome to email us at any stage – find the contact information below.
  • Any, and all, complaints and queries regarding dance must be directed to Amelia. We will only be able to give your child our best if you communicate with us directly. Your support regarding this matter is greatly appreciated.
  • Let us not allow negative competition to become a part of this beautiful art form! There will always be competition, so let’s support each other's victories and strive to achieve our best in all we do.

 Amelia van Ryneveld & Debra Gush

083 610-0400


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