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.

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

Kea Ciya

Hip Hop and 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.


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)

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