Meet the team

Principal: Hatti Dawson BA (Hons)

Harriet Dawson (Hatti) is an award-winning International Dance Artist with extensive experience of performance, choreography and teaching. As Principal of Panthera Dance Company she will deliver the majority of the teaching with her characteristic passion and enthusiasm for all dance genres.

Hatti was recently awarded the Young Entrepreneur of the Year 2020 by Wiltshire Life, for her outstanding contribution to the business community. She has also been awarded the International Young Choreographers Award for performing her debut contemporary solo The Fragility of Power (2017) in Kiev, Ukraine and selected to represent UK universities in front of a 10,000 audience at the Studfestas in Lithuania in November 2018. Other performance highlights include dancing with the ZooNation Dance Company in their Into The Hoods: Remixed (2016) UK tour, and for the Breakin’ Convention UK Tour (2017) with CODE Crew a leading Midland’s dance troupe.

With a First Class Honours Degree in Dance, Hatti brings expert understanding of the dance sector as well as virtuoso training for the benefit of all her students. She has a minimum of Grade 7 qualifications, marked Distinction (80%+) in styles such as Ballet, Tap and Modern. She also has qualifications in Jazz and Pointe work and performs in Vintage Dance.

Hatti has been teaching Street Dance and Contemporary for the past eight years with companies across the UK. As founder and inspiration of the Hip Hop Society at De Montfort University she competed successfully in two competitions in the Midlands.

Calling on her diverse and extensive knowledge of dance in UK, Hatti will advise all students attending her school and guide those interested in further education in Dance and the Performing Arts.

Assistant Principal: Anya Dawson

Anya is a keen and enthusiastic upcoming dancer and musical theatre artist, who has had a considerable experience in performances such as Stars of Salisbury, Salisbury Dance Exchange and musical theatre in the Wiltshire area.

Through the competitive audition processes, Anya has been successful on both occasions that she has applied to be in the city’s prestigious pantomime. She was one of the lead dancers in Jack and the Beanstalk in the 2017/18 season of the Salisbury Pantomime, which was awarded the Best Pantomime in the country for venues with under 750 seats.

Anya is a qualified Sports Leader. Anya is also currently training in Hip Hop, Vintage, Tap, Jazz, Ballet and Modern Dance, achieving performance qualifications, so far, up to Grade 7/Intermediate, marked with Merit or Distinction. She has competed in many competitions such as BDO street dance, ISTD Tap Challenge in London and UDO, the largest street dance organisation, where her crew qualified for the British, European and the World Championships.

Anya has recently been awarded Wiltshire’s Best Young Performer of the year award, in the 14-19 years dance category.

Anya undertakes the role of Assistant Principal of Panthera Dance Company, supporting her sister Hatti in all aspects of the business as it grows. Immersed in all aspects of social media and vlogging, Anya will also help our online adventure as we create a vibrant Panthera community.

Jerry Dawson Managing Director:

After a distinguished career of thirty-nine years in law enforcement at Senior Command Level within the Police Service and National Crime Agency (NCA), Jerry brings his substantial organisational skills and deep appreciation of pastoral care to the company. As a previous Head of Wiltshire Police Public Protection, child safety and protecting the vulnerable is a key issue for him and these priorities are reflected in the Panthera Dance Company’s operating model.

Jerry has a comprehensive knowledge of both strategic and tactical planning nationally and internationally and has successfully managed multi-million pound budgets. He ensures the day-to-day running of Panthera Dance Company is maintained to the highest standard employing best practice principles at all times. His focus is to create an environment for the benefit and wellbeing of all the students and its employees.

Jerry has extensive dance management experience. He created and developed young peoples’ discos in numerous areas in Wiltshire under the banner of ‘Bluez n Zuz’, a very successful project that operated for over twelve years and was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) in 2012. This is nationally the highest award given to UK volunteer groups and the equivalent to an MBE.

He also received a Wiltshire Youth Justice award, a Community Police Authority Award and a Wiltshire Police Chief Constables Commendation for ‘Outstanding Achievement’ in relation to the Bluez n Zuz projects.

Jerry was awarded a Wiltshire Council ‘Exceptional Partnership Award’ for his management and leadership of the security coordination work carried out prior to and during the Olympic celebration events in Wiltshire in 2012.

He is a proud father to Harriet and Anya and a firm advocate of community, knowing that consultation, understanding and engagement are essential to delivering successful outcomes.

Schools Liaison Coordinator and Teacher: Amie Hawker

Amie started her dance training in the Wiltshire area, firstly at Morphew School of Dance and then with the Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) Contemporary programme at Swindon Dance. She went on to complete a BA and MA in Dance and Culture from the University of Surrey.

