Our team

Holly Diggle – Studio Founder, Owner, and Director

Holly Diggle is the founder, owner, and director of Dance Northside. In 2006, she purchased what was then a small ballet academy, and has grown the studio into a diverse, vibrant community of over 420 dancers. Holly is proud to carry on a now 36-year-old tradition of running dance classes at Kaleen Community Hall in her 18th year in business. 

Holly’s first exposure to dance was as a child in Edinburgh, at a studio that had a strong sense of community. People of all ages and skill levels danced together, connecting with their souls and each other through the body. Holly went on to study dance, obtaining a BA in Dance Performance (Theory and Practice) and a Diploma in Dance Teaching and Management. She also holds an RYT 200hr Yoga Teacher Certificate and a 50hr Kids Yoga Teacher Certificate, both accredited with Yoga Alliance, she is a qualified Acrobatic Arts instructor and is currently undertaking a Diploma of Counselling.

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Earlier in her career, Holly performed professionally across Australia and overseas. Her work in Mirramu Dance Company’s ‘River’ earned Holly a nomination for ‘Most Outstanding Female Performer’ in the Australian Dance Awards. She won the ‘Most Outstanding Choreography Award’ and the ‘People’s Choice Award’ for her contact improvisation performances with Keira Mason-Hill at the Short and Sweet Dance Festival.

Inspired by her experiences in the industry, Holly wanted to create a space for children and adults to discover the healing power of dance and the simple joy of movement – without being subject to objectification, adultification, unrealistic expectations of perfection, and the pressure of competition. So, she started Dance Northside, a studio that provides fun, age-appropriate, recreational dance classes and community-focused performance opportunities. Taking a holistic approach to dance education, Holly’s hope is that her students become not only competent dancers, but happy, self-assured, and well-rounded individuals. As a certified Youth Protection Advocate in Dance, Holly is helping shift the dance industry’s focus onto child safety and wellbeing. 

Holly’s desire to create a safe and inclusive space also comes from her own lived experience of neurodiversity. As someone with dyslexia and ADHD, Holly understands that whilst such conditions present a challenge, they can be superpowers when channelled effectively and are in no way an impediment to success. This makes Holly all the more aware and convinced of the need to offer dance classes in a nurturing and supportive environment, where people of any ability can reach their full potential.      

Holly has over two decades of teaching experience in a variety of settings, including dance studios, schools, and universities, refugee groups, women in recovery, and youth at risk. In addition, Holly offers one on one and small group sessions for neurodivergent children, curating the environment to one that best suits the needs of the individual. 

Holly’s specialty is an inclusive, inspiring, energetic, and FUN dance class across just about any style and age group. Her teaching philosophy and methodology are centred around providing a positive, confidence-building experience for her students, supporting them to become physically and mentally strong.  

Today, alongside raising her two young children, Holly really enjoys teaching Little Leapers, Acrodance, Adults JFH, Adults Contemporary, and the Performance Team at Dance Northside. She also loves connecting the community by running events and in-house performances, as well as mentoring her staff and student leaders. The people are what make Dance Northside such an amazing place to be, and Holly sees building those relationships as the most rewarding aspect of her role.

Holly is grateful to have received recognition for her achievements as a studio owner.  In 2014, she was honoured to be acknowledged as a notable alumnus of the ACT public school system, for going on to become a leader in her chosen field. Holly has been named a finalist in the Canberra Women in Business Awards (2018), Australian Small Business Champion Awards (2022), Canberra Region Local Business Awards (2022), and AusMumpreneur Awards (2022). In 2022, she won a Women With Altitude Brave award.

Holly thanks you for choosing Dance Northside. Welcome to our community! 

Cara – Studio Manager

Cara’s dance journey began at Dance Northside at age five. Over the years she has trained in hip hop, jazz, contemporary, ballet, and lyrical. She was a valued member of the Dance Northside Performance Team for 6 years, enjoying performing with her team mates across numerous performances throughout Canberra.

Cara is a highly skilled and experienced Dance Teacher, having undertaken extensive in house training, and has taught the Dance Northside community for 6 years across many styles and age ranges. 

