Dance with us

Meet our teachers

Meet the qualified dance instructors that run the City Academy of Ballet in Peterborough.

Mrs Bennett

Principal

I started ballet classes with the City Academy of Ballet, Peterborough at the age of eight, learning firstly RAD, up to Grade 4, and later the Russian Style syllabus of the Federation of Russian Classical Ballet (FRCB).

After some further study in London with Harlequin Ballet Company I took over as Principal of the City Academy in 1963 and completed the Associate teaching examination of the FRCB in 1964.

I took a break from teaching in the early 1970s but reopened the City Academy in 1976 when I started teaching the Classic Ballet (Russian style) syllabus of NATD. I passed my Associate and Membership (now Licentiate) examinations in 1979 and the Fellowship in 1983.

I was appointed an examiner in 1998 and later elected Senior Examiner of the Classic Ballet Branch. As a fan of contemporary dance I was delighted with the introduction to the NATD of the contemporary syllabus which we now teach the in City Academy and which I also enjoy examining.

Miss Emmer

Ballet Teacher

I started Ballet at age 8 (1977) after badgering my mother for months to find me a dance school. Luckily we found The City Academy of Ballet and my love for ballet just grew.
Every year I looked forward to the school's summer show, a way for families to see how the students have  progressed through the year.

Mrs Bennett always creates wonderful shows. I remember my first show at the Key Theatre in 1977, It was a wonderful experience, if a little scary but I loved every minute of it.

I progressed through all of the exams but at the age of 18, I decided to take a break from dance. This didn’t last too long as I missed the friendships and classes. On my return, I decided that I would like to start to teach, so under guidance from Mrs Bennett, I studied for the NATD teaching exams and in March 1996 I passed my Associate exam, then gained my Membership (now called Licentiate) in April 1999.

I have been teaching ever since and love seeing children develop, not only in their dancing skills but also in confidence. I teach on Tuesday evenings but you will sometimes see me on Saturdays and Mondays.

Mrs Bufton

contemporary Teacher

I started dancing at the City Academy of Ballet, many moons ago, at the age of seven. I remember with fondness rehearsing for our annual shows at the Key theatre, all the fun we had backstage and the thrill of performing.

For several years, I competed for the school at dance competitions in Cambridge and Stamford; I felt proud to be selected to represent our school, it was the first time I remember knowing that I was good at something. After leaving school I went to study contemporary dance, first at Coventry University and then at Roehampton Institute. I graduated in 1998 with a BA hons degree in Dance. Nearly 40 years after my first dance class, I still love how dancing makes me feel, the confidence it gives me, and the joy I feel in my heart when my body responds to music.

In 2013, when Mrs Bennett asked if I would start teaching the NATD Contemporary syllabus at the City Academy of Ballet I jumped at the chance. When I went to University I believed that I would have career in teaching dance, and although it took me a few years to realise this dream, I will always be grateful to Mrs Bennett for the opportunity. It is incredibly rewarding to see children grow into dancers, and while technique is vitally important, for the purpose of preventing injury, the best dancers are those that are able to express the joy of movement to music.

Dance and be for always happy!

Mrs Irving

Ballet & contemporary Teacher

I started dancing in 1989 at 4 years old and have great memories of our yearly Key Theatre shows, dance festivals, and competitions. In 2004 I left to go travelling around the world and after a few years break and the birth of my first child in 2008 I returned, eventually developing my skills into teaching, gaining my Associate in 2013 and completing a contemporary teaching qualification in 2014.

Having the opportunity to experience dancing on the stage from such a young age, along with the support and friendship gained in our ballet school, has instilled in me valuable self confidence, a love of dance, and lifelong bonds. I can currently be found teaching ballet on Mondays alongside Mrs Bennett, teaching contemporary on Saturdays with Mrs Bufton, as well as regularly attending my own classes with fellow senior dancers on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

When I’m not dancing or teaching I’m a professional photographer and have had the pleasure of capturing the students in their show costumes for our annual Key Theatre shows since 2015.

Miss Cooper

Ballet Teacher

I started my dancing career with City Academy of Ballet at 4 years old. My mum sent me to the ballet school my big sister (Mrs Irving) had also been attending, as she believed that all little girls should learn to dance. 26 years later, I can’t imagine a week now without putting on a leotard and ballet shoes. 

Although I was never the ‘star pupil’, dancing was an escape when studies, work, or life was overwhelming - for a few hours a week, all I had to focus on was pulling my knees up and stretching my feet. When others left for university, I kept dancing, and even took up a new dance discipline in Contemporary, when the syllabus was introduced with the City Academy in 2013. Dancing became more than a hobby or exercise, it was a passion - I enjoyed the challenge, and the reward, far more than I had during academic studies.

My motto, both in dance and in life, is the one Mrs Bennett has instilled over years of difficult steps and exercises - “there’s no such word as ‘can’t”. It was this passion for dance, and a desire to give others the chance to feel the freedom it offers, that encouraged me to pursue a ballet teaching career. After 2 years of studying and helping in classes, I passed the Associate ballet teaching exam in March 2020. Although the start of my teaching career was delayed slightly due to COVID, I now regularly teach and assist in Saturday classes at Dogsthorpe Community Centre.

Watching the students develop in confidence as dancers, whether that’s by nailing a triple pirouette, or just holding their head a little higher, is an absolute joy that will never get old for me.