Teaching Faculty

Samantha Grant - Director

L.C.B.A – C.I.C.B (Licentiate)


As the Principal of the Diamond Valley Dance Academy, Samantha Grant has had an extensive background in dance. Samantha studied with Lorraine Blackbourn OAM (F.C.B.A) for over 20 years, obtaining all Major Cecchetti examinations, including Advanced 1 & 2 with Distinctions.  


Samantha began her teaching qualifications under the guidance of Miss Blackbourn and has attained her Associate, Associate Diploma and Licentiate Status. Samantha has a Certificate in Applied Anatomy & Physiology, Cert IV in Dance Teaching & Management, Cert IV in Training & Assessment, a Level 2 First Aid Certificate and is a member of the Victorian Sub-Committee for the Cecchetti Ballet Australia (Victoria). Samantha is also an Affiliate Member with ATOD. Before starting the school in 2004, Samantha was a qualified Law Clerk obtaining her Adv Dip (Legal Practice).


Miss Sam loves teaching our little Tiny Tots all the way through to our Advanced level students. A big part of her role as Principal is to mentor our younger teachers and guide them through their qualification process. Teacher training and VCE/VET dance is one of Sam’s favourite areas of teaching dance.


"To touch, to move, to inspire - this is the true gift of dance. I look forward to welcoming you to Diamond Valley Dance Academy and sharing my love of dance with you."


Emma Lanza-Craig - Studio Manager

L.C.B.A – C.I.C.B (Licentiate)


Having started ballet from the age of 4, Emma knew that dance was going to be a life long passion. Emma has completed many examinations and competitions in both ballet and jazz with various methods, and danced full time at Dance Factory in 2007. Emma starting working at Diamond valley dance academy in 2007, and under the guidance of Samantha Grant ,Emma was immersed in the Cecchetti Method. Emma has successfully completed all Major exams including Advanced 2 with distinction. Emma holds her Associate Diploma  (Cert IV in Dance Teaching & Management) with Cecchetti Ballet Australia as well as Cert IV in Dance and Performance. Emma also works as a child care worker and holds her Cert III in Children's Services.  Emma is holds a Level 2 First Aid certificate and is Anaphylactic Management trained.


"I'm so very lucky and honoured to be able to teach at DvDance and it has been a privilege to watch the studio grow and continue to grow over the years. I hope that I can pass on the passion and joy I experience when dancing to every student I teach, and that they leave every class feeling a little bit more inspired and confident."


Eloise Lambert - Operations Manager

A.C.B.A-C.I.C.B (Associate)


Eloise began her ballet training under the Southern Federation of Dance method at age 4, before moving under the guidance of Samantha Grant and the Cecchetti Ballet method.

Eloise completed her Intermediate & Advanced One exams before progressing her teacher training and completing her Associate qualification with Cecchetti. 

She has also successfully completed several Jazz & Contemporary exams with the ATOD, achieving high marks. 


Outside of dance, Eloise holds a Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary) and a Bachelor of Arts and now works in a training and development role a corporate setting.

Eloise has recently become an accredited Pilates instructor with Studio Pilates International, holding Anatomy and Matworks qualifications - in line with this, she also holds a current Level 2 First Aid qualification.  


“To me, dance is not about being the best in the class – it’s about finding new ways to express and connect with music and art.

Dance has been my happy place for over 20 years and I aim to instil the love of dance into every dancer I teach.”


Shannan Owen - Lead Teacher


Shannan started dancing in 1997 completing numerous examinations under Southern Federation of Dance and Dace Factory. Shannan commenced at Dvdance in 2006 where she has since completed Cecchetti examinations in Intermediate, Advanced 1 and Advanced 2 examinations with Distinctions. Shannan has continued completing Australian Teachers of Dancing examinations receiving Honours with Distinction. Shannan holds an Advanced Diploma in Community Services Management and Human Resource.  

Working alongside such an inspiring team at Dvdance, Shannan’s teaching skills extends through a variety of genres and engaged opportunities to facilitate the love of dance for children of all ages. 

“The opportunity to inspire people through dance and self-expression means so much. I am so grateful to have such a strong sense of community and belonging here at Dvdance that encourages the same passion.”   


