Staff Profiles

Elaine Milbourne

Elaine Milbourne
I established The Elaine Milbourne Performing Arts School (EMPAS) in 1980 (formerly Elaine Milbourne Theatre Dance School) and developed it from a couple of nights a week in a community centre offering dance classes into a full performing arts centre operating seven days a week offering all aspects of performance as we do today.

I am very passionate about the performing arts and always maintain the highest standards in behaviour and teaching. The team of teaching professionals who work with me all have the highest level of expertise and range of skills to bring out the best in all of our pupils. Seeing pupils develop their individuality and ability is a pleasure to see as is the increased confidence and teamwork pupils gain from attending the EMPAS.

I am a lifetime member of the International Dance Teachers Association (IDTA) after over 40 years of membership and I am currently treasurer of the IDTA Tyneside area. I have taught dance in the west end of Newcastle upon Tyne for over 40 years and feel the IDTA syllabus offers an excellent training in all areas of dance and musical theatre. The syllabuses are updated regularly the work is always very topical and challenging.

Amy Nicholson

Being Elaine’s daughter I have danced with the school since being 3 years old, and have trained in all theatre subjects up to an advanced level. I have performed at Her Majesty’s Theatre, London and DisneyLand Paris as well as taking part in numerous shows, amateur dramatic performances and competitions over my youth.

As well as teaching at the school, I also work in the office helping with all aspects of the business. I am a fully qualified member of the IDTA having completed my Level 4 Diploma in Dance Teaching as well as my pre-associate qualifications and my IDTA Anatomy and Physiology Diploma. I am also trained in Paediatric First Aid and I have my safeguarding certificate.

Being part of EMPAS has and always will be a huge part of my life, I love teaching the talented children at the school and achieving a high standard of results as well as having fun!

Debbie WilsonDebbie Wilson - EMPAS Teacher

I have taught dance at the Elaine Milbourne Performing Art School for over 20 years and have enjoyed every moment. The school has a great atmosphere and buzz about it.

I danced from being a young child competing in many dance competitions, dancing in theatres and dance school shows and presentations before moving on to a vocational school to further my dance education. I worked professionally for nine years travelling around the world seeing some amazing places such as Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and many European countries. In between contracts I worked in panto and other dance related projects.

I am also a qualified fitness instructor. Although my other passion apart from dance is my love of yoga, which I am also currently teaching.

Alex Mitchinson

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After graduating from Laine Theatre Arts Alex worked as a dancer in Musical Theatre, TV, Film and as a commercial dancer and model for 12 years. Her credits include Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire- Beaux Baton Student, Miss Perigrine’s School for Peculiar Children – Contemporary dancer for C.G.I. motion caption, Take That – dancer, Gulliver’s Travels – dancer, The Duchess – dancer and dance coach to Kiera Knightly, Ryvita Commercial -Fern Britton’s body, The Charlotte Church Show – dancer, Thomson Holidays Musical Revue – Resident Choreographer, Thursford Christmas Show – Dancer and Swing dancer, to name but a few. Since then Alex has moved into teaching and Choreography, working with the Ballet Lorent company, Northumbria University, Dance City, and delivering Lyrical, Ballet, Tap and Contemporary workshops throughout the North East region. Alex loves being part of the EMPAS team and teaching the talented and hard working students.

Louise Taylor

IMG_3198 Louise graduated from Laine Theatre Arts with an Honors Degree in Professional Dance as well as her associate teaching qualifications with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance in Ballet & Tap.
She went on to work very successfully in Theatre, Film & Television. During her 12 years as a professional dancer, Louise had the honor of working alongside many talented performers & leading industry choreographers in the UK and Internationally.
Some of her credits include:
Spirit of the Dance (World Tour), The Lewis London Ballet Company (UK Tour),Princess Cruise Lines (Lead Soloist Dancer & Aerialist), Costa Cruise Lines (Dancer & Soloist), Tim Burtons Charlie & The Chocolate Factory (Salt & Nut Girl), Qdos Entertainment (Dancer), Elite Performers (Dancer – commercial & Corporate Events UK), Underwraps Management (Dancer & soloist/adagio couple).
Jamie King (Nike & MTV), Paulette Minnot & Louie Spence (TV-Bump & Grind), Danny Teeson (Motor City/Broadway), Karen Bruce (West End Rhythms of the City & 42nd Street), Arlene Phillips (Various Musical Theatre projects), Adrian Allsop (Openwide International), Wayne Russell (Salon International).

Louise worked with “Flying By Foy” for many years as an aerial demonstrator & Performer in T.V, Film & Theatre, and extensively in the modeling industry, traveling internationally for hair shows, catwalk and editorial contracts for global companies, such as Redken 5th Ave NYC, L’Oreal, Pringle of Scotland, Protest Boardwear, Toni & Guy and Inferno Clothing Los Angeles.

On top of all this, for more than a decade having been a well respected teacher and choreographer, she has choreographed for many leading UK Theatre Schools and vocational Performing Arts Colleges including Loughborough University as a choreographer & Judge at their annual UK dance Competitions.
She has spent the past 5 years living and working in the USA, Teaching and choreographing at The Dr Phillips performing Arts Centre (Orlando Florida), The Broward Centre for the Performing Arts (Ft Lauderdale), Nova Southeastern University(Ft Lauderdale), Florida International University (Miami) and Broward College (Ft Lauderdale), as well as being one of the leading Barre Instructors in South Florida!

Louise has now returned to the UK permanently and is very excited to be back teaching at EMPAS!

Sofi Johnson

Sofi trained in Ballet, Tap, Modern, Song and Dance, Contemporary, and Commercial from the age of 3 years old, with Suzanne Stuarts Art of Dance in South Shields.  She began competing in Regional and National Festivals, Championships and Scholarships from the age of 6. Sofi performed many times at Newcastle Theatre Royal as a young dancer,  in the annual x-mas pantomimes, as well as in productions such as Annie,  Summer Holiday, and the ballet Copelia. After successfully auditioning for Theatre Colleges at the age of 16,  Sofi received offers of 3 Full DADA Scholarships,  from these she chose to continue her dance and musical theatre training at The Urdang Academy in London. On completing her training at The Urdang at the age of 19, Sofi began her Professional Singing career. She has since spent much of the past 7 years singing and performing in a musical production shows (such as Priscilla Queen of the Desert,  The International Music of the World show) in many locations in the UK and around the world.  Including India ( Bollywood) Cyprus, The Canary Islands,  Israel, Spain. During this time Sofi also developed an interest in vocal technique and performance skills,  and began coaching other young singers, passing  on her own vocal knowledge and experience, this soon became a real passion for Sofi. And because Sofi continues to work in the entertainment  industry herself,  she knows how important correct vocal technique and care of the voice is to maintain longevity for young singers. Sofi is now based in the UK, where she continues her own very busy  singing career as a Solo performer, and with her own band, with a portfolio of successful corporate events for companys’s including,  WorldPay,  Barclays, and the NHS. Sofi also recently supported up and coming international singer songwriter  James Kirby on his UK tour. Sofi is both honoured and proud to be part of the Elaine Milbourne Performing Arts team.