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Teaching Faculty

Samantha Grant DVDANCE_Headshot_02.jpg

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  DVDANCE_Headshot_03.jpg

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 Licentiate (Cert IV in Dance Teaching & Management) with Cecchetti Ballet Australia as well as Cert IV in Dance and Performance. Emma also holds a Cert III in Children's Services and a Level 2 First Aid Certificate with Anaphylactic Management.


"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."

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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.

Outside of dance, Eloise holds a Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary)/Bachelor of Arts as well as a Diploma of Professional Pilates Instruction (Clinical) and works at a number of Pilates studios around Melbourne incorporating her dance and movement background into a range of Pilates styles catering to all bodies, including those with injuries and pre/post-natal women. 

Alongside this, she also holds her level 2 first aid certificate. 

“To me, dance is not about being the best in the class – it’s about finding new ways to express and connect with music, art & movement. Dance has been my happy place for over 20 years and I aim to instill the love of dance into every dancer I teach.”

Tess  Wright DVDANCE_Headshot_01.jpg

Tess Wright  - Lead Teacher and Creative Director

A. (Dip) C.B.A - C.I.C.B, Certificate IV in Dance Teaching and Management


Classically trained, Tess is a Melbourne based Cecchetti Ballet teacher. With over 13 years of teaching Tess has taught at dance schools across Sydney and Melbourne. Most recently, Tess has returned to teaching at DVDance where she initially trained in the Cecchetti method under the guidance of Samantha Grant. Tess is experienced teaching students of all ages and abilities and enjoys sharing experiences with her students on and off the stage. 

Tess’ dance journey began when she was 5 years old training in the styles of ballet and jazz. Her love of dance continued to evolve undertaking classes in tap, contemporary and hip hop. 

In addition to dance, Tess has completed an Honours degree in Biomedical Science at the University of Melbourne.


Shannan Owen - Lead Teacher


Shannan started dancing in 1997 completing numerous examinations under Southern Federation of Dance and Dance 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 Graduate Diploma in 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.”   

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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

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Julia Chiocci - Dance Educator


Julia has been a member of DVDance for the past 19 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 graduated at the end of 2020 with a double degree in a Bachelor of Nursing and a Bachelor of Business Administration. When she’s not at the studio she is most likely working as a Registered Nurse with Eastern Health. 

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

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Chloe Barter - Dance Educator


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.

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Sheridyn Sandford - Dance Educator


Sheridyn has been part of our DVDance community since 2006, and after working as an Assistant Teacher for many years she joined the Junior Teaching Faculty in 2018. Sheridyn thoroughly enjoys teaching a large array of DVDance students, from our tiniest Little Stars right up to our awesome Tappers at our Rubies and Diamonds level. She feels extremely privileged to be able to nurture and encourage each student no matter where they are on their DVDance journey.

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. She is currently furthering her ballet education through her ongoing Cecchetti Advanced 2 studies. 

Outside of DVDance Sheridyn is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Politics and History, at ACU.

Olivia Andrit DVDANCE_Headshot_06.jpg

Olivia Andrit - Dance Educator


Olivia’s DVDance journey began at the age of 6 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 the DVDance Team officially in 2019. 

Olivia has completed many dance examinations including her Cecchetti Major exams of Intermediate and Advanced 1 Ballet, and looks forward to continuing her ballet studies with her work in Cecchetti Advanced 2. She has also undertaken numerous Jazz, Tap (Gold Medal) and Contemporary ATOD exams, attaining high marks. 

In 2019, Olivia completed her Cert II in Dance (VCE VET) under the guidance of Samantha Grant and is currently studying a Bachelor of Business majoring in Marketing at RMIT. She also holds current first aid qualifications. Olivia loves teaching all styles of dance and is proud to be able to share her passion for dance with the DVDance community.


John Wickham - Dance Educator


John has been a dancer for 15 years, participating in many hip hop competitions, showcases and masterclasses throughout his career. He has studied dance through the full time course at Jason Coleman's Ministry of Dance, compeleting his certificates in Dance and Dance Teaching and Management in 2017.

John joined the DVDance family in 2018 teaching hip hop and breakdancing. He hopes to forge a passion and love for the art whilst he teaches, that stays with them for years to come.

Chloe Kerr DVDANCE_Headshot_09.jpg

Chloe Kerr - Dance Educator


Chloe joined DVDance in 2008 where since then she has participated in ballet, jazz and contemporary classes, completing multiple ballet and contemporary exams. 

In 2017 Chloe joined our DanceStep program, being one of the early students to join, learning the foundations of teaching and assisting in class, in 2021 Chloe began teaching.


Chloe is currently working towards her Advanced One studies through Cecchetti. 

Outside of dance, Chloe has completed her Diploma in Early Childhood Education and Care and is currently studying her Bachelor in Primary Education. Chloe also holds current, up to date first aid and CPR qualifications. 

“I love being a part of DVDance and am passionate about teaching and inspiring young children to find the same love for dance as I do” 

Lara Boyd DVDANCE_Headshot_10.jpg

Lara Boyd - Dance Educator


Lara has been a part of the DVDance community since 2005 and is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne University (Language and Linguistics). Lara has successfully completed exams in Jazz, Tap, Hip-hop, Contemporary and most recently her Cecchetti Advanced 1 Ballet examination with Distinction. Lara has also completed her Cert II in Dance (VCE VET) in 2018.

In 2020, Lara became Acrobatic Arts certified, she is also a former competitive gymnast and competed for 11 years. Lara has been a central member of the acrobatics program since 2016 and progressed to a teaching role in 2020. Lara holds current first aid qualifications.

Lara loves sharing the joy of all genres of dance with the diverse members within the DVDance community.

Penelope Sholakis DVDANCE_Headshot_05.jpg

Penelope Sholakis - Dance Educator


Pene joined the DVDance community in 2009. Pene has learnt Ballet, Jazz, Tap and Contemporary and successfully completed multiple exams throughout these genres.  

Pene has completed her Cert II in Dance (VCE VET) in 2019. Also completing her VCE Studies in 2020. Pene then went on to study a Diploma of Interior Design at Swinburne University graduating in 2022. 

In 2017 Pene joined the DanceStep program as an original member and has assisted in multiple genres, predominantly Little Stars. Pene joined the teaching faculty in 2021 and she loves teaching her Sapphires and seeing them grow into beautiful dancers.

Melissa Spiropoulos - Dance Educator/Trainer


Melissa has been a part of the DVDance community since the doors opened in 2004 - where she completed 15 years of dance, participating in Ballet, Contemporary, Jazz & Tap. Melissa has successfully completed ATOD Contemporary exams in the highest degree, achieving Honours with Distinctions.

Finding a passion for Fitness through her journey with dance, Melissa has attained Certificates 3 & 4 in Fitness with the AIPT in 2015, shortly after completing a Business Diploma at LaTrobe University in 2014 which lead her to open her very own Personal Training studio in 2015. Further along, Melissa completed a Barre Fitness certificate with Barre Body in 2020, where she gained her knowledge and skills to be the Barre Fitness Instructor at DVDance today. 

Melissa thoroughly enjoys utilising her education and expertise to help others in all ways of health and fitness



“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.


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