Bernadette Meehan - Customer Experience Manager 


As our resident “Nana B”, Bernie looks after everyone and knows everything! She has been part of the DVDance family since the very start of time (fun fact - she is actually Sam’s mum, so she is the original Dance Mum!) and is an integral part of our DVDance Team. Anything you need to know, any questions you have, costume requirements, confirmation of times, info, events, or anything else you can possibly think of, Bernie is there for a chat and to help you. 


Our front desk would not be the same without her!

Dance Educators


Julia Chiocci 


Julia has been a member of DVDance for 16 years and has successfully passed her Cecchetti Intermediate Ballet and ATOD Gold Medal Jazz exams.


Julia enjoys teaching all genres of dance, particularly for our younger students and has been an integral part of our acrobatics program, becoming Acrobatic Arts certified since 2020. 


Outside of DVDance, Julia works and volunteers in the disability / mental health support field and will be commencing her graduate nursing program with Eastern Health after graduating from ACU with a double-degree in a Bachelor of Nursing / Bachelor of Business Administration in 2020.


Julia knows she will always be a part of the DVDance family no matter where her journey takes her!


Chloe Barter


Chloe has been apart of the DVDance community since 2005 and is currently studying a Bachelor of Commerce and Law at Deakin University. Chloe loves teaching Hip Hop to students of all ages, ranging from our sapphires to our amazing adults! Chloe has successfully completed her Cecchetti Intermediate Ballet, ATOD Level 4 Contemporary and ATOD Level 8 Hip Hop exams with Distinctions. Further, in 2017 Chloe was our first VCE VET Dance student to successfully complete Units 1-4 in our VCE VET Dance program and now has a Cert ll in Dance.


Sheridyn Sandford


Sheridyn has been part of our DVDance community for 15 years, and after working as an Assistant Teacher for many years she joined the Junior Teaching Faculty in 2018. Sheridyn thoroughly enjoys teaching Ballet, Jazz and Tap, and adores sharing the joy of dance with our youngest students through her work with the Little Stars cohort. Sheridyn has successfully completed her Cecchetti Advanced 1 Ballet, ATOD Level 6 Contemporary, ATOD Gold Star Tap and ATOD Gold Medal Jazz examinations, as well as completing her Cert II in Dance (VCE VET) in 2018. Sheridyn is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Politics and International Relations, at ACU.


Olivia Andrit


Olivia began dancing at DVDance in 2009 participating in many styles ranging from Ballet, Jazz, Tap and Contemporary. She was one of the original DanceStep Student Teachers beginning in 2017 and joined DVDance Team officially in 2019. Olivia has completed many dance exams including her Cecchetti Intermediate Ballet, Gold Medal Tap and Silver Medal Jazz exams. 


In 2019, Olivia completed her Cert II in Dance (VCE VET) under the guidance of Samantha Grant and in 2020 completed her VCE Studies. Olivia loves teaching all styles and and is particularly passionate about teaching ballet. Olivia loves dance and loves being able to share her passion with the DVDance community. 


John Wickham


John has been bringing the “flava” to our Hip Hop students since 2018 and we love having him in our DVDance Community. John heads up our Rubies and Diamonds Hip Hop programs and also teaches our Boys Breaking classes - which are very noisy, but super fun! John has a Cert IV Dance Teaching & Management and a Cert IV Workplace Training & Assessment and has been a choregrapher and crew member for many years.

Lara Boyd


Lara has danced with DVDance for just over 15 years and has studied and completed exams in all styles offered at DVDance including Cecchetti Intermediate Ballet, Level 4 Contemporary, Level 8 Hip Hop and Gold Medal Jazz, as well as VCE VET Dance in 2018. Lara is a former competitive gymnast and also a certified Acrobatic Arts teacher. Lara commenced study in 2020 at Melbourne Uni studying a BA focused on Chinese and linguistics

Hayley Sims


Hayley began dancing at Diamond Valley Dance Academy as a student in 2004 and started teaching our Song and Dance classes in 2012. Her experience in teaching spans over 10 years ranging from individual vocal lessons, song and dance classes and as a classroom teacher. Hayley loves sharing her passion of music and dance with all of her students. Hayley holds a Bachelor of Education (Primary) and currently teaches Grade 1 students, when not teaching our song and dance students!



“DanceStep empowers students to take care of others and guides them to be leaders and role models….Whether students are considering a career in dance teaching or otherwise, the DanceStep program is a great preparation for many aspects of life.” Jane Grech, Founder DanceStep

Diamond Valley Dance Academy is proud to be an Affiliate Member of DanceStep in 2021.