Our teachers

Teacher and Director:

Dancer in Development

With full-time DiD student Beth Edwards

Kathleen-Malee Smith

BA, Cert.TT, RAD Solo Seal, B.B.O registered (British Ballet Organization)

 In 2014, Kathleen-Malee realised her dream of founding her own dance school, after an exciting international career as a professional ballet dancer and extensive teaching/coaching experience at MEBA and on the  AUT B'Dance programme. Based in Central West Auckland, she fulfills her love of teaching, choreographing and coaching, and enjoys sharing her passion and enthusiasm for the art of ballet with all students. Her successful full-time Dancer in Development ballet programme keeps her busy and connected to current developments in the industry.

Our teachers:

Joanna Sylvester
BA Dance

Tutor Kinder Creative Dance - Silver, Gold, Platinum & Open Junior Ballet

"I have been teaching creative dance since 2011. My classes are based on my six years experience at Playcentre and knowledge of Te Whariki.  My dance background is mainly contemporary dance, ballet and 5Rhythms (improvisation), and I have a BA in Dance from Queensland University of Technology.

Dance is my passion – it is communication, expression, freedom and fun. In creative dance classes I aim to extend children's natural dance abilities through new movement experiences and growing physical strength, co-ordination, flexibility and control. My classes include structured exercises, improvisation and exploration. Children learn group skills, class etiquette, body awareness and basic dance technique. Narratives, themes, concepts and music are used to connect with children’s imagination and as we play with and share movements, we create dances together.”


CatherineCatherine Coker
BA Performing Arts

Jazz senior levels/Troupes

Catherine started Ballet at the age of three, and in later years began Contemporary and Jazz. She trained for three years at Whitireia Polytechnic, gaining a Degree in Performing Arts, majoring in Commercial Dance. While studying, Catherine added Hip Hop and Tap to her repertoire and performed in the Wellington Musical Societies' rendition of the popular musical, Grease, as one of the main cheerleaders.

After graduation, Catherine spent six months in India performing in Bollywood music videos and films. She toured with the Punjab Kings XI as a cheerleader in the IPL cricket tournament. Catherine then spent seven months in Mexico working at the resort Royal Solaris where she learnt Latin dance and performed in five shows per week featuring some of her own choreography.

Catherine has choreographed for her own show in Wellington and in dance school graduation performances. She recently choreographed for the earth hour show at the Resort in Mexico. Catherine also taught various styles of dance at a Wellington dance studio. She has now returned home and set up base in Auckland, with the hope of continuing to live her dreams in her homeland. She enjoys sharing her love of dance and training with her students, and we are delighted to have her part of the KMS Dance Studio team.



 Ezra-Thomas Holliday

We are thrilled to welcome Ezra-Thomas to the KMS Dance Studio teaching team. He will be taking our New Lynn Contemporary Dance classes as well as starting up the very popular genre of Tap Dancing. He's passionate, knowledgable and keen to start sharing his enthusiasm and experience in these two genres. 
More information to come...

Vanessa Leader
Classical Ballet

Vanessa grew up in Christchurch and studied ballet under Ann Judson. After completing RAD Intermediate level, she was offered places at the New Zealand School of Dance and the Australian Ballet School. Vanessa trained at the Australian Ballet School for three years where she was introduced to the Vaganova method and Pilates. Vanessa considers herself fortunate to have been able to complete her RAD Advanced level, plus perform at various events and productions through the Australian Ballet School. A highlight was being an extra in the Australian Ballet Company’s Melbourne season of Swan Lake.

After sustaining a back injury, Vanessa returned to New Zealand and taught at Ann Judson’s newly established full-time ballet school. She assisted with Vaganova-based open classes, RAD classes, Pilates, competition dances, and private lessons.

Now a mother of two children who share a love of music and dance, Vanessa is looking forward to teaching again. Vanessa understands the importance in students developing a sound, strong technical foundation from which to grow. It is her belief that artistry and technique go hand in hand, and she is looking forward to sharing her passion for ballet and nurturing this within the school.


Hyde Sham RAD
BA Dance

More information to come soon! Hyde will be tutoring our Wednesday Ballet classes in Pt Chevalier, Subud Hall.


Millie Burden
BA Dance

Hip Hop & Open Contemporary, Pt Chevalier

"Dance has been a passion of mine since I began to have lessons at the age of four. I learnt many styles including Hip Hop, Jazz, Contemporary and Cabaret. Although I love all these styles, Hip Hop is my favourite as I find it allows dancers a sense of freedom, a good physical workout and a sense of group cohesion.

Over the years I have participated in many open Hip Hop classes and workshops, fuelling my passion and allowing me to experience lots of different styles within the Hip Hop genre. In addition to my love of performing, having performed at many different events such as rugby games, festivals and showcases, my other passion is teaching. During my senior years at high school, I was offered a position as a dance leader and began choreographing and teaching the school dance team, as well as choreographing for Stage Challenge, in which we won a choreography award.

I have experience teaching in a studio environment, and recently began to teach in a primary school, where I choreographed and taught a Hip Hop team for a performance. I am in my third year studying a Bachelor of Dance degree at Auckland University, which I absolutely love. I believe that dance should be a fun and inclusive time, where we can all come together to share our love of dance and I love being part of the KMS Dance Studio team." 


Rachel Atkinson

Jazz junior levels
Open Lyrical

Rachel has grown up in West Auckland, where she first began dancing at the age of four, at Auckland Academy of Dance. She trained in Jazz, Contemporary, Hip Hop and Cabaret. Rachel was selected by Oscar Wilson and Andrew Jones to be part of the Faculty Professional Development programme in 2015, and is now a Faculty Associate.

Rachel began teaching dance at the age of 15 at Avondale College. She has gone on to teach Jazz and Hip Hop at Auckland West Dance Academy and is now thrilled to join the KMS Dance team and looks forward to her second year in 2017. Experienced in teaching and choreographing for competition teams, Rachel is an award-winning choreographer. Her passion is in teaching and helping young dancers grow to reach their full potential, while having fun in a friendly environment. 


Sofia McDonald
BA Dance Studies

Sofia has been taking dance classes since the age of 3, and although she loves every dance style, ballet has always been her main passion. She has completed all her Royal Academy of Dance graded and vocational exams up to advanced levels, with the hope of completing a Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies in the coming years.

Sofia recently graduated from the University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Dance Studies. This three year course brought her outside her comfort zone, challenged her creatively and opened her mind to the infinite ways dance can positively impact people. Throughout her degree, Sofia gained experience teaching contemporary and ballet classes in a studio to a wide variety of people, from pre-schoolers to the elderly. She loves teaching, and has a passion for inspiring children to love dance as much as she does.

Sofia is very excited to be part of the KMS tutor team and looks forward to the year ahead!

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