George Nicholls, Principal

Fellow Examiner and President of NZFATD Inc., Member NZFDT, National & International Adjudicator, Coach, Teacher & Choreographer.

George began dancing when he was 5 years old and went on to have a successful competitive dance career in both NZ and Australia. He placed highly as a professional dancer and was the NZ Ten Dance Pro Rep Tai Pei Asian Pacific. George is also a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and previously represented NZ at the Oceania Games in the mid 80s.
George has been teaching dancing full-time for the past 25 years. He teaches many successful competitive couples and has trained many national champions, including the 2008 NZ Professional Latin title holders and finalists in the 2008 Adult A Grade & Open Latin. In 2001 George married Tracie who is a open national finalist in Latin & American style.

George is also a creative choreographer and has choreographed for many different shows and events and for a wide range of people, including Feat with Heat Dance Extravaganza, TV show “Dance With The Stars” , “So You Think you Can Dance” , Movie “Castle of Lies”, NBR Westpac Stadium Event, “Peppermint Twist” TV show, Jeanette McDonald’s Visual Symphony and Cheerleading squads here and in America. George has also choreographed school productions, Ceroc formation team routines and won the NZ formation team title for Latin & American in 2007.

Jackie DrakefordJackie Drakeford, Principal

Fellow Examiner and Vice President NZFATD Inc, National & International Adjudicator, Coach, Teacher and Choreographer.

Jackie’s dancing career commenced at the age of three years old when she took her first medal and by four years old had participated in her first Dancesport Championship. Enthusiastic about dancing, continued through all the age divisions and grades, travelling to other countries to train and compete. At approximately 18 years old Jackie decided to compete with her brother George Nicholls and had a successful partnership through the Amateur Divisions and then later as Professional competitors. Her Mother and Father ran the Margaret O’Connor School of dance which was one of the most successful dance studio in New Zealand for over 40 years situated in Cuba St Wellington. Jackie was privileged to teach with them until their retirement when the business was then run by Jackie and George. This very same business is still being run under the name of “The Studio” and is still one on New Zealand’s most successful leading dance studio’s in Ballroom, Latin American, New Vogue and Classical Sequence.

Voted onto the New Zealand Federal Association of Teachers of Dancing Inc. as an executive, she became the vice president and accepted an examinership when it was offered, at the completion of her own professional degrees. Jackie currently remains The Vice – President for the NZFATD Inc., a Fellow Examiner in all four styles and the Chairperson for the Wellington Centre. Although now retired from competing she adjudicates and examines regularly, is a main instigator at setting up the New Zealand Accreditation Programme, which keeps her involved at setting standards and doing workshops as well as her day to day coaching and teaching. Jackie is a full time dancer and is one an elite group that has been able to achieve this.

Wilbert Goossens

Assistant Teacher

I started dancing in 1997 and have explored numerous styles ranging from Ballroom and Latin to Modern Jive and West Coast Swing.  I have been teaching at The Studio for ten years and support local DanceSport competitions acting as Chairman of Adjudicators. I am qualified to adjudicate Standard, Latin and New Vogue. I am a member of the New Zealand Federal Association of Teachers of Dance and have my scrutineering qualification.

In The Studio classes I focus on adult beginners with an emphasis on making learning dance easy and accessible. I am a believer in experiential learning by doing and use repetition as a tool to develop dance skills.

codyCody Stephens

Assistant Teacher

milena1Milena Taryan

Assistant Teacher

I started dancing when I was 3 years old with Armenian national dancing.
From 1st year at school I started dancing Latin n ballroom and won Armenian solo dance comps and made it to amateur final in Armenia.

In 2008 moved to New Zealand and started dancing with Malcolm Cree. Since 2010 we won Wellington competitions and made it to top 3 in Nelson 2010.

In 2013 I turned professional and started dancing with Cody Stephens – together we were Wellington Pro Champions , NZ top 3, Australian finalists top 5 and Blackpool top 110. I started teaching in America in 2016, coaching Latin American, Ballroom and American smooth and rhythm styles and have choreographed a number of wedding dances.

becky1Becky Gibson

Assistant Teacher

philipPhilip Porter

Assistant Teacher

keriKeri Porter

Assistant Teacher

emma2Emma Cree

Student Teacher

malcolmMalcolm Cree

Student Teacher