Melissa – Director - Founder
Melissa – Director - Founder
Melissa is the Director and Co-Founder of London Dance Academy. She has been a dancer, artist and physical performers for most of her life and loves to share the techniques that have been taught to her along her journey. Disciplines that have helped her improve, recover and sustain her strength and flexibility for decades.
Melissa comes from a long line of dancers and artists. She has been teaching dance for over 15 years, and has also been an Emergency Medical technician, teaching companies and individuals throughout the UK.
Born in Sri Lanka, she returned to India to study in Kerala and gained her Yoga teacher training qualification there in traditional Hatha technique/Ayurvedic studies.
Melissa has been travelling since she was a teenager. Her style of training blends modern science and Western anatomy with the traditional techniques taught to her by the most inspiring yoga, ballet, circus and martial artists she has had the privilege to work with.
As a live performer and teacher Melissa’s passion is supporting independent artistry. She continues to uphold this belief in every aspect of her life.
“Over the last 20 years I have had the privilege to help thousands of people achieve a healthier work-life balance. Through the power of art, movement and positive thought we can discover the best version of ourselves.”
Melissa’s qualifications include:
Advanced First Aid Teacher Training
Emergency Medical Technician
Exercise to Music
She has relied on her deep understanding of the human body and movement to create class concepts such Splitz Therapy, Entranced, Extreme Stretching & Aerial Deep Stretch Restorative classes with Heat Therapy.
Vanessa – Studio Manager
Vanessa – Studio Manager
Vanessa joined LDA in March 2013, following a successful career in producing and event management for independent theatre and film, where she spent over 10 years working for and with a vast number of professional companies and artists.
Having completed an MA in Arts Management and Policy early on in her career, she continued to pursue one of her other main interests by studying for an MSc in Criminology & Criminal Justice at the London School of Economics and Political Science with a particular focus on youth crime and restorative justice, graduating with a distinction in 2010.
Vanessa also has a track record as a successful freelance translator and web editor, and as a tutor in languages, conflict management and IT, working with a wide range of clients across the life-long learning sector from hard to reach young people to the elderly. As a volunteer, she was part of Southwark’s Youth Offending Team Community Volunteer Panel for 6 years.
She loves the creative hub that is LDA, and thoroughly enjoys being part of a constantly growing and evolving company, as well as the huge privilege of working with so many talented teachers and performers (as well as a superb staff team!).
Alexe – co-founder
Alexe – co-founder
Alexe co-founded LAP / LDA (originally the London Academy of Pole Dancing) in 2006, following her passion and success as a pole teacher and events manager.
After graduation from a prestigious London university with a BA in Music Business & Management, Alexe created a successful events company which organises concerts and festivals in England, Ireland and on continental Europe (totalling over a hundred sensational bands from 5 continents) while making LAP her number one professional activity at the same time! Identifying the gap in fitness industry the market for pole dancers flexibility and circus performers like herself and teaming up with Melissa, LAP was born, Being the first to offer these types of classes soon took the fitness industry by storm in gyms such as LA Fitness, Virgin Active, Fitness First to name a few.
Having danced all her life and performed on stage from a very young age (including the Royal Festival Hall with Lionel Blair), Alexe applied her unmatched organisational skills to multiple roles in the industry (prominent things from events, sales and promotion, stage manager to performer and teacher).
Moving her way up everywhere around London, from Spitalfields, Kings Cross Scala and Camden venues & clubs, LAP came to synchronise many of her passions. performance, dance, management, marketing, and most of all, being free from anyone else’s intervention.
With over 15 years teaching experience, Alexe has also been a part of different Circus troupes and perform at a wide range of events from Glastonbury to Torture Garden.
Over the years, Alexe and Melissa have expanded LDA from being the first in providing not just pole dancing and LDA designed classes such as Extreme stretch, Bikini bootcamp.
