Shirley Jones OAM

Former Teacher and Soloist with the National Theatre Movement, Former Director & Principal of the Shirlene School of Classical Ballet Est 1963,  Recipient of Order of Australia Medal 2018 for outstanding service to Ballet

Recipient of the Maestro Enrico Cecchetti Diploma, Appointed ISTD Examiner in 1962,

Fellow & Life Member of the ISTD, Member of Cecchetti Ballet Australia & CICB International.

Anthony Pannell 

L.C.B.A., (C.I.C.B) (Lon); R.A.D. Solo Seal; Sadler Wells Opera Ballet (Lon); Het Ballet Nationale (Netherlands);

The Royal Winnepeg Ballet; West Aust. Ballet; Principal - The Scottish Ballet; London Festival Ballet;

Senior Soloist: The Australian Ballet; Grad. Dip. of Educ. (Visual & Perf. Arts


Rita Eicens


Fellow C.B.A-C.I.C.B. (Distinction.) L.C.I.C.B., A.C.I.C.B (Hon), A.I.S.T.D. (M.T.D.B.) (Lon.). Cert.IV (BSZ098) 8 TAA Cert.IV Units. CUA40313 Certificate IV in Dance Teaching & Management

Holder of the Maestro Enrico Cecchetti Diploma (M.E.C.D.) with Distinction. Life Member Cecchetti International Classical Ballet.  Member Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing  (Lon) Affilate Member Australian Teachers of Dancing. Australian Ballet School Trained,  Guest Teacher/ Adjudicator

Dance is not just a passion, but a way of life for Ms Eicens. She is one of the lucky prodigies to have gained all her Examinations with Honours, her Cecchetti Diploma in one sitting with distinction and all her teaching degrees up to Fellowship with Distinction.  Ms Eicens won both the Junior and Senior Medal tests and the Elementary Scholarship in her younger days of training, She was also awarded the Cecchetti Scholarship at the Australian ballet School. Proudly trained by Shirley Jones, one of the former pupils of Madame Lucie saranova.  Ms Eicens is one of the lucky few to have had the honor to gain training from a descendant of the Cecchetti tree. "I proudly let people know where my training commenced, treasure and acknowledge with deep gratitude those years that left an indelible mark on my career"

Ms Eicens is well known throughout the dance world, her classes are always full of knowledge, a touch of humor and a deep resonating passion for her love of dance. If you have been lucky to have had Ms Eicens as your teacher or mentor, then you know what dance really is about. 

Deborah Oates 

Assistant Director/Beg School Co-Ordinator, Associate Diploma C.I.C.B. -C.S.B. , CUA40313 Certificate IV in dance teaching & management, B.Arts (Fine Arts), B.Ed (primary & post primary) Member C.I.C.B, Musical Theatre Director, Choreographer and Artiste

Deborah is a founding member of R.V.D.A. commencing in 1980. With over 25 years of classical ballet training with Rita Eicens,  plus jazz, modern, tap, contemporary, folkloric while at RVDA, she has become one of the longest standing and loved dance teachers of the Academy. Deborah  has been educating children for over twenty years in both the educational sector, dance school and amateur theatre settings. She has a rich background in The Arts beginning dancing at the age of five, being involved at least annually with musical theatre productions since her teens and seizing every opportunity to either perform or support performances artistically.

Her passion for the arts is undeniable and her warmth, genuine concern for her students is evident through their responsiveness and joy shown in her classes. Deborah believes that education is there to enrich and support each individual in achieving their best and should be provided in a secure, nurturing and rigorous learning environment which priorities student wellbeing.

Anne Chan

Associate Diploma C.I.C.B. -C.S.B. ,CUA40313 Certificate IV in dance teaching & management. Attained Adv 2 level C.I.C.B. Member C.I.C.B.

A valued and well respected staff member, Anne’s involvement in dance spans over 35years, commencing her ballet training at the age of 13, firstly with Shirlene School of Classical Ballet then later joining RVDA in 1983 where she was trained in all genres offered at the time; ballet, pointe, modern and jazz.

Although a late starter to dance, her love of classical ballet saw her pursue over 20 years of training with RVDA. She was one of the first RVDA student to gain her Cecchetti Advanced 2 certificate (1997) and teaching status; Associate (1992), Associate Diploma (1999).

She has danced in lead roles in “The little Matchgirl” and “The Little Mermaid” as well as many ballet classics such as Prelude from “Les Sylphide”, Peasant Pas de Deux from “Giselle”, Pas de Trois from “Paquita”, Canary Fairy & Silver Fairy from “The Sleeping Beauty”.