Since graduating Amie has established herself as a freelance dance teacher, leading dance sessions in a variety of youth and community environments. She has worked for a number of organisations and schools in the Wiltshire area, working with participants from pre-school age to mature adults. Alongside this, for the last three years Amie has also been the Coordinator for Swindon Dance’s CAT scheme, leading the administration, communication and support on the training scheme for young talented dancers. In addition, Amie is a qualified Level 3 pilates mat instructor.

Amie strongly believes that dance can be accessible and enjoyable for all, and takes great reward from witnessing participants reap the physical and psychological benefits dance provides.

Yoga Teacher: Ilona Coryndon Burns

Ilona is a 200hour Certified yoga teacher, completing her training at The Himalaya Yoga Valley in Goa, rated in the top 10 global yoga schools. Previous to her training, she has practised yoga for the last five years encompassing various styles giving her a deep understanding of the physical and philosophical nature of yoga.

Ilona is studying towards a qualification in Holistic Nutrition to complement her yoga teaching and offer lifestyle advice to all ages.

Her practice and teaching combines a strong foundation in balance, flexibility and strength with a focus on the importance of connecting with the breath and finding inner stillness.  She is passionate about passing on the benefits a yoga practice can offer, both on and off the mat.  In our chronically stressed modern world, her special focus is to ease the feelings of stress and anxiety in body and mind.

Keen to dissolve the myth that yoga is just for bendy/young/fit/energetic people, she will be offering a range of classes and workshops to cater for all levels of ability.  The classes will include gentle hatha, meditation and breath awareness techniques, dynamic vinyasa and ashtanga based practice.

Trained as a classical musician, Ilona has taken that knowledge into her classes in the form of sound healing.  Using traditional instruments including Tibetan singing bowls, koshi chimes, tinctures, hapi drum, voice and bells she weaves sound and music into her relaxations (savasana) at the end of classes and during the Tranquillity sessions.

Belly Dance Teacher: Sabine Dawson (Sabina Karima)

Sabine has studied and continues training with many ‘Raks Sharki/Belly Dance’ teachers,  here in UK, in Germany and in Middle Eastern and North African countries for more than 20 years.

Sabine has professionally performed but doesn’t anymore, however is looking to share her knowledge and passion for the beautiful art form that is Belly Dance.

Sabine is also a qualified community dance leader and a language tutor/teacher in adult education.

Classes at Panthera will practice Egyptian /Oriental Belly Dance as moderate exercise, a creative outlet and a friendly activity for like minded people who love to dance.

Tumble/Acro Teacher: Lisa Orchard

Lisa has been a gymnastics coach for over 10 years, starting her career as a volunteer.

Lisa went on to pursue her career, gaining a (UKG) United Kingdom Gymnastics Level 1 in general gymnastics and (BG) British Gymnastics Level 1 in women’s artistic’s. She has worked for a few organisations, working with participants from pre-school age to Adults.

Lisa also taught cheerleading for a number of years in which she was part of the team and consequently has competed at various venues in the UK, including Derby and Birmingham.

Personal Assistant and Children's Yoga Teacher: Sandra Ross

Having studied at Guildford School of Art, Sandra began her early career in graphic design, advertising and then on to marketing working in the city for some prestigious International accounts. After a career break to concentrate on my family, Sandra returned to work focusing on accounts and administration.  She has worked in various admin roles and enjoyed being part of a team.   Having initially joined Panthera as a keen yoga student, Sandra is now looking forward to helping and supporting Hatti and the Panthera team wherever she can.

Sandra has had plenty of Yoga experience, attending Ilona’s twice weekly classes and more. Sandra has also recently qualified as a certified Children’s Yoga Teacher.

Technical Dance Teacher: Athena Burns

Athena Burns has had a full career, both on and off the stage including working in TV, modelling, and representing her country under seven different titles, between 2008 and 2020. She has appeared in over thirty-two stage productions including London’s West End Touring Musicals, her favourites: Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Dorcas), West Side Story (dance captain), Grease (Rizzo), Fame (dance captain), and High School Musical (lead Gabrielle). Athena was also part of the Moulin Rouge, which was by far her favourite of all roles.

Athena attended the Liverpool Theatre School and College (LTSC) where she received her dance, drama, and singing qualifications and a scholarship to study professional musical theatre. During this time, she won Student of the Year for North West Students of Dance and obtained the highest classical grade winning Classical Ballerina of the Year 2010 – with a 98% in intermediate ballet. The same year, she was also selected for the Gladys Thorpe Memorial Award from the International Dance Teachers’ Association, competing against over 3000 hopefuls across Europe.

After graduating from LTSC, Athena attended the Merseyside Dance and Drama Centre where she studied all aspects of dance, drama, and musical theatre. There, she became qualified with the International Dance Teachers’ Association, London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, a Diploma in Dance Instruction (DDI) in all core subjects with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance.