Now an umbrella company LDA: Proposing event management and/or performers for major corporate clients, hen parties supplier, designer clothing range for dancers and run a Dancers & Performers agency . They officially opened their very popular London Dance Academy studios in the trendy Old Street area in 2012.
Now Alexe has now retired as LDA director, concentrating on starting her new family.
Alexi is a Level 4 Master Trainer with 8 years experience within the Health and Fitness Industry as a Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor. With a degree in professional musical theatre training across a variety of dance styles, Alexi has taught Pole Dance at Beginner and Intermediate Level at a LDA for 5 years now.
Specialising in Sports Specific Conditioning, corrective exercise, functional training and Flexibility, Alexi will take you to the peak of your ability, with a primary focus on strength and conditioning to unleash your true potential. Expect to work hard in her classes and watch your fitness excel. Expect a variety of training approaches within her classes, with a fun and energising yet results orientated approach. All abilities welcome.
Alexi teaches the following class formats: Kettlebells, Reformer Pilates, HITT, Pole Dance, Boxing, Skill Circuits, Bootcamp, Beginner to Advanced Core Workouts, and Deep Dynamic Stretch. All abilities welcome.
Angeliki started dancing at the age of four and her training includes ballet, contemporary, jazz and modern theatre dance.
In 2014 she graduated from the National Centre for Circus Arts in London with a Foundation Degree and a Postgraduate Certificate in Circus Arts. Specialising in aerial straps, Angeliki blends movement principals with straps technique to create her own unique style of performance.
For the last few years she has been performing and teaching a variety of aerial disciplines in the UK and abroad.
Anna started rhythmic gymnastics at just 5 years old and in 1997, she spent a summer in Moscow, training with the Russian National Squad. From 2001 she formed part of the British Rhythmic Gymnastics Squad. After graduating with a language degree from Cambridge University, she moved out to Argentina in 2007, where she first discovered her passion for circus. She began training at ‘Club de Trapecistas’ in Buenos Aires and by 2011, she was performing on a regular basis as an aerialist with the contemporary circus collective ‘Amor Eterno.’
In early 2013, Anna moved to São Paulo, where she joined the prestigious circus company ‘Grupo Ares.’ She performed at a number of international events, circus festivals and theatre shows as an aerialist and contortionist. Some of her performances have included hanging from cranes to perform her aerial hoop routine, as well as doing aerial dance routines on some of Sao Paulo’s highest sky scrapers and famous monuments. She worked as a guest artist for a number of companies and directors including “Circo Vox”, “Trupe Guezá”, “Circo Show”, “Febre Coletivo”, “Companhia Base” and “Diálogos acrobáticos.” In the summer of 2013, she performed her aerial hoop routine at the famous Zur Wilden Renate Club in Berlin. In 2014, she won the Capital Fitness Pole Dance Championships in Brasilia.
Anna has a passion for teaching and during her time in Brazil, she worked as an aerials teacher at ‘Competition Gym’ and as a pole and flex instructor at pole dancing schools such as “Metrópole”, “Escola Duda Ribeiro” and “Miss Pole Dance.” She has also taught a number of experimental aerials workshops in São Paulo, with a focus on physical theatre techniques.
In 2017, Anna won several titles in national and international competitions, including: UK Aerial Championships (1st Place), Pole Art France (1st place, semi-professional category), Pole Art Spain (1st place, semi-professional division) and UKPPC (1st place, Instructor category).
Anouska has been training at LDA since 2016. She first tried pole dancing on a ‘whim’ and soon became obsessed.
Pole dancing gave her more confidence than she ever thought possible and brought true happiness into her life. Her goal is to pass on the magic that she has discovered through pole onto others so that they can fall in love with it as she has.
Anouska is also a qualified personal trainer and has a background in martial arts.
Cat has been doing pole for 6 years (back when everyone used 50mm). She is now an Elite level pole dancer, having recently begun competing internationally. She loves flow and enjoys getting lost in the music when dancing. Cat thinks the best part of pole dance is making it your own and enjoying it. Having no background in dance/gymnastics and not being able to even touch her toes when she started she is a firm believer that anything is possible if you put your mind to it!