In 2023 Cara was promoted to Customer Relations Manager, and in 2024 she stepped up again to take on the role of Studio Manager. A position she has earned through her profound understanding of the studio’s values gained through lived experience over her 14 years at Dance Northside. 

In addition to her work at Dance Northside, Cara is currently undertaking a degree in Occupational Therapy at the University of Canberra. 

Cara strives to make everyone who comes into contact with Dance Northside feel included, welcomed, supported and well informed.

Our Dance Teachers

Ellie

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Ellie started dancing at the age of five, at National Capital Ballet School. Specialising in ballet and contemporary, she moved to Canberra Dance Development Centre in 2014 before joining Dance Northside in 2018. She has been a part of the Dance Northside Performance Team for three years and as a result has danced at numerous festivals around Canberra.

Ellie has undergone training as part of the DanceStep program with Dance Teacher Laura Gerstenberg and Niamh Martin. She is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Contemporary European Studies and Arts at the ANU.

Holly Diggle

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Holly Diggle is the founder, owner, and director of Dance Northside. In 2006, she purchased what was then a small ballet academy, and has grown the studio into a diverse, vibrant community of over 420 dancers. Holly is proud to carry on a now 36-year-old tradition of running dance classes at Kaleen Community Hall in her 18th year in business. 

Holly’s first exposure to dance was as a child in Edinburgh, at a studio that had a strong sense of community. People of all ages and skill levels danced together, connecting with their souls and each other through the body. Holly went on to study dance, obtaining a BA in Dance Performance (Theory and Practice) and a Diploma in Dance Teaching and Management. She also holds an RYT 200hr Yoga Teacher Certificate and a 50hr Kids Yoga Teacher Certificate, both accredited with Yoga Alliance, she is a qualified Acrobatic Arts instructor and is currently undertaking a Diploma of Counselling. 

Earlier in her career, Holly performed professionally across Australia and overseas. Her work in Mirramu Dance Company’s ‘River’ earned Holly a nomination for ‘Most Outstanding Female Performer’ in the Australian Dance Awards. She won the ‘Most Outstanding Choreography Award’ and the ‘People’s Choice Award’ for her contact improvisation performances with Keira Mason-Hill at the Short and Sweet Dance Festival.

Inspired by her experiences in the industry, Holly wanted to create a space for children and adults to discover the healing power of dance and the simple joy of movement – without being subject to objectification, adultification, unrealistic expectations of perfection, and the pressure of competition. So, she started Dance Northside, a studio that provides fun, age-appropriate, recreational dance classes and community-focused performance opportunities. Taking a holistic approach to dance education, Holly’s hope is that her students become not only competent dancers, but happy, self-assured, and well-rounded individuals. As a certified Youth Protection Advocate in Dance, Holly is helping shift the dance industry’s focus onto child safety and wellbeing. 

Holly’s desire to create a safe and inclusive space also comes from her own lived experience of neurodiversity. As someone with dyslexia and ADHD, Holly understands that whilst such conditions present a challenge, they can be superpowers when channelled effectively and are in no way an impediment to success. This makes Holly all the more aware and convinced of the need to offer dance classes in a nurturing and supportive environment, where people of any ability can reach their full potential.      

Holly has over two decades of teaching experience in a variety of settings, including dance studios, schools, and universities, refugee groups, women in recovery, and youth at risk. In addition, Holly offers one on one and small group sessions for neurodivergent children, curating the environment to one that best suits the needs of the individual. 

Holly’s specialty is an inclusive, inspiring, energetic, and FUN dance class across just about any style and age group. Her teaching philosophy and methodology are centred around providing a positive, confidence-building experience for her students, supporting them to become physically and mentally strong.  

Today, alongside raising her two young children, Holly really enjoys teaching Little Leapers, Acrodance, Adults JFH, Adults Contemporary, and the Performance Team at Dance Northside. She also loves connecting the community by running events and in-house performances, as well as mentoring her staff and student leaders. The people are what make Dance Northside such an amazing place to be, and Holly sees building those relationships as the most rewarding aspect of her role.

