Welcome to Australia Dances

a Podcast for Australian Teachers of Dancing

Australia Dances is hosted by Kate Meade – Australian Financial Review 100 Women of Influence Alumni 2018, the Founder of the Victorian Dance Festival, former Project Manager for ATOD and current breakfast host for the ACE Radio Network.  

This glorious library of all things dance features meaningful conversations with dance studio owners, creatives, directors, and educators.  During each episode, we will explore and reflect on ideas, share stories and unpack current research, focusing on connection, education, and development. But more than anything, we will celebrate the art form we all love. DANCE!


Every fortnight we will release a new episode with the next instalment available every second Wednesday.  Australia Dances is a free Podcast available to listen below or subscribe at the iTunes store by searching for ‘Australia Dances’ or follow this link:

Episode 1: Leah Belford – ATOD President, examiner, studio owner, wife, and mother talks to Kate about Australian Teachers of Dancing 2020, exams, online learning, how ATOD is supporting its members, lessons learned along the way and WHY DANCE!



Episode 2: Mark Pace – A professional dancer for 21 years, Mark is a dance teacher, and now academic and dance scientist, currently teaching at the University of Edinburgh in the Dance Science and Education programme.

He has a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Dance Education (Royal Academy of Dance) and a MSc in Dance Science and Education (Distinction) with the University of Edinburgh where he is presently a PhD. candidate, focusing on talent development and the dancer.

Mark has over 30 years of dancing, teaching and guesting experience in various international ballet companies and school settings.

In this episode we talk about: the call to dance, doing the work, taking the stage, performing for the Queen and lessons learned along the way.


Episode 3: Donna Burland – Donna is Principal of the Dorothy Cowie School of Dancing.

Donna’s enthusiasm and love of dance soon were quite obvious and one class turned into two classes and then more. One day a week soon turned into two days a week and then even more; including a private lesson with Miss Dorothy Cowie herself. The dance studio was Donna’s second home and her life revolved around ‘dancing’.

Under the instruction of Miss Cowie, Donna participated in examinations in all dance genres with results of ‘honours’ and ‘honours plus’, completing ATOD Teacher levels, competitions, exhibitions, eisteddfods and so on.

In 1987 Donna was offered the acquisition of the Dorothy Cowie School of Dancing by Miss Cowie. Today the studio offers over 100 classes a week catering for all ages. It is a home and great social environment for all students and families. In this episode we talk about tradition, a passion and doing the work, lessons in business, life-long learning and advice for students.


Episode 4: Justine Summers – Australian Ballet.

Justine was accepted into the Australian Ballet in 1989 after studying at the Victoria College of the Arts and promoted to Principal Artist in 1996.  Sheis known for her lyrical quality and interpretation of dramatic heroines.

Justine is the Patron of the Australian Teachers of Dancing.

In this episode we talk about the accidental ballerina, that costume, what she looks for in a dancer and THAT moment!




Episode 5: Rhonda Burchmore – Entertainer.

With a smile that could light up the Sydney Opera House and a career spanning over 35 years, this vivacious, flame-haired beauty continues to turn heads wherever she goes and draw thunderous applause whenever she performs. Rhonda has forged a lengthy career in one of the toughest and most unforgiving industries, show business, yet as critics attest, she just keeps going from strength to strength. Few Australian entertainers have shared her status and immense popularity amongst her peers, who admire Rhonda for her big personality, big heart and enormous capacity to give back to the industry that has shaped her career.
Highlights of Rhonda Burchmore’s illustrious career include performing on London’s West End in Sugar Babies featuring Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller, Stop The World I Want To Get Off with Anthony Newley, starring opposite David Atkins in the original Hot Shoe Shuffle and opening Crown Casino with her cabaret spectacular Red, Hot and Rhonda – playing to over 60,000 people.
In this episode we talk about being Australia’s favourite showgirl, when she almost walked away, the height, the impact of an examiner and advice for students