Over the past few years she has competed often, including Winning UKPPC Professional 2015 and 3rd Place IPAAT Champions and has also competed at Pole Art in Cyprus and MPD UK. She has also judged for MPD Semi Pro 2016 and Bangor Inter Uni Pole Competition. She loves to perform and performs pole, hoop, hoop doubles at any chance she gets.
Cat is a qualified PT and Sports Nutritional adviser. She offers pole, PT and nutrition guidance, advanced flexibility and competition choreography/prep packages.
Claire has training in ballet, contemporary, modern, jazz and pole. She currently teaches Foundation – Intermediate levels of the pole syllabus for the London Dance Academy as well as hosting hen parties and performing in corporate and commercial events.
As Claire has had vast experience in the entertainment industry, she is also the coordinator for the events department of the London Dance Academy so please don’t hesitate to contact her should you require performers for any occasion.
Claudia Contortionist has been proclaimed as ‘Britain’s Bendiest Woman’. (This Morning ITV, Daily Mail Online, The Sun Online).
She is one of the most highly-skilled contortionists performing in the UK today. Claudia trained at The National Centre for Circus Arts where she earned a first class honours degree. Her performances include amazing handstands combined with unbelievable moves such as the triple fold, as well as The Marinelli Bend (considered to be one of the most difficult and dangerous contortion positions).
Claudia was the contortion body double for The Mummy (Sofia Boutella), and for Nagini (Claudia Kim) in The Crimes of Grindelwald. Her TV work includes Michael McIntyre’s Big Show, This Morning, TFI Friday, Officially Amazing, Extraordinary Bodies, Extraordinary Humans, and Culture Shock.
She has appeared in many commercials and advertising campaigns. Her contortion work has also led her to work with many fashion designers, including Vivienne Westwood. She has performed at many top venues and at numerous nightclubs, hotels and private parties both in the UK and abroad.
Her extensive training and experience include Commercial dance, Hip Hop, House, Burlesque. She is an all round dancer that teaches hen parties and dance workshops in Burlesque, Belly Dance, Lap dance, and themed dance parties as well as pole dance.
Emma is a multi-faceted teacher with extensive training in dance and fitness. She also has two world renowned WBFF fitness competitions under her belt.
Having dance background, she provides guidance and assistance in dance choreography, posture and stage presence coaching.
Getting someone up to speed at beginner pole dance level is Emma’s another expertise. Private beginner pole session are welcome.
Possessing extensive knowledge in body conditioning, Emma can assist in private body weight and gym equipment body conditioning sessions.
Her method focuses on achieving results within a short space of time, efficiently and effectively, in an environment that fosters the notion that exercise should be fun, motivational and impactful.
Hanna is originally from Cardiff and currently based in London. She began her dance training as an associate of The Royal Ballet School, National Dance Company Wales and National Youth Dance Wales. During this time she danced works by Ohad Naharin, Itzik Galili, Stephen Petronio, Odette Hughes and Theo Clinkard.
During her professional training at London Contemporary Dance School, Hanna performed and toured with the Bundesjugendballet & JustUs Dance Theatre on their Spring tour of ‘Infinite Identities’. She then went on to join Danish Dance Theatre as an apprentice upon graduating, taking part in the company’s debut European tour of ‘Firebird’.
Her most notable performances include ‘Polaris’ choreographed by Crystal Pite at Sadler’s Wells and performing as a soloist in Andrea Bocelli’s ‘Cinema World Tour’ at the O2 Arena, choreographed by Catarina Carvalho of Company Wayne McGregor.
Isis Victoria Rose started dancing as soon as she started to walk. A professional dancer for over 9 years, Isis has studied at central London’s renowned Pineapple Dance Studios and The Place. She is an exceptionally trained dancer in ballet, jazz, contemporary and hip-hop and commercial dance. Isis found the passion for pole 5 years ago and indulged in learning circus acrobatic skills to add to her artistry.
