Amy Charles - ISTD FDI & CDE, AIDTA, BA (Hons)
School Principal

Amy Charles picture

Amy began dancing age 3, gaining exams in ballet, tap, modern, jazz and freestyle, with the RAD, ISTD and IDTA. At the age of 11, she became a member of Stage by Stage Musical Theatre School and for 8 years enjoyed participating in many productions, often taking lead roles and expanding her experience by training in singing and drama. During this time, Amy was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to perform at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Her Majesty's Theatre, London and to compete in local dance festivals/competitions.

After, achieving top grades in A.Level Performing Arts and A.Level Dance, Amy studied for four years at Bournemouth University to gain a BA (Hons) in Public Relations. During this time she studied dance at the Julie Adams Stage School in Bournemouth, and became a dance coach for the school's gymnastics classes, as well as having the opportunity to perform at the London Palladium. Whilst working in London on a placement year, Amy became a member of Pineapple Dance Studios and Danceworks Studio and enjoyed regularly undertaking a variety of evening classes.

After working in marketing and public relations, Amy decided to return to her love of dance and trained to become a fully qualified dance teacher. Under the guidance and expertise of ISTD Examiners Deborah Bond and Gaynor Walter, Amy studied to gain her advanced level dance qualifications, followed by the Foundation in Dance Instruction (FDI) and then later the Certificate in Dance Education (CDE). Both exams, are overseen by the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance, and involve training in child development and lifespan, health and safety, observation and teaching skills, choreography, musicality and syllabus training. Since qualifying, Amy regularly attends the ISTD Teacher Training Summer School, and all syllabus courses to keep updated with the latest news. She has undertaken full first aid training and holds a CRB Disclosure.

On qualifying, Amy was offered the role of Head of Modern & Tap at the Euridge School of Dance, Exeter, where she worked for 3 years before moving on to establish Charles Academy of Dance.  Amy has achieved a 100% pass rate with all examination entries, with a high percentage achieving 'distinctions', including impressive marks in the 90% for Advanced level students. Additional, to teaching the syllabus work, Amy had choreographed routines for the annual dance show and for local and regional dance festivals, of which many have achieved 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place. In her first year of teaching, Amy entered a modern group that won both the 'Senior Cabaret' section and the overall Exeter Festival Performance Award Trophy. The Charles Academy Senior Company students also reached the 2011 National All England Finals with their modern group choreographed by Amy.

In 2012 Amy had her daughter Isla, and then in 2014 continued her professional development by training with Sarah Clements at the South West Teacher Training Centre. Amy has passed her IDTA Pre-Associate 1, 2 and full Associate Professional Teaching Exams in Classical Ballet plus the Anatomy and Physiology Diploma, all achieved with a distinction grade.

Since opening, Charles Academy has gone from strength to strength and the future looks very exciting and promising for our students! Amy would like to thank the wonderful team of teachers we have, whose hard work and dedication make the success of the school. 


Cassie Hill – ARAD, CBTS
Head of Ballet

Amy Charles picture

Cassie trained at Sidmouth Ballet School, achieving top grades in her exams of ballet, modern, tap and jazz and in 1996 was selected as a Senior Associate of the Royal Ballet School. In 1998 she was chosen as a Scholarship Winner for the English National Ballet School Easter Course.

She later went on to attend a 2 year Intensive Classical Ballet course at the English National Ballet School, qualifying with a National Certificate in Professional Dance, Elementary Solo Reading Examination in Classical Ballet, and an honours grade in Benesh Movement Notation. During this time she studied Pas De Deux, Repertoire, Contemporary Dance, Jazz, Music Appreciation plus much more. Cassie has since gone on to very successfully pass her RAD Advanced 2 Ballet exam with flying colours!

In 2003, Cassie began her training to achieve Royal Academy of Dance Registered Teacher Status, by completing the Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies (CBTS). She completed a teacher placement at Sidmouth Ballet School, where she was then employed as a dance teacher coaching children through to adults the RAD syllabus, choreographing for the school productions and preparing students for exams with a 100% pass rate.

As well as training to become a teacher, Cassie has a great deal of performance experience. In 2001, she joined La Scala Ballet, Milan as a dancer in the Corps de Ballet for their productions of Giselle, Sleeping Beauty and Excelsior. And in 2002, she danced with the English National Ballet in their production of Swan Lake at the Royal Albert Hall. Later that year she joined Ballet Ireland for their tour of Les Sylphides, Irish Rhapsody and Highlights from Sleeping Beauty and The Nutcracker.

Since joining the Charles Academy team, Cassie has very succesfully choreographed ballet routines for our annual show, the Eden Project Relays Festival and local competitive dance festivals, as well as entering students for RAD exams and the Royal Ballet Junior Associate Scheme. We are delighted to have Cassie as part of the team!


Sarah Dickinson - ISTD DDI & DDE

We are delighted to welcome Sarah to the teaching team this September 2016. Sarah trained at Charles Academy completing her ISTD modern and tap advanced 1 qualifications with top level distinctions. She furthered her proffesional training at the Performers College, Essex and also gained her DDI & DDE ISTD teaching qualifications with examiner Deborah Bond. 


Sarah Emily Carter - BA (Hons)

Sarah gained her degree in Dance and Related Arts in 2005 from Chichester University where she specialised in choreography and teaching technique to primary ages. Supporting her time at University, Sarah worked in New York for four months with a company that taught children from the ages of 8 - 16 years a variety of classes under the 'musical theatre umbrella', including song and dance, contemporary dance, free-style jazz, beginners tap and audition technique.

Prior to her degree, Sarah gained qualifications in Acting with the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts and since then has taught at the Stage by Stage Academy in Exeter and Riviera Theatre Productions in Ashburton. Sarah has joined the team at Charles Academy of Dance, teaching song and dance/musical theatre, contemporary dance and adult dance classes. She has also very successfully choreographed solo and group routines for students competing in local dance festivals.

Sarah has a wealth of performance experience, appearing in many productions locally, in London and The Edinburgh Fringe Festival both as lead roles, supporting cameos and as chorus. Additional to performing, Sarah has also been asked to choreograph and direct many local productions, working alongside Exeter Little Theatre Company, Footlight and Crediton Operatic Dramatic Society. As with all Charles Academy Staff, Sarah is CRB checked and a qualified first-aider.


Matt Charles - Business Administrator

Matt Charles picture

In addition to the teachers, you will also see Matt around the Charles Academy of Dance. Matt is involved in the daily running of the school in his role as Business Administrator. He will be available to answer any questions you may have, receive payments or sort out any uniform orders. As with all Charles Academy staff, he is fully CRB checked and first aid trained. Matt has approximately 4 minutes 30 seconds of dance experience...don't worry; he is not part of the teaching faculty!!!