This term we have a fantastic line-up of teachers working with the dancers!
Damien Johnson—Guest teacher (ballet)
Damien was born in Dallas, Texas and received his training from Etgen-Atkinson School of Ballet and the Booker T. Washington School of the Arts. He then studied on a full scholarship at the School of American Ballet. In 2002, Damien joined the American Repertory Ballet and then the Dance Theater of Harlem Ensemble in 2003. He first joined Ballet Black in 2005 before moving to Los Angeles Ballet in 2008. Damien returned to Ballet Black in 2009. As the longest serving member of Ballet Black, Damien has been featured in many Company works by choreographers that include Irek Mukhamedov, Liam Scarlett, Richard Alston and Javier de Frutos, and created the title role of Orpheusin Will Tuckett’s 2011 production for Ballet Black. He created the roles of The Lover in Christopher Hampson’s Storyville (2012), The Soldier in Christopher Marney’s War Letters in 2013, Oberon in Arthur Pita’s Ballet Black production of A Dream Within a Midsummer Night’s Dream (2014) and The Ruler in Second Coming (Mark Bruce in 2015). Damien is also a sought-after teacher and is Ballet Master for the Ballet Black Company and Associate Programme.
Heather Benson—Horton Technique
Heather trained with Norma’s Academy of Dance, The Atlanta Ballet Centre of Dance, Total Dance and Dancical Productions. She received a B.F.A. in Dance from The Florida State University and went on to become a professional dancer for a multitude of companies: Dallas Black Dance Theatre II, Urban Bush Women and Philadanco! (The Philadelphia Dance Company). In 2013, Heather was an original cast member of The Apollo Theater’s (NYC) James Brown: Get on the Good Foot and now resides in London. Heather continues to teach Horton Technique weekly at Danceworks and serves as a resident instructor for Artistry Youth Dance and Transform! Dance and a guest tutor for the WAC Arts Diploma Programme. Heather’s class brings excitement and dynamic musicality to the Horton technique!
Originally from Ugie, South Africa, Mbulelo Ndabeni is a London-based dancer, choreographer, movement director, teacher, founder and director of Mbulelo Ndabeni | N'da dance. One Dance UK/DAD Trailblazer 2015-2016, One Dance UK mentoring Programme 2015-2016, Phoenix Dance Theatre's Choreographers and Composer's Lab 2015 and recipient of Dancer's Career Development fund.
Mbulelo trained in Dance For All, Khayelitsha in Cape Town, London Studio Centre, San Francisco Academy of Ballet and Kaatsbaan, New York.
Mbulelo Ndabeni has performed with companies such as Rambert, 'Henri Oguike, Merce Cunningham, Itzik Galili, Mark Baldwin and Christopher Bruce', Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake, Cape Town City Ballet 'Veronica Peaper, Sean Bovim and Rudy Van Danzig', Cape Dance Company 'Christopher Huggins', Company Chameleon 'Anthony Missen', Longborough Festival Opera 'Didy Veldman' and Company Wayne McGregor. In doing so, Mbulelo has gained valuable experience and skills over many years of working with the top U.K companies and organisations including the Royal Shakespeare Company as well as award winning international artists such as ladysmith Black Mambazo and Goshka Macuga.