Having examined extensively throughout Australia and internationally, I have gained much dance knowledge, and I consider this period one of my most significant learning curves.


As a studio owner for 33 years at Maroochydore on the Sunshine Coast, I have educated thousands of students in many genres to advanced levels. Students who became Associate Teachers and higher. Students who won State and Australasian scholarships in ballet, tap and jazz genres. Some have gone on to professional careers, some pre-professional training and other careers, university training in dance and fine arts, and many have opened their own dance studios or are teaching dance in secondary colleges.


The life of a studio owner is not easy, and this was the case for me when I commenced my studio in 1981. By 1986 I had two young children of my own, and life became even busier.


I was nominated to the Board of Directors of ATOD early in my career to serve as a Board member and then President for seven years. This was a wonderful time of my life as I worked hard alongside others to develop the company of ATOD.


I have been involved in many projects commissioned by ATOD, including the ‘Imagine’ preschool program and the Pre-level assessments. I have developed many syllabi, including re-drafting the 2022 syllabi notes for the ATOD teacher’s online platform. I assisted with the new report writer comment bank, the application to the Qld Education of Senior school credits (QCAA), and preparing resources for the RTO branch of the company.


My studio was sold in 2013 to my daughter and fellow examiner, Heidi O’Hehir, who on-sold it to a former student and studio owner, Claire O’Shea, in July 2022. The legacy lives on, and I am more than proud of our achievements.


I encourage all members of ATOD to become fully involved in the company as there is much to be gained and to learn from this experience.


My teaching tip is to enhance your students’ training by learning as much as possible, no matter which genre or age you are working with. As a previously trained and past practising school teacher, I believe each student has the right to a whole level of safe dance training that suits their learning style. While this is not an easy task for any studio dance teacher, it is, in my opinion, paramount to success for one and all.


Andrea Dalton