The Teachers


Claire van Niekerk


Claire obtained a degree in Speech and Drama, majoring in movement studies, from the University of KZN and has 30 years of dance, theatre and choreographic experience, ranging from musicals to corporate and industrial theatre. Claire also has a PGCE or Postgraduate Certificate in Education obtained through UNISA.

Trained in classical ballet, modern, jazz, contemporary, tap and Zulu traditional dance, she moved into a professional dance career at the age of 17 and this career spanned 18 years.

Claire worked with Jazzart and The North West Arts Council Dance Company and her freelance career took her to more than 15 different countries around the world where she performed in international festivals and on cruise lines as well as locally in various musicals and revues.

Claire choreographed and coached young adults in drama and performance technique at Matric level. She has also choreographed many professional shows and launches for brands for her own promotional Events and Entertainment Company, The Workzone.

Some musical theatre choreography credits include FANGS, for Tim Plewman and Bill Flynn, Laaities and Ladies for Steve Hofmeyr and the Hannah and Miley Show for Showtime Australia. Claire choreographed the 2010 pantomime Robinson Crusoe and the Caribbean Pirates, and Michael Jackson History - This Is It - at The Joburg Theatre.

Claire has been managing co-curricular ballet, modern and drama at St Mary’s for 10 years and is enjoying nurturing the talent and enthusiasm that the girls have for these art forms.

Willemien Jerling

AIDT Modern Associate, DM Dance Teacher

Willemien obtained a National Diploma in Musical Theatre cum laude from the Tshwane University of Technology in 2013 where she studied Jazz, Tap, Ballet, Drama and Vocal arts. She worked in children’s theatre for Hooked on Books, danced at Gold Reef City and performed at various corporate events and functions.

She then persued a teaching career and has completed her Intermediate Associate training in Modern dance through the A.I.D.T. She has recently become a qualified pole fitness instructor and attended multiple courses on flexibility strength training.

She has been teaching for almost 5 years and has found that there is nothing as rewarding as seeing the development of children and the joy that dance brings them. She is always eager to find new ways to help and encourage and inspire young minds and bodies and never wants to stop learning and growing as an instructor.

Lauren Slade

RAD Ballet Teacher

Lauren  started ballet at the age of 6, and was taught by Sandra Carstens, Jean Kifoil and Ethne Ferraris. She joined PACT Ballet in June 1997 and was promoted to Senior Corps de Ballet in April 2000. After the closure of the State Theatre, she was then part of the company that regrouped to perform the Beukes / Malan / MacDonald 'Nutcracker' in December 2000, and went on to become part of the newly formed South African Ballet Theatre.

Lauren has been the recipient of the Madge Cade Award on two separate occasions, with the most recent for La Bayadere.

As a member of the company's Artistic Team, she has assisted with the producing / staging of Romeo & Juliet, La Traviata, Swan Lake, Cinderella, Rock-a-Tutu, Giselle, Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Don Quixote, Les Sylphides, Carmen, Le Corsaire, Snow White, Big City Big Dreams, Raymonda,; Autumn Enchantment, Valentine Enchantment, Coppélia, the Tour to Oman and other shorter works for corporate events and festivals.

National Certificate in Dance m Pretoria Technicon, Pretoria

Public Relations & Business Communications  Damelin College, Johannesburg

Ballet Mistress  Joburg Ballet - South African Ballet Theatre, Johannesburg

Royal Ballet Teachers Certification The Royal Academy of Dance, Johannesburg

Soloist  The South African Ballet Theatre, Johannesburg

Senior Corps de Ballet  PACT Ballet, Pretoria

Julie Petersen

Ballet, Modern and Acrobatics Teacher

Julie was born and raised in Zimbabwe, started dancing at the age of 5 years and was trained in Ballet, Modern, Tap, Hip Hop and Acrobatics, went through all the grade examinations and was awarded the highest mark in Africa for her Advanced Modern (Honours with Distinction Plus). She was also awarded a bursary through the Association of International Dance Teachers to further her teaching career.

Julie is a registered Teaching Member with the Royal Academy of Dance, Association of International Dance Teachers, Theatre Dance Association and the Acrobatic Federation of South Africa and Acrobatic Arts.

She was awarded Western Province Colours and South African Colours as Dance Coach for the SA Talent Africa Team (2015) Western Province Colours and Dance Coach for the South African Championships of the Performing Arts (SACOPA) (2020)

Her professional dance experience included being a soloist for the National Ballet of Zimbabwe and we are delighted to have her on the 5678 Productions Team

Khanyisa Mangokwana

Drama Teacher

BA (Live Performance)

AFDA (School of Motion Picture Medium and Live Performance) 2015 -2017


Pula (Theatre) 2018 - Actor

Eulogy (Theatre) 2018 - Actor

24 Hours in the City 2018 (Theatre) – Actor

You Got Got (TV skit) 2018 - Actor
24 Hours in the City 2019 (Theatre) – Actor

TOMZ TV Presenter – SABC 1 (2021)

Keabetswe Sesing

Dance Mouse Teacher

Keabetswe completed the Performing Arts and Training course (NQL4) at Moving Into Dance, Mophatong.

After completing her studies, she joined St Mary's School in Waverley, Johannesburg, as a rhythmic gymnastics coach. Kea is also a qualified judge with the South African Gymnastics Federation.

She later continued her dance teacher training under the DMC (Dance Mouse Company) in 2022 where she is currently doing her IDTA ballet teachers diploma.

Meegan Solomons

Dance Mouse & Theatre Dance Teacher

Meegan studied at the Waterfront Theatre School in Cape Town and although she has had professional dance experience in many forms of dance including modern, showdance, tap, Latin American and Ballroom, Meegan has a passion for hip hop, jazz and tap.

Her love of dance comes from the many different teachers she has had the privilege of learning from.

Meegan teaches for a few franchises of Dance Mouse Company and is also the proud owner of her own franchise in Soweto and Lenasia.

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE: “Do it big, do it right, and do it with style.” — Fred Astaire

Kea Ciya

Hip Hop & Dance Mouse Teacher

Kea studied performing arts at UCT where she majored in Dance. 

Specifically African Dance, Ballet, Contemporary dance, Hip hop, Tap and Spanish Dance.

After graduating Kea started  working under the Western Cape Department of Education as a dance teacher where she taught  at 2 primary schools. During and after her studies, Kea performed in various theatre productions with Cape town City Ballet including:

– Firebird 

– Patrushka

– and Carmen to name a few.

She also worked as a freelance artist performing in various musicals, TV commercials, promotions,  the ICC World Cup opening, 2010 Afcon opening and closing ceremonies. 

Kea was also part of the TV dance show Dance Your Butt Off for season 1 and 2 where she was a runner up.  

Kea feels privileged to have worked with top SA choreographers such as Greg Maqoma, Alfred Hinkel and Somizi Mhlongo.


Rudi Ward

Hip Hop Teacher

Rudi Ward is a dancer & choreographer from Cape Town, South Africa but has travelled , performed, competed, choreographed and trained in 13 countries.

He has choreographed various performances and commercials for brands such as Huawei & Coca Cola as well as artists such as Jimmy Nevis and Dope Saint Jude.

In the competition industry Rudi has won many titles in different countries and in various categories within the Hip-Hop dance genre.

He has also won best choreography awards both locally and internationally.

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