Isis’s talents have demanded her to perform around the world and in music videos, in 2011 she performed and supported the award winning, eccentric world star Lady Gaga in India . Talent going unnoticed, Isis came 2nd place at the 2009 British Hip Hop championships, which led her to become a judge at the annual I Love Tour dance in Spain.
With a love for art and expression, Isis engages in and out of London’s best cabaret and corporate shows in burlesque,showgirls and pole performing. Isis also last year performed on TV for Ant and Dec’s ‘Saturday Night Takeaway’ for the big reunion and Big Brother’s bit on the side.
In-between performing, Isis’s extensive knowledge and expertise in her profession has led her to choreograph shows and teach at many venues Pineapple Dance Studios, Reebok centre to name a few also presenting a convention for RIP fitness; plus one to one personal mentoring and training.
Throughout her childhood and early teens Jackie was part of the touring youth circus in Switzerland “Kinderzirkus Robinson”, performing various skills such as acrobatics, trapeze, unicycle, rope dancing and even a bit of juggling. She has also performed in Swiss musical theatre, tried her hand at Irish step dance (Celtic Jig) at the “Rojahn Academy of Irish Dance” and practised Kickboxing. Overall Jackie is a fitness freak, always trying to excel in new areas.
She moved to London in 2010 to pursue her other passion of music, and in 2015 she graduated with a first class BA honours in Music Business Management from BIMM London (The British & Irish Modern Music Institute) whist also working in Legal & Business Affairs for [PIAS], the biggest independent label group in the UK. Jackie’s favourite music genre is undoubtedly Rock music and she loves to further new talent such as the Rock band “Chase The Ace”.
Funnily enough it is her collaboration with Chase The Ace, which got her introduced to pole dancing at the start of 2015. Being completely new in the pole dancing world, Jackie had never appreciated the gymnastic / acrobatic elements required for pole dance, which was precisely what got her hooked. She fell in love with pole instantly and for the past year has been training pole dance intensively at London Dance Academy, where she reached the advanced level within a short time. Strength is definitely one of her specialities but she keeps working hard to improve her everlasting journey of flexibility. In June 2016 Jackie undertook the beginners pole dance instructor qualification course at “Spin City” and is due to enrol on their intermediate & advanced qualification course later on this year. Jackie is very excited to be part of the London Dance Academy team.
Pixie Le Knot is one of the most flexible contortionists in the UK. She performs the most extreme and amazing backbends which very few other british contortionists are able to achieve. She currently performs contortion and acrobatic acts at venues all over the world and has appeared in many films, commercials, virals, music videos and publicity stunts.
Pixie Le Knot plays Kayla in HBO’s Game Of Thrones, appeared in Paramount’s horror movie ‘The Devil Inside’, recent horror thriller ‘It Never Sleeps‘ and touching feature film ‘My Feral Heart‘ as well as featuring in ITV 1’s Get Your Act Together teaching and performing contortion with Emmerdale’s Roxy Shahidi.
She is currently filming on Warner Bros ‘Jungle Book: Origins’ directed by Andy Serkis.
Accomplished and experienced international aerialist and acrobat. Jo Foley has over 15 years experience performing with gymnastics, theatre and circus for a variety of events ranging from commercials and music videos to corporate events and private parties and everything in between.
Drawing from this wealth of knowledge and experience, Jo is also an acclaimed circus tutor, emphasising strong technique, attention to details and lots of fun!
Lauren considers herself to be an old-school poler, favouring the simple, classic moves done well over the crazy, super-strong-and-flexy moves everyone seems to be doing now!
She has been pole dancing for 4 years having started when I was at uni, and quickly turned a hobby into a passion/obsession, and now (hopefully!) a career. Her proudest achievement to date is winning my first ever competition – The Authentic Pole Dance 2015.
