Our Staff

Melanie Dudman




Melanie is the principal of Allied Schools of Dance. Melanie studied dance locally at Allied Schools of Dance and Susan Robinson School of Ballet and was a Junior Associate of the Royal Ballet School at the age of 9. She went on to win many national competitions and festivals, including the All England Dance competition. She was one of 10 students accepted onto the Royal Ballet School's prestigious Teacher Training Course at the age of 16 and graduated in 1991 having been awarded the Jean Bedells prize for gaining the highest marks in her RAD teaching exams. The course was considered to be one of the best in the world for teacher training and included study in RAD ballet, ISTD national, Benesh notation, Classical Spanish, contemporary, Cecchetti ballet, music appreciation, anatomy, character and repetoire. Her teachers included Valerie Adams, Hope Keelan, Denise Winmill, Madame Ana Ricarda, Maria Fay, Valerie Sunderland, Mikhail Berkut, Vivienne Saxton and Robert Harold amongst others. Following her graduation Melanie then moved to Mainz, Germany to teach ballet before returning to Allied Schools of Dance to take up the role of Principal in 2008. 

Melanie is a highly qualified and experienced teacher whose expertise spans the youngest pupils through to senior level training and preparing students for vocational dance training. Currently Melanie teaches and enters students of all ages for RAD and BBO examinations as well as running Allied Schools of Dance, organising shows, festivals and events. She is also a talented choreographer with her work winning awards at the All England National Finals in London.



Jill Baird

Cert Ed (London) AISTD (National, Imperial Ballet, Greek)

Ballet Teacher and Festival Choreographer


Jill trained at Betty Pattison College in Coventry and was awarded very prestigious RAD Scholarship at only 10 years old. Her principal training was in Classical Ballet, National, Greek, Singing, Drama and Modern, and she appeared in numerous professional Theatre productions, winning several medals at the Sunshine Competition (now All England Dance). Following an injury at the RBS, she trained for three years as a dance and academic teacher at Trent Park College (now Middlesex University) then worked in academic schools for several years, followed by freelancing as a private dance teacher locally. Over thirty years ago she set up Woodley School of Ballet with just six pupils, later opening branches in Earley, Wokingham and Warfield, and these schools later became merged into Allied Schools of Dance.

Gaining a national reputation for outstanding training in Classical Ballet, National and Greek dance, Jill has sent hundreds of dancers into the profession over the years. Her students have appeared at every Regional and National Finals of All England Dance since its inception, with numerous dances she has choreographed winning medals, including many National Finals winners. Students have been equally successful in gaining places in full-time training as dancers and teachers and winning scholarships; and former pupils can be found all over the world, dancing in the West End, in Dance companies, on cruises and performing in films and on television. Over many years a large number of students have been accepted onto the Royal Ballet School’s courses as Junior, Mid and Senior Associates, and also into White Lodge, The Upper School of the RBS and the Teacher Training Course. Many of her former pupils are also teaching dance at home and abroad, passing on the love of dance to their own students.




Kathryn Barnes

Jazz and Musical Theatre Teacher


Training: Graduating from London Studio Centre with the Sheila O’Neill Award for ‘Excellence in Musical Theatre’, Kathryn has recently finished performing in the UK/Ireland Tour of The Addams Family, a Musical Comedy.

Other Credits include: The Addams Family - A Musical Comedy (The Theatre at Mediacorps, Singapore), The Addams Family - A Musical Comedy (UK/Ireland Tour), Chitty Bang Bang (UK/Ireland Tour), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Cats (West End Revival at the London Palladium), Cats (UK/International Tour), Oliver! (Sheffield Theatres), Sleeping Beauty (Courtyard Theatre), The Boyfriend (Her Majesty’s Theatre) & Footloose (Greenwich Theatre).

Television: Sunday Night at the London Palladium & Tonight at the London Palladium on ITV.