Holly is grateful to have received recognition for her achievements as a studio owner.  In 2014, she was honoured to be acknowledged as a notable alumnus of the ACT public school system, for going on to become a leader in her chosen field. Holly has been named a finalist in the Canberra Women in Business Awards (2018), Australian Small Business Champion Awards (2022), Canberra Region Local Business Awards (2022), and AusMumpreneur Awards (2022). In 2022, she won a Women With Altitude Brave award.

Holly thanks you for choosing Dance Northside. Welcome to our community!

Maddi

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Maddi started dance at the very young age of 3, at first being introduced to the styles of ballet and contemporary. From 2016 onward, she began to expand her dancing palette, training in the styles of hip hop, modern dance, jazz, and Broadway at STEPZ South Coast Dance Academy.

In 2020-2021, Maddi gained teaching experience through the completion of HSC Dance, working with dancers to create solos and duets that explore unique choreographic intent. That teaching practise has continued over the past couple of years, involving choreography in school musical numbers and dance night performances.

Maddi has continued her personal training through performing in AASCF States (NSW) & Nationals (QLD) as a member of the ANU Competitive Dance Team: Premier Hip Hop Team in 2022. She has also increased her hip hop knowledge through attending various workshops by the NZ mega hip hop dance crew known as The Royal Family.

In addition to teaching hip hop in Canberra, she is currently studying a Bachelor of Visual Arts at the Australian National University.

Erin

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Erin is an experienced dancer, starting dancing at the age of four with the Jill Glastonbury Ballet Academy. She has trained in a range of dance styles, and has taught tap, cecchetti ballet, jazz and lyrical dance. Erin enjoys choreographing and has received several awards at choreographic competitions.

Erin joined Dance Northside’s adult contemporary class a number of years ago and has recently joined the staff to teach ballet and jazz classes. Her main goals in teaching are to build skills, confidence and creativity in her students, all within a fun and supportive environment.

Cara

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Cara’s dance journey began at Dance Northside at age five. Over the years she has trained in hip hop, jazz, contemporary, ballet, and lyrical. She was a valued member of the Dance Northside Performance Team for 6 years, enjoying performing with her team mates across numerous performances throughout Canberra.

Cara is a highly skilled and experienced Dance Teacher, having undertaken extensive in house training, and has taught the Dance Northside community for 6 years across many styles and age ranges. 

In 2023 Cara was promoted to Customer Relations Manager, and in 2024 she stepped up again to take on the role of Studio Manager. A position she has earned through her profound understanding of the studio’s values gained through lived experience over her 14 years at Dance Northside. 

In addition to her work at Dance Northside, Cara is currently undertaking a degree in Occupational Therapy at the University of Canberra. 

Cara strives to make everyone who comes into contact with Dance Northside feel included, welcomed, supported and well informed. 

 

Sharon

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Sharon started dance at the age of 3 and trained in ballet, jazz, tap & contemporary until her first teaching employment at Fred Astaire Dance Studios in Canberra. She has 2 amazing kids, and is a single mum as well as a qualified Graphic Designer, Illustrator and Caricaturist, designing the 1996 Australian Tax Pack Cover, and has taught many classes of both Zumba and ballroom at Radford College over the years.

In 2000, Sharon competed and placed 4th in the international Fred Astaire Argentine Tango Showcase Division. She later appeared and placed 3rd on the 2005 season of the ABC television program, Strictly Dancing. Sharon is the 4-time undefeated Professional On2 ACT Salsa Champion. She also created and organised her own glamourous, friendly, independent Smooth and Rhythm competition, “ASDAC – The Outback Crown,” bringing world champions to inspire us isolated Aussies. Over 10 years, ASDAC built up a world-class reputation.

Sharon is a qualified Zumba Fitness, Zumba Kids, Strong by Zumba (now called Strong Nation), and Zumba Gold, Toning and Gold Toning instructor. She holds Associate and Licentiate degrees as well as Fellowships in nine smooth and rhythm ballroom dance styles. In 2016, Sharon successfully undertook the USISTD/AIDA Examiners Assessment, achieving her goal after 10 years of study, experience and innovation. She is one of only 11 such Examiners in the world, and the first and only one outside of the USA.

