Meet the teachers

Between them, Miss Bertie, Miss Jess & Miss Ruth have over 100 years combined teaching experience contributing to high technical standards. Their caring, friendly, dedicated approach hopes to inspire confidence and enthusiasm in all our their students.

Miss Bertie

Elizabeth Witt L.I.S.T.D.  Elizabeth, widely known as 'Miss Bertie', has enjoyed over 30 years of success with The Dance Consortium and was delighted to become coprincipal with Jessica Punch in 2017.

 

Miss Bertie has a great passion for teaching and choreography. Her creative and technical approach to dancing has led to invitations for The Dance Consortium to perform at the ISTD Congress, the Royal Albert Hall, All England Dance Galas and the official ISTD’s National DVD.

She is a recipient of the Isabel Haxell Cup for commitment to National Dance presented by the Imperial Society Teachers of Dancing (ISTD); and has been awarded the prestigious Joanne Marsden-Blackwell Award for outstanding choreography by All England Dance.

Elizabeth, choreographed Trinity Theatre's Christmas seasons 2010 - 2018 and was pleased to collaborate with Jess on their outstanding productions: Oliver, Cinderella, The Wizard of Oz and Wind in the Willows.

Miss Jess

Jess is proud to have originally attended The Dance Consortium as a pupil for 10 years before embarking on a successful professional career in Musical Theatre.

 

An ex-pupil of the Dance Consortium, Miss Jess trained at Arts Educational (Chiswick), winning the Harmer Smith Student of the Year Award and gaining her teaching qualifications.

From college Jess appeared in many musicals on Tour and in London including Carousel, Jekyll and Hyde, Me & My Girl, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Fiddler On The Roof, Fred Astaire - His Daughter's Tribute and with leading roles as Kathy Selden in Singin’ In The Rain and Peggy Sawyer in two UK Tours of 42nd Street. She worked as a dancer on TV shows such as the National Lottery:Dreamworld and Children In Need as well as numerous cabarets and radio adverts. Jess is still incredibly partial to a pantomime at Christmas, having appeared in over 25 -  from a juvenile through to parts such as Sleeping Beauty and 11 renditions of Peter Pan.

Alongside theatre - Jess took 42nd Street workshops around the country as well as audition workshops in colleges across London. This led her back to initially guest teaching at DC, before inheriting classes from Alison and then being honored to take over the school as coprincipal with Bertie.

Miss Ruth

Ruth trained at London College of Dance gaining a BA Hons Degree in Dance and ran her own school for a number of years, alongside teaching GCSE and A Level and guest lecturing for a number of colleges.

 

Prior to Dance Consortium, Ruth previously held the position of Ballet and Contextual Studies tutor at The Centre PAC and later took over as Head of Teaching Studies. She was appointed a marker for the ISTD written unit examinations and was part of the original team delivering the Diploma in Dance Pedagogy Level 6 Qualification. Ruth was also asked to mentor trainee teachers for the RADCBTS programme.


Since becoming a Fellow and Examiner for the Imperial Ballet Faculty Ruth has conducted both Regional and European courses for the society and lectured at both the Easter and Summer Programmes. She regularly adjudicates for both the Junior and Senior ISTD ballet awards and has been invited to take both the Grade 5 and Intermediate Classes. Ruth was delighted to join the Imperial Ballet Faculty Committee in 2019.
 

Ruth is currently Head of Ballet at Performers College and co-founder and tutor for the ADC DanceTeachersInc, where she coaches students and teachers for DDE, Licentiate and Fellowship Examinations.
 

Ruth is passionate about inspiring children and young people in the genre of ballet. Her approach seeks to develop not only physical skill, artistry and musicality but to foster a sense of self-esteem, confidence and enjoyment. Classes are carefully constructed to the physical, cognitive, social and emotional needs of the students and aim to develop learning strategies and problem-solving skills which can serve as transferable life skills. Ruth is proud to be part of the DC team.

Miss Julia

Julia began dancing at the age of 3yrs and fell in love with Ballet. She successfully auditioned for the prestigious Bush Davies Schools at 11yrs and entered full-time vocational training studying Ballet, Tap, Modern, Jazz and National Dance along with Drama and Singing.

 

She later developed a passion for teaching, becoming a fully qualified Ballet Teacher and also teaching other disciplines including Tap and Modern. More recently, Julia has become certified to teach Progressing Ballet Technique - a revolutionary program designed to enhance ballet technique by specializing in muscle memory, enhancing flexibility, and using dance medicine and exercises to prevent injury.

 

Julia has taught students and adults of all ages, from Babies to Advanced, for a number of schools across the South East, entering students for examinations and choreographing for school productions. She is very excited to be teaching for The Dance Consortium and has been enjoying working with such talented and dedicated students.

Alison Cripps - Founder

Alison is a Tunbridge Wells girl born and bred. She began dancing at the age of three because she wanted to go to school and was of course not old enough. Needless to say after her first lesson she wanted to know why she could not go everyday. One day her teacher - Joyce Lewis, saw her organizing the class into a straight line. Your daughter is a born teacher she told her mother. The rest as they say is history.


Alison opened The Dance Consortium in April 1986. It was so named as it was a consortium of teachers led by Alison. It began moderately with Alison teaching the modern and tap classes and her friend Tina Kemp teaching the ballet. In September they were joined by Elizabeth Witt and national was added to the curriculum. The school went from strength to strength and although Tina moved on, Alison and Elizabeth carried on building the schools reputation with excellent exams results and winning many awards in national competitions.
 

Alison’s other love was drama and she taught this for 43 years ending up as head of Performing Arts at Skinners Kent Academy. Using her dance and drama skills she has not only played many leading roles in musical theatre but has also choreographed and directed many shows at the Assembly Hall Tunbridge Wells.
 

After thirty years she passed on the baton of leadership to Elizabeth and Jessica. She now works in an advisory capacity to them both and also makes the odd costume.