Celebrating 40 years of Northern Ballet School

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An interview with the Principal, Patricia McDonald

The Faculty

The standard of training we provide is rated as 'Outstanding' by OFSTED – testimony to the skill and dedication of the entire NBS faculty.

Read the latest NBS Ofsted Report

The Principal – Patricia McDonald FRAD, LISTD

Patricia McDonald has been training dancers for professional careers in classical ballet and commercial theatre for many years. She is a Fellow of The Royal Academy of Dance, for which she was a vocational examiner for over 20 years. This has given her a broad knowledge of professional dance training and standards worldwide.

Since 1977 she has led the school through a continuous process of development to reach its present internationally recognised status. She is supported by a dedicated team of highly qualified and talented teachers and musicians. Each is an established specialist in one or more of the fields of dance, music and drama.

The staff – Bringing together experience & expertise

Some of the staff have had years of professional performance experience. They constantly draw on this to prepare students for the physical and mental demands of their chosen career. In addition, all staff have particular technical expertise and theoretical knowledge. This allows them to give students a deeper insight into the range of dance styles and disciplines that underpins a creative approach to dance. They also have the physiological expertise to help prepare would-be performers to deal with the physical and mental demands of the dance profession.

Supporting our teaching staff is a full team of administrators, technicians and other staff that keeps the day-to-day school programme running smoothly.

A large faculty sharing a single aim

Everyone at Northern Ballet School works together to help our students become the performers the theatre dance industry around the world demands – artistically accomplished, technically skilled, well educated and confident. All these are the hallmarks of an NBS graduate.

“Northern Ballet School was a great stepping stone into my professional career as a dancer at the Moulin Rouge. The training I received was well rounded, catering for all techniques required to further myself in the dance industry. NBS instilled a great work ethic in me standing me in good stead for my future. My whole experience there was supported by encouraging teachers and fellow students giving me tools for not only work, but also for life.”

Read more graduate testimonials

Poppy Salenius
NBS Graduate 2012

The Northern Ballet School Faculty

  • Patricia McDonald FRAD, LISTD Founder, Principal
  • Jacqueline Gray BA (Hons) First Class, Cert Ed., NBS Teaching Diploma, RAD Teaching Cert., FISTD, AISTD, ISTD Imperial Ballet Examiner Deputy Principal

Administrative staff

  • Philip Radcliffe BA (Hons) Arch, Dip TP, RIBA, MRTPI Administrative Director
  • Crispin Radcliffe Premises Director
  • Kate Lewis Registrar
  • Shona Mcfarlane Administrative Assistant

Dance tutors

  • Joanne Cunliffe RAD Teaching Cert, NBS Teaching Diploma, LISTD Dance Teacher
  • Sarah Dickinson BA (Hons), ARAD (Advanced Teaching Diploma), LISTD, AISTD, FIDTA, RAD Examiner Dance Teacher
  • Anthea Garratt Cert Ed. Dance Teacher, Choreographer
  • Amanda Gilliland ARAD, AIDTA, Former Coryphée English National Ballet Dance Teacher, Choreographer
  • Sarah Lawson FIDTA, ABATD Dance Teacher, Choreographer
  • Lee Lomas Professional Performer and Choreographer Dance Teacher, Choreographer
  • Andrew Margerison AISTD Dance Teacher, Choreographer
  • Louise Pettitt BA Performing Arts Dance Teacher, Choreographer
  • Lisa Rowlands ARAD, RAD Teaching Cert. Dance Teacher, Choreographer
  • Rachel Telfer ARAD (TC) LISTD Dance Teacher
  • Helen Vidotti AIDTA Dance Teacher
  • Danielle Winters Dance Teacher, Choreographer
  • Emma Woods BBO DTLLS Director, Guest Choreographer

Vocal tutors

  • George King BMus (Hons) Vocal Studies Tutor
  • David Gibson BMus (Hons) LRSM ATCL Vocal Studies Tutor
  • Katie Ritson BA (Hons) MMus Vocal Studies Tutor

Ancillary staff

  • Jenny Eley BA Lib & Inf, Cert Ed. Librarian
  • Christopher Hemsley BA (Hons) PGDE Drama Teacher
  • Michael McCabe BSc (Hons), NASM, REPS Level 3 Body Conditioning Coach
  • David Gibson BMus (Hons) LRSM ATCL Accompanist
  • Simon Lea BMus (Hons) Accompanist
  • Elena Panasenka BMus (Hons) Accompanist