Helen Clark School of Dancing was founded by Helen Lewis (nee Clark) in 1945 when she was just 15 years old. At the time, Helen taught Highland and Irish dancing. A few years later, Helen took over the tap classes of a fellow teacher and this was the birth of Helen’s infamous tap dancing classes and her affectionate nickname of ‘Aunty Helen’. Aunty Helen has been teaching dance since she began in 1945.
Over the years, Aunty Helen has taught dancing to thousands of students, with several past students featuring in productions such as Raw Metal and Matilda. Many of these students have opened their own dancing schools and continue their love of dance. But more than this, Helen has been a beloved mentor and pillar of support for so many young people and their families. The Ipswich Community and the evolution of tap dancing in Queensland would not be the same, had it not been for all of the hard work of Aunty Helen. We are proud to honour and continue her dancing legacy at the Helen Clark School of Dancing.
Sarah Zeidler – Principal
Sarah is highly experienced in all facets of Dance and Performing Arts with over 25 years experience in tap, jazz and ballet dancing. She has choreographed routines for the World Tap Dancing Championships, trained for two seasons with the American Tap Dancing Foundation (ATDF) and twice performed in the New York Tap Dancing Festival. She has a Diploma of Tap Dance Teaching (LGTDA) and over 10 years experience in teaching the CSTD Ballet and Jazz examination syllabus with outstanding results in all examinations. Sarah is also passionate about performing and acting and has attained a level 5 certificate from the Australian Acting Academy.
Liesl Pike - Studio Manager
Liesl has been dancing since the age of three and teaching CSTD ballet and jazz for more than 25 years. We have been extremely fortunate to have Liesl run our jazz and ballet program for the past 10 years. During this time, the program has produced technically superior jazz and ballet students with 90% of students receiving an Honours Grade or higher in their exams. Liesl’s bright and bubbly personality is infectious and she uses it to motivate her students to reach their full potential.
Chelsea MacNab – Tap and Jazz Senior Teacher
Chelsea has over 20 years experience in tap and jazz dancing, and has been teaching LGTDA tap and CSTD jazz dancing with Helen Clark School of Dancing for the past 7 years. Chelsea has a Diploma of Tap Dance Teaching (LGTDA), a Bachelor of Education (Primary) and a Bachelor of Early Childhood Studies. Chelsea has also performed dancing in Disneyland California. She is passionate about teaching children and our junior performance teams and uses her education training to motivate students to achieve their full potential. Chelsea loves passing her love of dance and movement to others.
Kayla Fritz - Ballet, Tap and Jazz Senior Teacher
Kayla has been dancing since the age of 3 and has trained in all genres of dance completing her CSTD and RAD jazz, tap and ballet exams. She graduated from DLDC full time dance training with a diploma in musical theatre which led her to performing all over the world. Kayla began her career as a featured dancer in numerous Bollywood Films whilst living in India (which fun fact if you search hard enough you will find some on Netflix). She then travelled to Macau on a 5 month contract before jet setting to America where she started her 6 year journey with Princess Cruises travelling and dancing all over the world. She received a scholarship to the Joffrey Ballet School in New City and most recently returned home from a 2 year contract in Las Vegas. Kayla is also a certified Personal Trainer. Kayla has been a guest teacher and choreographer for HCSD over the years and between contracts, Kayla loves being a part of the HCSD family where she can share her experience, passion and knowledge with the next generation of dancers.
Rebecca O’Brien – Jazz and Ballet Teacher
Rebecca O’Brien is an inspiring young performer, teacher and choreographer who has been dancing since the age of 3 in all styles of dance. Rebecca recently received a contract with Royal Caribbean International cruise line as a dancer but has been temporarily delayed because of coronavirus. She has received her certificate 4 in dance at the prestigious school Dynamite Studios on the Gold Coast and her certificate 3 at Australian Performance Dance Institute. She has done all of her CSTD Tap, Jazz, Ballet and RAD ballet exams receiving the highest marks of Honours Plus and Distinction. Rebecca has had extensive training in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Commercial Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Acro, Heels, Showgirl and Technique. She has been fortunate enough to have been trained by the best of the business such as Will Sabin, Talia Fowler, Sophie Holloway, Marko Panzic and many more.
The quality of dancing produced at Helen Clark School of Dancing is of an incredibly high standard. Many of our past students have gone on to gain professional work and enjoy successful dancing careers. Some of our successful past students are listed below.
Matthew Douglass learnt tap, jazz and ballet with our school from 1990-2005. He then gained entry into the Australian Dance Performing Institute (ADPI) in Brisbane to further his dance study. Throughout his career, Matthew has performed with Raw Metal Dance Company, Carnival Cruise Lines (USA), Universal Studios Singapore and at the Commonwealth Games Closing Ceremony Glasgow alongside Jessica Mauboy. Recently, Matthew starred in the Sydney and Melbourne Broadway productions of Fiddler on the Roof, Curtains (with The Production Company in Melbourne) and Matilda. We are so proud of you Matthew!
Anne, Rachel, Fiona and Katherine Johnson
Anne, Rachel, Fiona and Katherine Johnson danced with our school from 1991-2009. In 2009 the four girls represented Australia in the World Tap Dancing Championships held in Germany. Their routines were choreographed by our very own Sarah Zeidler. Katherine performed a solo routine and placed 9th in the world and Anne, Rachel and Fiona performed a trio routine and placed 11th in the world.
More recently, these girls have taken their tap dancing to a whole new level and created the fitness product Tapfit. Tapfit is the world’s first tap dancing fitness system! It is designed to help you get fit, lose weight and learn to dance, all while having a blast! Tapfit has been launched in gyms throughout Australia, the USA and UK and has fast become the one of the world’s leading fitness and dance products. Congratulations on taking tap dancing to a whole new level girls!