Lisa has pole danced for about 6 years now and is particularly inspired by the combination of extreme tricks and sensual moves. Her classes incorporate those wow-factor tricks into sexy routines. Lisa is a big fan of spinning pole and all her classes are centred around them. Her classes will leave you feeling like a true femme fatale.
Louise had a very different entry into the world of pole dancing, coming from a background in snowboarding. What got her into pole was the desire for a sport that would challenge her but still keep her flexible and fit – and pole gave her just that.
Since Louise qualified as a pole instructor she has travelled to world-class studios and watched competitions in Europe and North America, continuing her development as a dancer by attending workshops with many of the world’s top pole-dancers, such as Felix, Jenyne and Alethea amongst others. Louise has performed at Bucks Pole Championships, Pole-Dance Studio and at several True Blood conventions. Louise trains her students to build strength, flexibility and fitness, but her favourite personal style is sexy flow and floorwork.
Magda’s passion to sport started with acrobatics when she was 9 years old.
A few years later she won 2nd place in the regional championships in acrobatics in junior class in doubles.
Her journey with pole dance started in 2012 at the Pole Dance Institute Vienna. Magda has been dancing at the London Dance Academy since 2015 and this school shaped the dancer she is today. Recently she completed the instructor training under the talented eye of Edyta Borchowiec.
Magda loves new challenges and sets her aims high. Pole dance fills her life with positive energy and brings a big smile on her face each time she enters the studio. Now that she is starting to teach, she looks forward to passing this on to students.
Maya (aka Iracy Veloso ) comes from a dance background (ballet, contemporary and folk dance). She has a BA in Physical Education from the Universidade Federal de Pernambuco, Brazil.
Maya arrived in London in 1998. She has been pole dancing for more than fifteen years and teaching pole for the last ten years. Initially self-taught, she began training in 2006 with former UK and world pole champion Elena Gibson. She was later invited to become part of her select team of teachers.
Maya was a finalist in pole dance competitions in both the UK and abroad between 2006 and 2012. (Pole Divas 2006 and 2009 finalist, Miss Pole Dance UK 2009 finalist, Pole Art 2010 finalist, as well as UK Professional Pole Championship 2011 finalist). In recent years, she has focused on teaching and improving her skills as a pole instructor.
POLE SPECIFIC TEACHING CERTIFICATIONS:
– 2013: certified by the X-Pert Pole Fitness Certification Program Level 1/2 .
– 2014: certified by elevatED Level 1 Professional Pole Instructor Training.
– 2015: certified by elevatED Flexibility Level 1 Professional Instructor Training.
– 2016: completed FloorFlow Teacher Training Level 1 with Marlo Fisken.
completed Josh Taylor’s Pole Instructor Intensive.
certified by XPERT Pole Fitness Spinning Pole teachers training.
– 2017 certified by Spin City intermediate Pole Fitness Instructor Training.
Melissa is the co founder and – Director of the London Dance Academy.
She learnt to dance as soon as she could walk because that’s what every one in her family did. Melissa and her cousin would look at old photos of their mothers & dress up in her aunts beautiful handmade sequined stage costumes, dreaming that one day they could be part of this world.
After achieving A Levels in Fine Art, Sociology & Performing Arts Melissa left school at 18 to back pack around the world with her brother.
Having been an artist, singer, dancer and physical performer for most of her life she loves to share the techniques that have been shared with her along her many journey’s, performances & projects.
Disciplines that have helped Melissa improve, recover and sustain her technique & flexibility for decades.
Melissa’s qualifications include:
Advanced First Aid Teacher Training
Emergency Medical Technician
Exercise to Music
She has relied on her deep understanding of the human body & movement to create class concepts such Splits Therapy, Entranced, Extreme Stretching & Aerial Deep Stretch Restorative classes with Heat Therapy.
“Dance is a gateway to freedom, expression & creativity.
The Arts have always been my passion –
To help people evolve authentically & fall in love with a world I was lucky enough to be born into…fills me with immense joy…this is the reason why I teach.”
Michal started dancing ballet at the age of 10 and later on took Jazz and Street Dance. Performances with Borgore, download festival and many more.