Sharon was the Co-Owner and -Creative Director of Danzon Dance Studio from 2004 – 2021. In 2017, Sharon created the “Articulate” Dance Training Program – her own teaching method based on 20 years of teaching, performances, competitions, mentoring, and experiencing the joy that students feel when they are happy and successful within themselves. Because the world is only about people, and we deserve to be treated with kindness and respect, to be accepted for who we are, and to feel joy – values that align directly with Dance Northside’s, which is why Sharon is so excited to be part of the team.

Eleanor

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Eleanor began dancing at the age of 7 when she joined one of Dance Northside’s Kids Funk classes. Finding a love for this dance style, she has continued taking funk/hip hop classes at Dance Northside for over 9 years. As well as hip hop, Eleanor has taken ballet classes and workshops at Dance Northside, and has been a part of the Performance Team since 2019, extending her skills in hip hop, contemporary and jazz while performing all around Canberra. With Dance Northside as a constant, Eleanor danced at QL2 Dance for two years, further extending her skills in contemporary and ballet. While dancing at QL2, Eleanor also took part in a youth choreography project.

Eleanor has undertaken training as a dance instructor through the DanceStep program at Dance Northside since early 2021, under the guidance of dance teachers Laura Gerstenberg, Emma Wilson, Ellie Crnkovic and others.

Eleanor regards Dance Northside and its values of kindness, respect and community as very important in her everyday life and strives to apply these values to create a warm, caring environment for young dancers to learn, have fun and to love dance as much as she does.

Talia

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Talia began to dance at Dance Northside in 2009, at the age of 5. She was a member of the Performance Team for seven years, where she had various performance opportunities at local events and Dance Northside concerts. Talia is a passionate contemporary dancer trained in ballet, jazz, lyrical and hip hop.

Talia has completed a Certificate III in Early Childhood Education and Care. She works as an educator at a childcare centre and enjoys working with young children and helping them learn and have fun. She began working as an Assistant with Dance Teacher Rebecca Allan in 2020 and was a member of the DanceStep program at Dance Northside.

Talia has a strong child-focused approach to teaching, which aligns with the Dance Northside values of kindness, respect and community.

Talia enjoys welcoming new members to the Dance Northside community, encouraging everybody to join in and dance.

Issy

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Issy began dance at the age of four at the Classical Ballet Centre Canberra, training in classical ballet and tap until she was nine.

In 2016, at age 11, Issy returned to dance at Dance Northside starting with jazz and extending her training to include ballet, contemporary, and hip hop. Issy was also a member of the Performance Team for four years and has performed extensively throughout Canberra.

Issy has undertaken teacher training since 2020 through the DanceStep program at Dance Northside.

Issy feels a strong connection to the Dance Northside values of kindness, respect and community and aims to create a safe, inclusive environment for her students to have fun and grow their love and connection to dance.

Jahna

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Jahna has been dancing since the age of 4. She’s done many styles, including Ballet, Acro, Jazz, Lyrical, Contemporary, Hip hop, Commercial and First Nation Traditional Dance. 

Some of Jahna’s biggest achievements; Performing with ADT (Australian Dance Theatre) in their work, Savage- 2022, QL2 x BDA (Bangkok Dance Academy) Thailand tour exchange- 2023, Choreographed a Hot to Trot piece called Hazy Misconceptions-2023, NSW Aboriginal Youth Dance Company (Bangarra)-2021 and TDP (Talented Dance Program) at Erindale College- 2022-2023. 

Jahna has been focusing on Modern Contemporary dance for 3 years. Her favourite thing about Contemporary, is that it allows her mind and body to create and move, through articulation and abstract outlets and ideas. Jahna also has a deep love for improvisation and freestyle, as it releases her movements from any expectations. 

This is the first year Jahna has fully taken on the role as a dance teacher, having previously taught workshops and small groups. She is excited to share her knowledge, along with supporting her students to grow in creativity, values and their love for dance.