Director and Founder, Teacher, and Administrator
Miss Helen Leonard-Taylor

Diploma London College of Dance & Drama, Certificate in Education, (Chelsea College of Human Movement, East Sussex University), Royal Academy of Dance Life Registered Teacher, & former Member of the Board of Trustees of the Royal Academy of Dance.

Trained in Nottingham with Sissie Smith Helen gained all her RAD grades and major examinations before continuing her training in London. She spent three years at London College of Dance & Drama and then a further year at East Sussex University where she gained a Certificate in Education, specialising in Dance & Drama. After graduating, Helen founded the “Helen Leonard School of Dancing” and worked as a freelance teacher and choreographer in and around the Nottingham area. She has now been teaching and entering students for their ballet examinations for over 40 years.

Helen has always played an active role in the Royal Academy of Dance, having served on the Regional Committee for over 20 years. She was elected Secretary & Treasurer in 1996 and Chairman in 2002. Following the restructuring of the regions, Helen was elected Chair of the Midlands & East of England region which covers, the East Midlands, West Midlands, and the East of England. This is the largest region of the RAD and Helen was responsible for organising teacher’s and student courses and for liaising between dance teachers and Academy headquarters.

Then, in 2008 Helen was elected by the RAD membership to serve on the Board of Trustees of the Royal Academy of Dance. She served for the maximum 9 years on the Board which is made up of 10 people from the world of dance and 10 people from the business world. It was a tremendous honour to serve on the Board of a global organisation with such eminent people, and with Darcey Bussell as President. In recognition of her ongoing commitment and dedication to the Royal Academy of Dance, Helen was made a Life Member in 2017.

Director and Teacher – Miss Michelle Widdison

A.R.A.D. (Advanced 2), Teachers Certificate, Royal Academy of Dance Registered Teacher

Michelle trained at Leonard School of Dance, gaining all her Grade and Major examinations up to Advanced 1 and then continued her training at Ballet West. During her time with Ballet West, Michelle gained her Advanced 2 examination and the Student Teacher Certificate of the Royal Academy of Dance. She also toured with the company, performing in many of the major classical ballets including, “Sleeping Beauty”, “The Nutcracker”, and “Swan Lake”.

Michelle gained the Teachers Certificate of the Royal Academy of Dance and has now been teaching and entering students for examinations at the Leonard school for over sixteen years.

Michelle was elected to the Royal Academy of Dance Regional Advisory Committee at the AGM held in November 2015 and became a Director of Leonard School of Dance Ltd in April 2019.

Teacher – Miss Shauna O’Connor

Royal Academy of Dance Teachers Certificate, Royal Academy of Dance Registered Teacher

Miss Shauna trained at the Ogando School of Dance in Nottingham where she gained all her
Royal Academy of Dance (RAD), Grade and Major exams up to Intermediate.

She also gained the RAD Teaching Certificate at the school and has been teaching and entering pupils for exams for nearly 24 years. Over the years she has taught pupils who have gone on to study at various vocational dance schools and from there, have gone on to enter the profession.

She has also passed all the International Dance Teacher Association (I.D.T.A) exams up to Advanced 1 and holds the I.D.T.A Teaching Associate.

For five years, Miss Shauna was dance specialist at James Peacock Infant and Nursery School where she was able to teach an array of abilities and age groups in developing fine and gross motor skills.

Musical Director – Mr Jeremy Fleet

GRSM Dip RCM (Teacher) – Piano Jeremy has many years’ experience teaching the piano in mostly traditional style lessons, but with an informal and encouraging approach. He also works in general primary musical education and is an accompanist. He has a keen interest in song and dance. Jeremy regularly accompanies some of our classes and plays for our RAD exams.

Continued Professional Development

As a condition of their registration with the Royal Academy of Dance, Miss Leonard, Miss Michelle, and Miss Shauna regularly attend Continued Professional Development courses and are fully up to date with the current syllabus, teaching methods, and codes of conduct. All 3 teachers have up to date First Aid Certificates. Staff all have current Enhanced DBS Certificates.