Speakers

  • Janek Schergen (Singapore Ballet, Artistic Director)

    Janek Schergen is from Göteborg, Sweden. Since 1971, he was invited to many dance companies to take on various positions – a dancer, teacher, ballet master, and artistic director. These companies include Royal Winnipeg Ballet, Pennsylvania Ballet, Washington Ballet, Royal Swedish Ballet, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, and Norwegian National Ballet. As artistic director and board member of the Choo-San Goh & H. Robert Magee Foundation, he has staged 11 of Choo-San’s works for Singapore Dance Theatre (SDT), and more than 120 worldwide. In 2008, Janek was appointed as artistic director of SDT. Since then, he has initiated programmes such as One @ the Ballet, Ballet Associates Course, Scholars’ Programme, SDT Choreographic Workshop, and the Intensive Ballet Programme. Over the past decade, he has been part of several panels and committees for the National Arts Council, and has been frequently invited to judge at international ballet competitions. He was also honoured with the ‘Award for Culture’ by Singapore Tatler at the Leadership Awards 2015, a prestigious award that recognises the contribution of influential leaders in Singapore; and was conferred the Public Service Medal (PBM) by the President of Singapore at the prestigious National Day Awards 2017.

  • Brent Parolin (Ballet Master Rehearsal Director, Choreographic Assistant, Ballet am Rhein)

    Brent Parolin is a Canadian born dancer, teacher, coach and choreographer. Brent started his training as a student of the prestigious National Ballet School in Toronto where he received awards such as the Lawrence Haskett and Peter Dwyer Scholarships. After graduation Brent moved to Stuttgart, Germany, to continue his training at the John Cranko School before joining the Stuttgart Ballet in 2006, where he attained the position of Halb Soloist. In 2014 Brent moved back to Toronto to dance with the National Ballet of Canada and to teach at Canada’s National Ballet School. Brent has danced works by John Cranko, Maurice Bejart, Wayne McGregor, Christian Spuck, Demis Volpi, Kenneth MacMillan, George Balanchine, Crystal Pite and Marco Geocke among others.

    Brent has been a teacher around the world, including Canada, Germany, Japan, Taiwan and Singapore. After creating multiple pieces for the Noverre: Junge Choreographen and the National Ballet of Canada’s Choreographic Workshop, Brent has shown his passion for the entire process of dance, from training and creation to performance and production. Brent currently holds the position of Balletmeister which encompasses being a rehearsal director, choreographic assistant, coach and teacher at the Ballett am Rhein in Dusseldorf, Germany. 

  • Cao Chi (Qualified Strength & Conditioning Trainer, associated with the UKSCA)

    Born in China, Mr. Cao trained at the Beijing Dance Academy and the Royal Ballet School, winner of Prix de Lausanne and Varna International Ballet Competition. He was the principal dancer of  Birmingham Royal Ballet and has made guest appearances with companies and festivals around the world. 

    In 2010, Mr. Cao played the role of Li Cunxin in the globally acclaimed film Mao’s Last dancer by Oscar-nominated director Bruce Beresford, for which he received an Australian Inside Film Award nomination for Best Actor.

    In 2015, 21 years after winning at Prix de Lausanne, Mr. Cao was invited back to the competition as a jury member. He is also a member of the jury of The Genee 2018 Hong Kong International Ballet Competition. Mr. Cao has been a guest ballet master at Beijing Dance Academy, Shanghai Dance Academy, Royal Ballet School, and National Ballet of China over the years.

  • Caren Carino (Vice Dean & Principal, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts)

    Dr Caren Cariño, from Hawai’i, USA, has earned three related degrees: Doctorate in Southeast Asian Studies (Contemporary Dance Research); Master of Fine Arts (Dance Performance and Choreography); and Bachelor of Education (Dance). Her prolific professional career includes a wealth of experience as dance performer, academic, administrator, educator and advocate. She began with Ririe-Woodbury Dance Company (USA), a ‘force for innovation in contemporary dance throughout the world’ and was also instrumental in the company’s dance education programme, with a mission to ‘make dance a viable part of everyone’s lives, whether as observers, critics, performers or creators’, a national model that still stands today. Dr Cariño eventually migrated to Singapore and was appointed Programme Leader/Lecturer (Dance) at Lasalle College of the Arts. Her current position as Vice Dean /Principal Lecturer (Dance) at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts since 2007 has seen her develop a conservatory-style dance programme with a contemporary outlook that has produced international independent and company dance artists. She has published and presented her research that focuses on education, performance and cultural studies in America, Asia and Australia. Dr Cariño is dance advisor to Singapore’s Ministry of Education, National Arts Council, People’s Association and World Dance Alliance.

  • Christian Tátchev (Director of Queensland Ballet Academy)

    Queensland Ballet Academy Director, Christian Tátchev, trained at the National School of Choreography in Sofia, Bulgaria. Performing his first leading roles shortly after commencing his professional career at age 16, Christian was promoted to Principal Artist at 21. His repertoire includes principal roles in the major classical repertoire as well as in numerous works by celebrated choreographers of modern times.

    Christian joined Queensland Ballet, Australia, after participating in the Company’s 2008 International Ballet Gala. Following his retirement from the stage in 2011, he was appointed as the Company’s Ballet Master. He took up the position of Director of Training in 2013 and became the Queensland Ballet Academy Director in 2016.

    In addition to Queensland Ballet, Christian has worked with The Sofia National Opera and Ballet, the Bulgarian contemporary dance company Ballet Arabesque, Performing Arts Council of Transvaal (PACT) Ballet, Cape Town City Ballet and the South African Ballet Theatre, where alongside his role as a Principal Artist, he was engaged as a Répétiteur.

