Hannah Mckillen, head teacher and choreographer.
I opened The McKillen School of Dance in 2017, a dance school in Newtownards catering to all ages and abilities. At TMSOD we pride ourselves in our professional and fun classes which push all pupils. I opened the school to provide a creative environment for pupils to expand their skills and to grow as young people and dancers with the end result being the hope that all our pupils leave with the tools to audition for professional dance schools in the future.
I have danced all of my life, competing at festivals and having done syllabus classes in RAD ballet. As a dancer, I have had many experiences - to name a few; MOVEIT Main Stage, MOVEIT class assistant, Got to Dance auditions,, Scottish Ballet assistant with Hansel and Gretel performance Belfast 2017, Dance World Cup Dancer.
As a teacher - I am currently I am fully qualified with Acrobatic Arts, DDMIX, iDance Contemporary, Progressing Ballet Technique and the Associated Board of Dance. While teaching full time I am also studying for another two teaching qualifications to add to the studio. In the first year of opening the school, my dancers auditioned with my choreography and where on Team Northern Ireland 2018 for the Dance World Cup. Currently I have pupils in associate and training programmes in both Scotland and Northern Ireland.
My favourite quote is - "It takes a village to raise a dancer" - I encourage all my pupils to attend every event and audition possible to encourage a growth mindset. The more adaptable a dancer is, the more successful.
I pride myself in continuing my own professional development - I am currently enrolled again in an Education Diploma and two other teaching qualifications.
Training your body to move will transfer flexibility and balance to your mind. Research shows that dance can improve brain functions and is excellent exercise but will also resolve symptoms of general life stress. It increases focus, helps social skills and provides both a hobby and a possible career choice. We look out for the best of your child as an individual.
We offer classes in classical ballet, contemporary, tap, acrobatics, modern and jazz, musical theatre and hiphop. No two classes are the same at TMSOD - every week there is new routines, stretches and moves to push pupils and to expand their growth mindset. Our timetable is 6 days a week, with no class having more than 16 children in it to encourage a safe learning environment.
Syllabus classes are offered in classical ballet and, acrobatics.
Adam Ashford - Adam is an Urdang Graduate who has worked professionally in London and the U.S. Adam joined TMSOD in May and has already been a welcome injection of energy . His tap classes are super fun, quick paced and educational for all kids.
Mollie McCullough - Mollie and myself danced together for many years and has been a pupil of mine for the last two years. Mollie is a senior associate at the Scottish Ballet, her attention to detail is second to none. This year Mollie choreographed our under 7 CDFNI lyrical team. In the 2019/2020 season Mollie will be doing competition classes to drill and prepare pupils for competitions.
Brooke Totten - Brooke and myself danced together for over 10 years, Brooke has a passion for all things high paced and full of energy. She is teaching hiphop every other Friday. Her style is commercial, sassy and full of tricks.
Zara Janahi - Zara has recently joined our team, she has been trained by Annika Graham and is a member of Ajendance Dance Company Belfast - she is teaching hiphop every other Friday in the studio. Zara's love and knowledge of hiphop is vast. She is the all Ireland champion with her solo and third in the World for her quad at the UDO World Championships. She has toured for Hard to be Soft and is about to sit her UDO teaching exam. Her passion for hiphop is infectious.
My aim is to have a school with something for everyone.
I have had many workshops in the studio open to all dancers across Northern Ireland in the past two years.
We have had Tim Noble, Leigh Alderson, Annika Graham, Kristopher Leckey, Rosina Andrews with pirouette surgery, Fabiane Leame, Josh Denyer and most recently Lukas McFarlane.
I aim to get as many experieces for my dancers and we have many more planned for next year.