A fully registered member of Cecchetti Ballet of Australia, Anne now teaches for many dance schools in Melbourne and has been teaching for over 25 years. She enjoys instilling in her students the purity and elegance of ballet technique, sharing her knowledge, and thrives on her students’ progress and growth through their dancing. Anne loves teaching at RVDA for the individual nurturing care it gives to all its students, within a supportive family friendly atmosphere.

Amanda Mossuto

Associate  C.I.C.B. -C.S.B. ,CUA40313 Certificate IV in dance teaching & management, Attained Adv 2 level C.I.C.B. Member C.I.C.B.

Senior teacher and well respected staff member, Amanda started taking dancing lessons in 1990 at the Terri-Maree School of Dance in Ballarat. Her family moved to Melbourne at the end of that year and in 1991 she commenced at Riga Victoria Dance Academy, where she has attended lessons ever since. Amanda is a formidable technician in Classical Dance and her ability to instill a solid foundation of Theory and technique in her students is a gift in itself.

Over the years she has taken classes in Ballet, Modern and Jazz. In 2010 she passed her Advanced 2 Classical exam, which signalled the completion of the Major Cecchetti exams.

In 2008 Amanda  passed her Associate exam, becoming a qualified teacher of the Cecchetti method. She focuses on the teaching of the middle grades, building their technique and increasing their theoretical knowledge of ballet.


Angela Petrou

Attained Adv 2 Modern Theatre (I.S.T.D.) Member I.S.T.D. (London) VicFit Accredited, Angelina Ballerina Teacher

Angela is a long standing member of the Academy and is proud for her achievements in dance. Angela is a qualified VicFit instructor and has completed a course in Childrens Creative dance. Angela's skills of working with young children is unchallenged and she instils a strong love and passion for dance in her fledglings. Angela complete all her major exams successfully in Classical Ballet and Modern Theatre Dance. 

Angela has completed her safe dance courses and Angelina Ballerina Workshops. She is a well seasoned teacher that is adored by the young students she instructs. 

Alison Moon-Borton

Attained Adv 2 level C.I.C.B. and Adv 2 Modern Theatre (I.S.T.D.) Member C.I.C.B 

Alison commenced with the Academy in 1992.  She has all through the years been a  loyal and wonderful student and even more so a dedicated and reliable teacher since 2009. Alison is well versed in all genres and excels in Classical Ballet and Contemporary. Her strength lies in her ability to make dance look easy.

Alison is a long standing Mentor for the Cecchetti Summer School held ever year at Melbourne University and is a member of C.I.C.B.

Alison  more recently is completing her Master of Primary Teaching to compliment her dance activites. She is also a STudent Mentor for the Cecchetti Summer School Program. 

Alison is our coordinator for the Cecchetti Choreographics and organiser for special events for students. She is an honors student through all her previous examinations and continues to attend development days to further her abilities and knowledge.

Alice Palermo

Associate Diploma C.I.C.B. -C.S.B. ,Attained Adv 2 level C.I.C.B. Bachelor Arts Contemporary dance, Member C.I.C.B

Alice is a founding member of the Academy, having her dance life begin with R.V.D.A from the age of 5. She is well versed in the operations of the Academy and been a loyal staff member. Alice is an honors dancer as well as a methodical and artistic teacher. 

Alice's credentials include degrees in Couture Fashion and Costume designing and Contemporary Arts and dance. As well as being an accomplished dancer, Alice is a very talented artist with a flair for drawing and painting.

Alice has performed and toured with "Caravan Of Love" the comical theatre production.  She has performed at Melbourne Fringe Festival , Comedy Week, and Edinburgh Fringe Festival .

Alice is a beautiful strong dancer in the genres of Classical, Contemporary and jazz. She is a well loved and valued member of R.V.D.A and continues to bring much joy to classes she takes.

Tiffany Dallosto

Dance Teacher, Performer, Teaching Diploma (CSTD), VET certificates in Dance, Training and Assessment, Certificate IV Dance Teaching and Management- Certificate I, II Dance - Acrobatic Arts

We are thrilled to welcome Tiffany to our staff for 2021. She will be taking two of our morning TiddlySteps Kinder classes and being our new brilliant Acro teacher for saturday afternoons. We look forward to have her onboard.

