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Nicola Simpson


Principal, Dance Teacher - LDI, DANZ

Nicola started dance training at aged four, initially in Cecchetti Ballet, eventually adding Jazz, Street Funk, Ballroom and other contemporary styles into her repertoire. Keenly interested in all things dramatic, Nicola become involved in local musical and theatre groups as a performer and choreographer, as well as teaching for community and church groups.


In 2012, she took up a teaching and managerial position with Spot On Movement in Oamaru, going on to open her own school, Living Arts, in 2015. Nicola is particularly interested in the creative process of dance and performance and its use as a therapeutic tool and was privileged to include classes designed for special needs students into her programme. She is excited to bring her passion for dance and the arts to the Clutha District.

Nicola is a registered teacher with Living Dance International (LDI), a member of DANZ and holds a Medi Train First Aid Certificate.

Nicola is married to Matthew, a secondary school teacher, and has one daughter and two adult step-children.

Jessica Neal

SDA Jess_edited_edited.jpg

Assistant Dance Teacher 

Jessica grew up in a musical family, where her mum taught piano and guitar. She started formal dance training at 4 years old - first in ballet and then a combined jazz/tap class. After a break to try out netball, she found tap and worked through American Tap grades 3-6. She then transferred to ISTD, completing Intermediate grade and starting Advanced 2 before moving away for university.

Over the years, Jessica has had many opportunities to perform including a one-off stint as a background dancer on children’s tv programme What Now.

In 2021, Jessica was invited to join the SDA team as an Assistant Teacher and to help set up the Tap dance programme after completing her Assistant Teaching certificate with LDI. She has a Bachelor of Chemistry with Honours from the University of Otago.

Jessica is married to Jason and has 3 wonderful children.

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