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The Team


Marlene's "Jazz It Up" Colac School of Dance team consists of the following key personnel plus a significant support by parents particularly during the Annual Performances and Local Community Events.  Our instructors are all required to have Working With Children checks for the safety of your children.


The Instructors / Choreographers 2016


Miss Marlene with Mao - Dec 2015

(exchange student from Japan) 






5 years Gymnastics Training

10 years Calisthenics Training and Teaching

40 years Dance Training in Classical Ballet

Theatrical, Jazz Modern, Classical Ballet

Training endorsed by Royal Academy of Dance

Licensed Zumba Instructor

30+ years teaching experience across all genres

10 years Professional Dancing including theatre restaurants,floor show performer, television, corporate functions, dance ensembles, freelancedance instructor, children’s pantomime including Disney and Hanna Barbera

Produced and Directed over 42 original stage productionsand choreographed Trinity Secondary College’s “13 The Musical” and “Aida”, andColac Players “Aladdin The Rock Panto”

Miss Marlene’sdancing foundations were established in Colac, starting training at four yearsold in gymnastics, calisthenics, theatrical dance, jazz modern and the Royal Academyof Dance syllabus (an internationally recognized training program in Classical Ballet).

With naturaltalent, strong technical skills, and working with mentors such as Rilda Cowan (FormerAustralian Ballet Company dancer), Lionel Foster (Gymnastics and Calisthenics coach),Rubin Martinstein (RAD Classical Ballet examiner and Ballet Master), MissMarlene began teaching and choreographing at 12 years of age.

Aftercompleting her year 11 studies at Colac Technical School, Miss Marlene moved toMelbourne to pursue a career in dance.

In 1988, afterone year of a full time dance course at Melbourne’s “Dance Factory”, Miss Marlene was selected to perform with the Jodie GreenwoodDancers and to become a teacher for the Australian College of Entertainersunder the instruction of Bert Shaw.

MissMarlene had an exciting career spanning more than 10 years performing incorporate functions, television shows, major Disney and Hanna-Barbera children’spantomimes (including the role of the famous Mickey Mouse in several premiereevents), and dancing professionally at “The Swagman” Theatre restaurant,

In1997 Miss Marlene returned to Colac to start a normal life with her son Tyson, andwas immediately asked to open a dance school to fill a void left by the closureof other schools.

MissMarlene has produced and directed over 42 original stage productions.

In1998 Miss Marlene established Marlene’s “Jazz It Up” School of Dance Colac –now  renamed as “Marlene’s School ofDance Colac” (MSOD) - with a vision to provide a safe and nurturing place wheredancers can aspire achieve their best. Miss Marlene created a teaching stylethat encourages high self-esteem in each of her students, understanding thatstudents who enjoy their environment will want to learn more, and that thelocal community needed a Dance School that would last the distance.

Theschool has produced professional teachers and dancers, gained recognition fromthe Australian Ballet, AUSPORT, VCE Dance Distance Education Victoria, theColac Otway Shire, and given its dancers opportunities to perform acrossVictoria.

MissMarlene has extended her choreographic talents by creating fully choreographedannual end of year productions that showcase the talent within the dance schoolcommunity and  local primary andsecondary school productions.

MissMarlene was trained for live performance, and her love of performance shinesthrough her students. Each of her students are encouraged to participate intheir local communities in any way they can, whether in their schoolproductions or wider community events.

Miss Marleneremarried in 2007 and has two children aged 7 and 8 to husband Ken who assistswith the administration of the Dance School and provides technical support toall events.

In 2010 theschool was judged one of 10 finalists in the “Dance the Dream” Australian Balletcompetition sponsored by the National Australia Bank.

In 2011, MissMarlene was recognised by the Colac Otway Shire at their annual Australia Dayawards, thanking her for her strong commitment to the local community, and for theeducation she has provided to so many local students in encouraging them toalways achieve their best.

2012 to 2014again demonstrated that Marlene’s passion for community is the driving forcebehind the continued success of MSOD.

In 2013 MissMarlene choreographed The Colac Players’ production “Aladdin – The Rock Panto”,Trinity Secondary College’s production “13 – The Musical”, then Trinity’sproduction “Aida” in 2014.

In 2013 theschool reached out and provided weekly dance classes in Apollo Bay

MSOD studentsregularly demonstrate their talents through performing for the delight of manydifferent audiences at community events not only in Colac, but also in Lorne,Apollo Bay, Ballarat and Geelong; and in professional events in Melbourne.

In 2013, MissMarlene created the “Dance for a Dollar” workshop program offering Dance Educationto the entire Colac and surrounding districts dance communities at anaffordable cost with the emphasis on local business support and sponsorship.

Marlenebelieves that many hands make light work when it comes to supporting and educatingour children to give them the best opportunities and skills to succeed, so in2014 the MSOD Network was created to assist with such events in the future.

In 2015, MSODcollaborated with CircArts and KidsPlace Circus School to develop ongoing supportto other regional providers. We look forward to further collaborativeopportunities throughout 2016 and beyond.





Miss Chloe Gibson

Chloecommenced her dance training at MSOD

Inher 13 years of dance training at MSOD, Chloe studied a wide genre of dancestyles and participated in numerous Kana Festivals, Anam Cara Balls, SplashDance and SuperCats HalfTime Performances.

Outsideof MSOD, Chloe has performed in Red Door Theatre Productions’ “The Wedding Singer”and many Trinity Secondary College Productions.

Afterleaving MSOD, Chloe trained for 3 years at Spectrum Dance (which happens to be oneof the best full-time schools in Melbourne!) being guided by amazing directors andteachers.