Tiffany has been training since the age of 5 in styles Jazz, Tap, Ballet, HipHop, Lyrical, Contemporary, Acrobatics, Commercial and Ballroom as well as teaching for the past 6 years at various studios. Over the years she has learnt from many different choreographers while dancing at annual Eisteddfods, training for her teaching Diploma (CSTD), VET certificates in Dance, Training and Assessment and Dance Teaching and Management. Tiffany has been fortunate enough to dance for various companies around Australia, Tap Dance Paris (South of France), Aces Dance team (Baseball Australia) as well as recently returning from her third overseas contract at Disneyland Paris. Tiffany is looking forward to teaching and instructing our students at RVDA and having the opportunity to continue to learn and grow with all our dance family.

Kristin Papadakos

Graduate Kelly Aykers Dance, Bachelor Social Sciences (Social Work) 

Kristin has been a member of the Academy since 2002. She commenced at the Academy together with her older sister and both girls, reached exceptional levels in all examinations. Training under the watchful eye and guidance of Ms Eicens both sisters formed a deep devotion to safe dance practices and wellbeing of the body and mind. Kristin is a passionate young dancer and teacher with over 16 years of training and experience. Kristin has a degree in Youth Work and has a love for working with children. She is one of our favorite  Junior school teachers, with a warm, friendly and caring nature.

She teaches kids classes in multiple styles and has taught at other studios across Melbourne. Kristin has experience in a variety of dance styles and still seeks to further her knowledge.

Kristin is also a recent graduate of the Kelly Aykers full time dance course and undertaking associate studies for Cecchetti Classical.

Elissa Privitelli

Elissa has been a member of the Academy for 20 years, completing the higher levels in Jazz, Modern and Hip Hop. Her training has included many  Hip Hop courses for teachers. Elissa has a strong passion for Hip Hop and Jazz, whilst keeping up her training in Classical Ballet.

Elissa has been a scholarship winner as well as an Honors dancer in Modern Theatre. Elissa is one of our strongest Hip Hop and jazz teachers, who loves to encourage students to do the best they can. She is a popular and well loved staff member with courses under her belt in Hip Hop and Angelina Ballerina. 

Alexandra Rando

Member of Musical Theatre at A.M.E.B, Bachelor of Arts/Business. NIDA Music Theatre essentials. Melbourne Improv Conspiracy Comedy Level 1. Lisa-Marie Parker Vocal Studios


Alexandra began her dance training at Riga Victoria Dance Academy in 1999

and went on to perform in “The Wizard of Oz” and “Jekyll and Hyde” towards the end of her high school years.  Alexandra decided to focus on singing and began to take private vocal lessons specialising in musical comedy/theatre repertoire. 

Alexandra is currently studying with Musical Theatre performer and Three - time Green Room award nominee Lisa Marie Parker (Cats, Blood Brothers) and performed in Parker’s showcase “Hear My Song” at the The MC Showroom in 2017.  Alongside Alexandra’s singing training, she is also studying a Bachelor of Arts(Design/Theatre) & Business.

Alexandra displays a vast versatility of musical comedy and has been writing cabarets and arranging tribute/impersonation acts which will be workshopped with leading music theatre performer and director of Cabaret Showcases Melissa Langton.

A passionate lover of classic musicals, she embodies the style and grace of the golden era of musicals & cinema. Most recently she was asked to be a guest performer in a cabaret production and arranged a “My Fair Lady” medley at the Darebin Arts Centre.

She is also furthering her training with sketch comedy at Melbourne’s leading comedy school Melbourne Improv Conspiracy and takes part in performances at the schools Comedy Theatre.

Alexandra is looking forward to sharing her passion of Musical Comedy, Singing and Theatre with RVDA students and help them reach their full potential. 

Joshua Harris

We are pleased to welcome Josh to the RVDA teaching staff.

Since finding dance at the age of 19, quite late for someone starting out in the industry, Josh took one class and never looked back. He started his dance journey at Mad Dance House in Brisbane in 2011, where he trained in various hip hop/urban dance styles for several years. In 2015, Josh was in his first dance crew called Chief Academy, and performed with them at various community events, as well as competed for the first time at House of Champions - an international competition held in Brisbane. In 2017, he was accepted into the Mad Dance House Part Time Course, training for 3 days per week in ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, acrobatics and acting. Throughout the course, he had the opportunity to collaborate with his peers to produce their own show, titled 'Behind The Red Door', which they showcased for the Anywhere Theatre Festival, and was subsequently awarded one of the top 11 independently produced shows in Queensland out of over 700. In the same year, Josh was accepted into The Home Base - a gold medal award-winning hip hop/urban dance company, where he was mentored under the direction of international choreographer Laurence Kaiwai.

Since finding his confidence in choreographing and having a strong desire to influence and inspire others, Josh began teaching at several studios around Brisbane, with students ranging from as young as 9, all the way to adults. His urban dance style can switch between groovy and flowy to hard-hitting and intricate, with a fusion of elements from other genres.