Lucinda Belcher

Tap and Modern Teacher








Zoe Binden

Ballet & Conditioning Teacher


Zoe was a student at Allied Schools of Dance for many years and was Head Girl from 2016-2018. Whilst at Allied, Zoe studied BBO Ballet and ISTD Tap & Modern to advanced level, performed at the All England Dance and ISTD Greek Finals and gained a place on the BBO Jazz Scholarship scheme. She then trained at the Urdang Academy, graduating in 2021 with a first class BA(Hons) in Professional Dance & Music Theatre. Zoe's first taste of teaching was on the Student Teacher program at Allied, and whilst training at Urdang she taught weekend classes in jazz, ballet and tap at a dance school in London as well as coming back to cover classes at Allied. She is now studying for her ISTD DDE teaching qualifications, and is excited to be back at Allied as a teacher.



Nichola Darwin

Office Manager


Nichola is the Office Manager for Allied. She has a background in the arts with an honours degree in Three Dimensional Design and currently runs her own part time business making and selling ceramics. She also has experience in retail management and was an area support manager and new manager trainer for any years before leaving to start a family. She has been an active volunteer and helper at Allied Schools of Dance for many years while her daughter Willow progressed through the school. Willow is now in full time music training after gaining a love of performing through her time on stage at Allied and winning many awards at local, regional and national festivals. From chief lipstick applier at festivals to props mistress for the show and for many years sold the uniform for the school, Nichola has loved being involved and being part of the Allied family. Now she has taken up a background role to help free up valuable time to allow Melanie to concentrate on what she does best.







Jade Gingell

Admin Assistant


A former student at Allied, Jade attended Read Performing Arts College before leaving to start a family. She now works at The Hexagon Theatre and runs her own craft business whilst performing Allied admin in her spare time. Jade's love of dance and performing has been passed on to her children who now attend the school.



Ellie, Olivia and Bryony

Our head team


Our Head Girl and deputies work very hard to create harmony within the school. They are the bond between the teaching staff and the students. 

All of our senior students help out behind the scenes at festivals, medal tests and exams and many are on our student teaching programme. 



Amy King

Guest Teacher


Amy graduated from Performers College in 2013, where she achieved a Level 6 National Diploma in Musical Theatre and gained her ISTD DDI Teaching qualifications in Classical Ballet and Modern Dance.
Her theatre experience includes; dancer for Qdos Entertainment working onboard Cunard Queen Victoria; appearing in Aladdin, Cinderella and Snow White as a dancer for new pantomime productions (King’s Theatre Portsmouth); dancer for Headliners Theatre Company working onboard P&O Oceana; dancer and understudy fairy in Jack in the Beanstalk (Pomegranate Theatre Chesterfield); 'Nora Shattock' in Peace In Our Time (The Village Theatre); ensemble in Young Frankenstein (Millfield Theatre); dancer for Daisy Ball (Grosvenor House London); dancer for RAF Bomber Memorial (Green Park).




Emma Humpleman


Guest teacher


Emma began dancing at a young age at local dance schools, including Jill Baird, taking part in festivals, shows and winning medals at The All England dance competition.
After successfully auditioning for many Vocational Dance Schools, The Royal Ballet School, Central School of Ballet and Elmhurst, Emma began her professional training at Rambert School of Ballet, graduating with her Diploma in Classical Ballet and Contemporary.

Emma then went on to train for a further 3 years at The Royal Academy of Dance graduating with a high level Teaching Diploma and Licenciate of the RAD in 1995. Whilst there Emma also studied for her Solo Seal, ISTD modern and national exams and became an Associate teacher of the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing In National Dance.

Since 1995 Emma has taught babies to Adults helping them gain the most out of their dancing, many of which have gone on to successful dance careers. During this time Emma was also an artistic gymnastics coach and judge at County Level, working with the British Gymnastics Association on the Choreography and Dance module and later taught and examined other coaches.

Emma joined the West London School of Dance team in 2014 also taught for Young Dancers Academy Associate Programme.



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