Julie Cronshaw Director
RBS Dip TTC (FISTD) CDE Enrico Cecchetti Diploma.
Director Julie Cronshaw is a graduate of the Royal Ballet School’s Teacher’s Training Course and has danced professionally in ballet companies in Germany, the United States and Russia.
She began teaching in the United States returning to England in 1994 to open Highgate Ballet School in 1995.
She gained her ISTD CDE in Dance Teaching in Spring 2007, the Cecchetti Diploma in 2009 and Fellowship (the highest teaching award given by the ISTD) in 2010.
Julie guest teaches regularly in the UK and internationally, for the Cecchetti Associates and Scholars and has served on the UK Cecchetti Committee. She is a founder member and regular guest teacher for the Auguste Vestris Society, a non-profit, Paris based teaching organisation and Auguste Vestris in Italy and has written several articles for the Vestris Society and international Cecchetti Society magazines.
In April 2012 she organised the first ever weekend seminar of masterclasses bringing together Cecchetti, Bournonville and the Escuela Bolera with international guest teachers in London at Highgate Ballet School.
In July 2015 Julie launched an online resource for dancers and teachers, about Enrico Cecchetti and his Method of teaching called TheCecchettiConnection.com. Over seven years she wrote, produced and co-directed a documentary called Ballet’s Secret Code, with filmmaker and former HBS student, George Massey. Illustrating the 6 Physical Principles behind the Days of the Week, the film can be viewed on YouTube. The danced exercises were shot on location in London and Florence with assistance from the Auguste Vestris Society in Paris and the Hamlyn School, Florence. There is an accompanying website, www.balletsecretcode.com.
Julie qualified as GYROKINESIS ® Level 1 Teacher in May 2014. GYROKINESIS ® is a registered trademark of GYROTONIC ® Sales Corp and is used with their permission.
Magdalene Woolf, Ballet Teacher
Maddy Woolf nee Wynne-Jones trained in Canada in the 7 year Professional Ballet Stream at the Ottawa School of Ballet. Upon graduation of the course she completed her formal training in the Graduate Intensive Programme at Arts Umbrella in Vancouver, before transferring her emerging career to London. Here she worked as a freelance ballet and contemporary dancer before founding Tempered Body, a professional contemporary dance company, in 2007. In 2009 she was appointed Artist in Residence at Chisenhale Dance Space in East London. She has been teaching at the Highgate Ballet School since 2007, and in 2009 developed the Highgate Ballet School Youth Dance Company.
Maddy gained her Diploma in Dance Instruction for the Cecchetti branch of the the ISTD in Spring 2012.
Valerie Borg, Ballet Teacher
Valerie Borg was born in Malta where she started dancing at the age of 3 at the Tanya Bayona Princess Poutiatine Academy of Dance and later with the Deborah McNamara School of Dance which merged to become the Central Academy. As well as training in Cecchetti Classical Ballet , she studied Spanish dancing, contemporary, Jazz and national. She has performed as a young dancer on Italian television, in dance competitions and festivals and in numerous productions She started assisting and teaching Ballet and Jazz to children during this time. In the UK she studied Tap, singing and acting at the London Studio Centre. She has a wealth of experience teaching for various Ballet Schools in London and has also adjudicated at several choreographic competitions.
Valerie has has completed her ISTD DDE (Diploma in Dance Education ) in the Cecchetti Method. She has been teaching at Highgate Ballet School on Saturdays since 2013.
Barbara Massey, Assistant
Barbara Massey is a professional actress and has danced all her life. She was born in Hungary and grew up in Philadelphia, USA. She has also lived and worked in Paris and is a fluent French speaker. She translates Hungarian and French. Barbara has been assisting at Highgate Ballet School since its inception in 1995. Recently she has started training to become a Cecchetti ballet teacher, working alongside Ms. Cronshaw daily, and with a focus on teaching the youngest children. She attends regular teacher training courses in preparation for her DDE, attended the Cecchetti Teacher’s 2018 Summer school on scholarship, and is currently preparing for her Cecchetti Intermediate examination.
Florencia Riverti, Contemporary Dance Teacher
Florencia Riverti, (Flor) is a performer, dance artist and teacher. She was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and grew up in Barcelona, where she began her training in dance.
She moved to the UK for studies, graduating in 2021 from London Contemporary Dance School, where she worked closely with Seke Chimutengwende and Sung Im Her.
Flor has taught workshops at Sadler’s Wells company of elders, Age UK and also teaches regularly with Truefitt Collective and Creative Arts Kids. She is part of @moymoy_collective & @i_n_collective where she works in collaboration with devising, performing, programming, teaching and developing creative practices.
In 2021 she spent 4 months in Cyprus, working with artists from South America in site-specific formats.