After moving to Canada Athena took a role as a dance teacher at the Medicine Hat Conservatory of Music & Dance within 3 months she became to Interim Programme Manager of the dance department ‘I introduced new things to Alberta Canada, I impacted the competitions system introducing live vocals, character heels and stage management, dance history and anatomy, and physiology study to classes’.

In 2017 Athena left the college and moved into her own developed studio. She introduced a new method of teaching dance and even the first school in Canada to bring LAMDA exams in. 

Athena was accepted in 2017 as a full member of the Imperial Society of Teacher of Dance (ISTD)   Continued Professional Development is incredibly important to Athena. 

Within just one year alone she has undertaken an MA and professional research inquiry with the University of Middlesex, Completed her (DET) Diploma In Education & Training Level 5, Embarked on her QTLS Course, Began and was awarded a 2000.00 education scholarship with the ISTD – Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance to complete a Level 6 Dance Pedagogy (DDP).

Dance Teacher: Oleksandra Semeniuk AKA Sasha

Sasha is a choreographer, and dance teacher, with more than 5 years of experience working with children and adults. She also has over 12 years of experience in dance. Sasha specialises in Contemporary, Waakings and Heels.
She was a participant of all-Ukrainian and international competitions as a member of the “Soul crew” team.

“In teaching, I focus on creating a safe and pleasant space to maximize the students’ dance potential. Also in my classes I often use freestyle development techniques and practice improvisation.”

Dance Teacher: Sarah Eames

From her training at Kingston University London Sarah has achieved a First Class Bachelor of Arts Degree with Honours in Dance. While at University Sarah was the Team Captain of the Kingston University Dance Society where she was in charge of managing dance competitive teams and assisted these teams around the U.K. to their competitions. Her hard work paid off as every team she helped manage achieved a first place award at multiple competitions. During her time as Team Captain in the dance society the committee and herself lead the society to have their most successful year in history as a society.
Alongside managing the dance society Sarah was also a competitive dancer in all of their advanced teams which were in the styles of Hip Hop, Jazz, Contemporary and Latin.

During her time at University Sarah was given the opportunity to perform of the Move It 2022 main stage with her Latin team. This had been a dream of Sarah’s for many years while she grew up training in dance. The passion to perform and to share her knowledge of the dance industry motivates Sarah to help young dancers in training to achieve their dreams also.

Sarah is trained in a wide range of styles through the RAD and ISTD exam syllabus. Reflecting on her experience of growing up in dance studios she enjoys being in a creative space where she can work with other passionate dancers. She hopes assist each dancer in reaching their goals all while giving them a safe and fun environment to learn and grown in.

Dance Teacher: Elly Safe

Elly has been a dancer with Panthera since the opening, and has progressed into teacher training under both Hatti and Anya over the past year. Last term, Elly assisted many 4-7 and 8-11 classes, and now she has successfully completed our mentor programme with both a First Aid and Child Safeguarding certificate. Elly has contagious enthusiasm for dance, and is hoping to become a professional dancer in the future.

Elly is currently in her final year of a Dance Diploma. Elly has been a gymnast & cheerleader from the age of 5, where she competed very successfully in competitions across the UK. A couple of her highlights include the 2018 BCA Summer Showdown Senior Prep level 2 where she came 1st place and the 2019 BCA Fundamentals Senior Cheer Duo, also placing 1st Place.

‘I can’t wait to start teaching at Panthera, it’s a huge opportunity. I’m excited to see the children grow and progress whilst having me as their teacher.’

Dance Teacher: Olivia Storey

After completing all her dance exams in RAD ballet, and ISTD tap, modern and disco up to Advanced levels, Olivia went to study BA (Hons) Dance performance. She had so many amazing opportunities at university from performing in professional shows with Karen and Kevin Clifton, headlining Move It dance festival, competing in for the Dance Society in Tap and competing as a Cheerleader in stunting, pom and jazz. Olivia graduated with excellence in technical ability and went on to perform for Disney, Scatter Dance Company with The Place, Dance Captain for Parkdean Resorts Scotland, The Copacabana Touring Company, and The Justin Bieber Experience tour. Alongside my training and performing, Olivia has always had a passion for teaching and has been teaching for over 17 years. She’s taught dance and fitness all over the UK from Poole to Glasgow! Throughout her career Olivia has gained qualifications such as: Diploma in Dance Education with the ISTD in both Tap and Modern, Level 2 Support Work in Schools, ISTD Contemporary qualification and Level 2 Exercise to Music. Olivia looks forward to sharing her experience and knowledge with all the students at Panthera Dance Company!