In late 2018, Josh made the decision to move to Melbourne to further develop his dance training and teaching experience. He currently trains with Ascendant Dance Company, a new elite team directed and mentored by international choreographer Gina Michael, who he'll be travelling with in May 2019 to compete at Dancers Paradise in Cancun, Mexico. He also currently works in the mental health industry, working with people on an emotional level from all different walks of life, which he believes comes hand-in-hand with teaching, as he strives to create an environment where students genuinely feel valued, while ensuring there's a good balance between working hard, enjoying yourself and the people around you.

Matt Benson

We are pleased to welcome Matt to the RVDA teaching staff. 

Originally from Sydney, Matt is celebrating over a decade of dance and is excited to make his debut in Melbourne.

Throughout his time as a teacher, Matt has taught, choreographed  and assisted with creation for over 50 schools around the Sydney, Newcastle and Illawarra regions along with crediting stages for several nightclubs, entertainment for corporate events, charities, entertained crowds for sporting teams.

Professionally Matt has played the role of creating and performing for artists from around the globe including UK artist Luciana, American drag star Adore Delano and Australian artists such as AVALONIA and Kid Mac. With a very solid Certificate IV in both performing arts and dance Matt inspires and encourages creative adolescences to chase their dreams. 

We are excited to see our Advanced Jazz dancers flourish under his strong work ethic and creativity.We are so lucky to have his expertise to pass on. Welcome to the RVDA family for 2019

Guest & Relieving Teachers 

Loredana Bonello 

Attained Adv 2 Modern Theatre (I.S.T.D.)

Loredana began at Riga Victoria Dance Academy in 1993 in creative movement classes. She then went on study ballet and modern, and later jazz, contemporary, hip hop and pointe. She received honours in all modern contemporary examinations from primary to advanced levels.

Throughout primary school and high school Loredana was heavily involved in all theatre and dance productions. During her high school years at Santa Maria College she was in the choreography team for all productions, and head choreographer for inter house dance competitions. Loredana chose to study dance in year 12 VCE, where she excelled in both written and performance exams. She was awarded the distance education excellence award for achieving the highest score. 

Loredana started assisting at RVDA at the age of 18, and then began teaching her own jazz and hip hop classes at 21.

Apart from being at RVDA, Loredana has choreographed external productions such as the 2014 production of  “Little Shop of Horrors” for the SBOC Arts theatre group.  Loredana also dances at music events…and in her room.

Vilija Stephens

A.C.B.A. (C.I.C.B.) Dip., Adv 2 (C.I.C.B.), Adv 2 (M.T.D.B.) I.S.T.D

Member Cecchetti International Classical Ballet, Guest Teacher, Choreographer and Cover

Vilija began her training as a young child of 4 with Riga Victoria Dance Academy. She excelled in Ceccehetti Classical Ballet and also, I.S.T.D (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing) Modern Theatre and Jazz.  Vilija has danced many lead roles over the years with the most memorable being Odette in Swan Lake. Vilija has been returning as our regular Guest Teacher over the past few years and we love having her whenever she is able to take time away from her daily work commitments. A passionate and caring teacher on all levels,

Emma Varallo

Emma  has been with the Riga Victoria Dance Academy since the age of 6 years old.  She is passionate about her dance and specializes in Hip Hop and Jazz. Throughout her years with RVDA,  her love of dance has continued to grow and grow, leading her to take part in school productions. Her love of dance and theatre was the main factor in her decision to study and complete a Bachelor of Entertainment Business Management. Emma is one of our newest members on staff and assists in the Junior school classes.

Senior Assisting Students

The Academy is a government recognized training school for teaching degrees. It is with pride that over the 38 years of operation we have trained over 15 Associates in Cecchetti Ballet and Modern Theatre. Training always starts with senior students helping out in junior classes under the guidance of the class teacher. Being mentored for at least 3 years in a class environment. Being mentored for at least 3 years in a class environment, then progressing to take a small class of there own and relief teaching. Professional development and courses including attending seminars is a vital part to furthering their abilites.

Gemma McManus              Caitlin Rea                Kaila Harrington             Rhiarn Harrington

Teachers Assistants

Students wishing to be more involved to begin learning  the required methods of teaching young dancers may become an assistant in classes.

It is a great way to learn more and increase their own knowledge by being mentored by the class teacher.

The teachers assistant takes  instruction from the class teacher on how to help students that may need a

little more guidance in their class environment.


             Courtney Lacey                                                  Clara Fosso                              Bianca Salvatore                 

       Olivia Rocca                                                 Hannah Warren

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