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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 andthere 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, modelling, 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 training 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.

 Sarah Engelbrecht: 

  • B- Tech Dance (Cum-Laude) 2009
  • Completed Checcetti Ballet examinations Primary- Intermediate
  • Completed Royal Academy of Dance major examinations Intermediate- Advanced 2
  • Attended teachers course with Royal Academy of Dance examiner and tutor (2012)
  • Attended Control conditioning course: Pilates with Debra and Andrew Gush
  • Completed Spanish Dance society examinations Grade 1- Intermediate

Sarah Engelbrecht teaches theory in our morning academy and junior ballet in our afternoon academy.

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.

Andrew Clive Denison Gush

Baccalaureus Technologiae – Dance (Teaching) Cum Laude


  • PACT Ballet
  • PACT Dance
  • STDC Dance
  • Freeflight Dance Company
  • Moving Into Dance Mophatong
  • Cape Dance Company


•       Moving into dance Mophatong Teacher Training Course – Anatomy & Physiology (Developed Anatomy curriculum specifically for this course)

•       Tshwane University of Technology – Body Conditioning, Personal Training, Anatomy, Communication Dynamics & Independent study supervisor (Developed Anatomy curriculum specifically for this course)

•       Oakfields College/SAPAC - Body Conditioning, Personal Training, Anatomy, Research methods (Developed Anatomy and Research methods curriculum specifically for this course)

•       Freelance personal trainer/Fitness & Nutritional program designer

Carol de Wet

•       Qualified SADTA teacher in modern ballet and Hip-hop

•       S.A.D.T.A  associate member 

  • Pre-primary to associate – modern
  • Junior to level 6 - hip hop)

•       Completed R.A.D – Intermediate exam


•       Open challenge – S.A.D.T.A

•       Stars of tomorrow

•       Eldoraigne hoërskool - kunswedstryd

•       Uitsig hoërskool - kunswedstryd

•       Owner of Carol de Wet Dans Skool

Choreography - productions and musicals:

•       Grease – Johan Swanepoel,

•       Best end of Broadway – Johan Swanepoel

•       Footlose  – Eldoraigne hoërskool

 Southdowns Junior & Senior Dance Academy - afternoon centre:

Southdowns College has the perfect facilities to train dance. We 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, Pilates/body conditioning and modern SADTA exam work - 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 are only offered to Southdowns scholars with practical dance and theory classes. The practical lessons will consist of ballet, contemporary and Jazz class alternating with anatomy, dance history and music studies theory lessons.

In addition to the choice practical hours, all the students may also join the enrichment dance classes. The enrichment lessons will alternate with ballet, contemporary/jazz, modern, Spanish and body conditioning each week. This allows the dancers to train and develop different dance styles whilst developing versatility. Qualified ballet and modern teachers will train the practical 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.

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.


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.
  • 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.


Amelia van Ryneveld Debra Gush

083 610-0400


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