Duringher time at Spectrum Dance, Chloe participated in many professional jobs in theindustry; at charity events including FashionAid (Leo Sayer’s back up dancer),Red Ball and Save our Sons, corporate events at Crown Casino, flash mobs,character suit work, Roving Entertainment at Crown Casino, as a mascot for theSt Kilda AFL Football Club in2015, plus many more events.

Chloe’sTV Credits include the AFL Grand Final Footy Show Player Revue 2013-15, Open SlatherComedy Show, film clips, and Bugs Bunny on WB Kids.

In2015, Chloe represented Melbourne Storm as a part of their cheerleading squad …and the list goes on!

Chloehas completed her Certificates 3 and 4in Fitness, Certificate 3 in Communityand Recreation specializing in Dance Instructing, Certificate4 in Dance, and her Diploma inMusical Theatre.

Chloepreviously taught for eight years at MSOD, and completed a Dance Traineeship withMiss Marlene.

Chloe isexcited and can’t wait to be back where she started to help everyone grow, be

reunited andmost importantly have fun with you all!






Miss Ashley Boyd

Ashley hasbeen dancing for 20 years and has trained in many styles of dance including jazz,tap, contemporary, commercial/hip hop and musical theatre.

She began herdance training with New Talent Group where she gained many performing and choreographicopportunities.

Ashley hasperformed in many local theatre productions such as The Producers, Aladdin, TheLittle Mermaid, The Mikado and Anything Goes, to name a few.

In 2013,Ashley choreographed Christian College’s “The Wizard of Oz”, and Centrestage Geelong’s“Guys and Dolls” in 2014, and is currently choreographing “Oklahoma!” which opensin April this year.

For the past sevenyears, Ashley has danced with Parallax Dance Company where she thoroughlyenjoys the opportunity to teach and perform on stage each year with such talentedperformers.

Ashley hasjust completed her Bachelor of Secondary Education majoring in Dance and Psychologyat Deakin University Burwood and hopes to very soon be teaching in a local secondaryschool.

Ashley is very excited to becomepart of the team at MSOD and hopes that her experience in dance can help tocontribute positively to each one of her students in their own dance journey.







Miss Kylie Williamson

Kylie was bornin Colac, but lived in Geelong for 12 years where she trained as a gymnas forthree years at the YMCA.

In 2003, Kyliecompleted her Victorian Gymnastics Australia Certificate of Coaching i Women'sArtistic Gymnastics.

Kylie begancoaching at Colac Gymnastics Academy in 2000 with Jacinta Haye includedcoaching KinderGym and Boys Gymnastics classes.

Kylie has beenconducting Active After Schools Communities Programs with various primary schoolsfor over eight years.

When JacintaHayes retired, Kylie purchased Colac Gymnastics Academy with Renee Wood, andran it for three years.

While runningthe Colac Gymnastics Academy the students regularly performed in GymStar competitionsthroughout Victoria.

Kylie says she loves teachingGymnastics and believes it is the perfect job for her.

Kylie is very excited to be inher third year of coaching at Marlene's School of Dance gives her theopportunity to show that anyone can do it if they have drive and passion to havea go.



Miss Amber Riches

After completing her undergraduate degree in Dance at Deakin University in 2010, Amber went on to study her Honours in Contemporary Dance at the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts as part of Link Dance Company. With Link, she worked with world-renowned choreographers, performed for Ausdance WA, toured through Europe and nationally around Australia. Through her experiences and exposure she has been able to teach across the country, develop her practice and contemporary style of choreography. Now teaching at Stage School Australia, Amber is completing her Masters of Arts at RMIT and taking the next step to work with major artistic institutions in dance. 2014 marks Miss Amber’s 12th year teaching and choreographing for MSOD Colac, which has played an essential role in the shaping of her career.



Mr Zack Hawkins

Zackis an Existdance 5th GenerationBboy who has been performing with Existdance crews and various dance schoolssince 2012.

Zackis a Level 5 performer with a 97.5% score on Level 4.

Zack(also known as Bboy Monsta) is a master of strength moves and has completed andperformed in 2theXtreme, Crown in the Round, Trick or Treat, and is a Bboy competitionwinner and judge.

Zackhas attended workshops from Bboys such as Bboy Blonde, Simonsta, Leerok, andHong


WhenZack isn’t dancing he enjoys gaming camping, exploring, playing guitar, anddriving his car, Roxy!

2016marks Zack’s 2nd yearteaching at MSOD


Miss Carolyn Dawes

Carolyn(Caz) loves performing and is passionate about creating new and alternativetheatre.

In2015 she completed a Bachelor of Creative Arts, Honours at Deakin University,Melbourne with a double major in Drama and Dance.

RecentlyCaz performed her self-devised, physical theatre solo piece …I’m just not that interesting at theOwl and Cat Theatre in Richmond.

Cazfeatured in multiple student films throughout 2013 – 2015, along with YouthWorks Saint Kilda’s short film Youth InAction-Family Violence Film (2015).

Musicis also a huge part of Caz’s life, with extensive skills in voice (AMEB grade4) and piano (AMEB grade 6), which she loves integrating with her own theatremaking.

Working withFresh Youth Theatre, Melbourne has allowed Caz to realise her interest in thebenefits that the arts can bring to young people, and she strives to use herskills to encourage confidence and enjoyment to those she works with.


Specialist Support


Miss Kara Backhous


Mr Jami Blomeley

Lead Assistants and Assistants

Miss Carly, Miss Courtney, MissDarcy, Miss Ebony, Mr Jess, Miss Molly, Miss Ruby, Miss Sheridan, Miss Sophie B,Miss Sophie M

Home PageDance Classes / TuitionWhat we doStudent HandbookThe TeamCostumes for HireSpecial Dates, Events & TimetablesNewslettersClass AttireAnnual Performance PhotosFees & Charges, Terms & ConditionsChild Safe, Ethics & PoliciesContact UsAustralia Our Country