Michal started pole dancing at 2009 and took on teaching after sox months of intense training. and found it addictive, she would find a way to backbend In any move.Michal’s teaching style is all about the hardcore conditioning and sexy graceful transitions and his classes will give you a real challenge.
Michal’s teaching style is all about breaking down moves to make them simple as possible for everyone, hardcore conditioning and sexy graceful transitions and her classes will give you a real challenge.
In 2011 Michal started intense training circus arts on aerial silks and rope, because being on the ground is just too boring…
Nofisa started her pole fitness journey in New Jersey, USA. It was an instant addiction to the sport and her love for pole fitness continues today. Even after having her son, Nofisa is determined to continue her pole journey and is continuously reaching new levels in the sport.
A proud moment in her pole journey is coming 1st place in the talent show section of Miss Galaxy Universe, a Fitness Model Competition for Women.
When it comes to her style of pole dance, Nofisa would describe herself as strong with a lot of sass.
Nofisa is also a Personal Trainer and qualified Exercise to Music Instructor. She loves teaching group fitness classes as it gives her an opportunity to bring a lot of energy and fun to a room full of people.
Qing started her pole journey in summer 2014 right here at LDA, where the instructors gave her an opportunity to discover her passion for pole fitness. She has no professional background in dance or gymnastics but with dedication and correct guidance, she was growing fast, performing in showcases and entering various competitions.
Qing studied Teaching French as a Second Language in France and taught it for 3 years. She is passionate and patient in helping others to learn and achieve their goals. Now she has transformed this eagerness into teaching pole fitness. She believes that we can achieve anything with enough dedication and correct guidance. Believe in yourself and work to reach your goals. Be ready to train hard with her, no excuses!
is an accomplished Circus and Variety performer, having worked in circus’, theatre and stunt display teams throughout the UK and Europe.
Rowan is also a highly qualified Personal Trainer specialising in HIIT, ZUU and forms of Aerial and Suspension training. With a focus towards empowerment through strength, mobility and flexibility. “Liberate your body, expand your horizon!”
Sam started pole-ing back in 2007, with no gymnastics or dance background and being self proclaimed terrible at all physical activity , starting pole was quite the challenge.
With her friends and family dismissing it as just a fad, Sam continued to pole away, having been taught by champion Karen Chaundy and then Elena Gibson, but sadly Sam was forced to take a two year hiatus due to illness.
Coming back to pole was no mean feat, she started at LDA back in 2010, and began teaching soon after. In the last five years Sam has built up her Extreme Tricks and Flexi pole classes, as well as competing as semi pro in both UK Pole Theatres, European Pole Championships, and Pole2Poleas well as being involved in performances at The Ideal Home Show and the Drury Lane Club.
Sam has a unique comedic style blending burlesque style performance with pole, and a playful use of props and food.
Using the Pilates principles in everything she teaches, Samantha believes in balancing the whole body with the mind during exercise. One of the most experienced AntiGravity Yoga teachers in London, Samantha is able to adapt classes to suit every level of ability, and has recently added AntiGravity Pilates into her repertoire.
To complement the AntiGravity fitness, Samantha is also certified in Suspension Training and Advanced Stretch techniques, so you can be assured you’ll be in safe hands in any one of her classes.
She also has 8 years of experience in the world of Pole Dance.
Sophie has been dancing since the age of 3 and has a background in ballet, lyrical and theatre dance. She studied dance at the IDTA (International Dance Teachers Association) where she became an Associate in Freestyle. It was while studying for her Associate that she discovered pole dancing and the rest, as they say, is history!
Sophie has been teaching since 2007. She is very friendly and approachable. Her long dance history shows through her grace and technique which she applies in her classes and tries to instil into every passing student.
Sophie entered her first ever competition in 2017, with a fantastic result, winning 2nd place at UKPPC in the Instructor category.
She spends most of her free time hanging around upside down and invites you to do the same!