Flor is currently working in a new dance piece MURMURATIONS, with Max Maxwell as a performer and performing improvisation in group and solo.
Florencia joined Highgate Ballet School as contemporary dance teacher in September 2022.
Ros Halpern Office Manager
Ros joined us in January 2019. Born and bred in North London, she is an old girl from Channing High School. She has a Classics Degree from Leeds University and has worked for many years as a fashion buyer, in advertising as an Account Director focusing in the digital environment and as an office manager for a busy dental practice.
Pamela Tinker, Assistant
Pamela started ballet from the age of four in Yorkshire, where she passed all the RAD graded exams with distinction. She danced professionally in musical theatre, pantomimes and summer shows in theatres such as Leeds Grand Theatre and Swansea Grand Theatre. On retiring from dancing she moved to Paris where she trained in aromatherapy, later also in London. Pamela studied Waldorf education at the Steiner village in Switzerland and worked as an assistant at the school for children with special needs, teaching watercolour painting and art, and at other Kindergartens in both Switzerland and Paris. On returning to Paris she worked as a British nanny for high profile international families. Now she is back home in the UK and is delighted to be dancing again, where she is currently studying with Ms. Cronshaw.
Igor Mukhortov: Senior Pianist
Igor Mukhortov has accompanied at HBS since 2002 and was born and trained in Stavropol, Russia. He accompanies Freelance at various ballet schools in London including for Maddy Woolf and Alexandra Masoero and has formerly accompanied the Degree programme ballet classes at Surrey University.
Anastasia Matkovskaia, Acompanist
Anastasia Matkovskaia was born in Moscow in 1998 into a Ukrainian family and started studying piano at the early age of 4 in a music school in Odessa, Ukraine. She continued her studies at the Central Music School at the Moscow State Conservatory and then moved to London to complete her Bachelor’s Degree at the Royal Academy of Music in London with Tessa Nicholson where she graduated with a First Class Honours. Anastasia has participated in many concerts and competitions including the Young Musicians Guild concert, London, 2023, Ukrainian benefit concert, London, 2022, Young Artists’ Platform concert, Oxford, 2021, ISCART competition, Switzerland, 2021 (1st Prize), “Nouvelles Étoiles” France, 2021 (1st Prize) and the Euregio Piano Award, Germany, 2018. She has also been chosen by the Royal Academy of Music to participate in its open festivals and concerts, including the Open Masterclass with Professor Joanna MacGregor at the Piano Open Day, 2019, also the Autumn Piano Festival, 2019 and Beethoven 250+ Festival, in 2020. Anastasia greatly enjoys chamber music. She is a regular member of the Cambridge Ensemble and has also participated in a chamber music recital for the Maidenhead Music Society (Maidenhead, 2022).
Anastasia Matkovskaia joined Highgate Ballet School in April 2023.
Erina Kawaji, Acompanist
Erina J T Kawaji was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A. She grew up in Tokyo, Japan and graduated from the University of Tokyo with the degree in Mathematical Engineering and Information Physics followed by a career at Goldman Sachs, which brought her to London. She played for the festivals and the periodical concerts of the University, studied piano and singing at Boston Conservatory summer school. Despite of break from playing the piano for 11 years after graduation, she resumed after left her job in the city. She was a Chamber choir singer of her church, sang for church services, Even Song services, events, etc. She also studied ballet in Tokyo and London. She studied all RAD vocational graded syllabus as well as Vaganova method. She has played for ballet classes and graded and vocational graded examinations in London area since 2006. She also works as a translator and an interpreter.
Erina Kawaji joined Highgate Ballet School in September 2023.
Georgina Mandefield Guest Teacher Jazz, HipHop, Commercial, Musical Theatre
Georgina began dancing at the age of 2 and progressed through the ISTD syllabi and grades for ballet, modern, tap and jazz. She trained and performed with the English Youth Ballet and began contemporary dance with a local company and the Hertfordshire Youth Dance Company. As a teenager Georgina competed with various Hip Hop teams and regularly performed in local musical productions. Georgina went on to train at Urdang Academy, graduating with a First Class BA Hons Degree in Professional Dance and Musical Theatre in 2013. Since then she has performed in various productions including Tina Turner The Rock Legend Musical- European Tour, Son Amar Cabaret, Matthew Bourne’s Prologue, Strictly Come Dancing, Rocketman, WE Day, Big Dance, London Olympic Closing Ceremony, London Men’s Fashion Week and multiple music videos, corporate events and fashion shows. Georgina is a choreographer, agent and casting director within the performing and fashion industries.
Georgina has been teaching children and pre-professional dancers for over 12 years and regularly choreographs for prestigious and world ranking companies and teams. She is passionate about building diverse and versatile dancers with an understanding of how to train their bodies safely and grow into confident students and performers.