    Christian continues to perform with the Queensland Ballet as a Character Artist and frequently adjudicates at various national and international ballet competitions.

  • Gabrielle Davidson (Physiotherapist of The Australian Ballet School)

    Gabrielle has over 20 years experience working in elite dance environments. Upon completing her Diploma of Dance from the Australian Ballet School, Gabrielle joined the Australian Ballet Company as a professional dancer. Following a successful 10-year ballet career she retired to study physiotherapy – her background in dance and the artistic nature of movement made her curious about the mechanics of the body and injury rehabilitation, physiotherapy was a natural fit. During this time Gabrielle was also teaching ballet at Australian Conservatoire of Ballet. Gabrielle completed her Bachelor of Physiotherapy with Honours in 2004. She was then thrilled to be able to present her honours research at the IADMS conference in 2005 in Sweden.

    Since graduating, Gabrielle has continued to work with elite dancers at the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School, the Australian Ballet Company and the Australian Ballet School, as well as honing her craft in hospitals and private practice.

  • Garry Trinder (New Zealand School of Dance, Director)

    Born in England, Garry Trinder trained at The Royal Ballet School, Rambert School of Ballet and Maurice Béjart’s MUDRA. As a dancer, he worked with Scottish Ballet, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal and London City Ballet. Garry’s extensive career includes six years as artistic director of Hong Kong Ballet and two years as director of dance at South Africa’s NAPAC Dance Company. He was appointed director of the New Zealand School of Dance (NZSD) in 1998 and celebrates his 20th anniversary in 2018. Garry holds a master’s degree from the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and an Advanced Diploma in Education from Newcastle University. In addition to his role at NZSD, he is associated with many international ballet competitions including the Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland, the Japan Grand Prix in Tokyo and the Youth America Grand Prix in New York. Since 2011 Garry has assumed the role of President of the Jury for the Asian Grand Prix ballet competition in Hong Kong. Garry was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2013, for his services to dance.

  • Iain Mackay (International Artistic Manager, The Royal Ballet School)

    Born in Glasgow, Scotland, Iain trained at the Royal Ballet School. 

    In 1999 he joined the Birmingham Royal Ballet under the direction of David Bintley where he rapidly rose through the ranks of the company becoming a Principal dancer in 2003. In 2007 Iain joined Corella Ballet Spain – a company founded by the international ballet star Angel Corella. There he performed Principal roles in all the company’s repertoire before re-joining Birmingham Royal Ballet in 2010, finishing his dance career in January 2018. 

    During his career Iain danced all of the leading roles in the classical repertoire. He also created several roles in David Bintley’s ballets as well as other creations by a number of prominent choreographers. 

    Since 2018 Iain has been Director of the Yorkshire Ballet Seminars. He was appointed the first Male Dance Ambassador for the Royal Academy of Dance 2014, was a Trustee for The Royal Academy of Dance 2014 – 2020 and has been a Governor of The Royal Ballet Companies since 2020.

  • Judith Coe (Physiotherapist of Elmhurst Ballet School)

    Judith completed exercise and sport science degree at Exeter 1998-2001. Subsequently she completed her physiotherapy degree in Southampton 2001-2004. Judith worked for NHS for 4 years and then BMI Healthcare with part-time hockey and football academy work for two further years.

    During 2011-2017 Judith worked for the English Institute of Sport for canoe slalom, canoe sprint, multisport and gymnastics completing 3 Olympic Cycles, World and European Championships.

    Following a move into Dance Medicine Judith was Head Company Physio for Birmingham Royal Ballet 2 years and now works a contractor working at Royal Opera House, Elmhurst Ballet School and Birmingham Royal Ballet

    Judith has a keen interest in Performance Enhancing Physiotherapy within the Elite Sport Environment. She enjoys being a member of medical teams during multisport games events. She was a member of Team GB during London 2012 and will be with Team England Medical Team for the 2022 Commonwealth Games.

    Judith moved in to the world of Academia in March 2021 where she has taken up a teaching fellow role and is currently into her first year into her Professional Doctorate with Professor Barry Durst

  • Melissa Quek (Head, School of Dance & Theatre, LASALLE College of the Arts)

    Melissa is Head of the School of Dance & Theatre at LASALLE College of the Arts and the Programme Leader for the Diploma in Dance.

    She is also a choreographer, performer and educator whose choreographic interest lies in investigating the body-subject. Her works and creative process attempt to touch on questions of agency, materiality and perception to create a visceral experience for the audience.

    Melissa enjoys multi-disciplinary collaborative works, Site based work such as site-specific outdoor performance Tracing the City (2016) and cause based performances and workshops such as Stride with Pride, a performance aimed at increasing respect for wheelchair users. She founded The Kueh Tutus (a collective dedicated to creating dance for young audiences) and has created several works that have been presented at The Artground, toured to regional libraries and appeared in the Esplanade’s Festivals Octoburst! and March On.

    Melissa has managed and designed various MOE-NAC Dance related initiatives such as the Dance Talent Development Programme, and Strategic Partnership CCA (Ethnic Dance). She also mentors the choreographic work of young and emerging artists through institutions such as *SCAPE and occasionally writes dance reviews, articles and edu-packs to make contemporary dance more accessible.

  • Stephanie De’ath (Head of Dance Science of London Contemporary Dance School)

    Stephanie enjoyed studying dancers’ health and well-being throughout her professional contemporary dance training at Middlesex University (London) which subsequently led to studying the MSc Dance Science at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (London) and then qualifying as a soft tissue therapist from NLSSM (London) before going on to complete a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice at Canterbury Christ Church University (Kent). Stephanie was previously Manager of the National Institute of Dance Medicine and Science (NIDMS) and has been a lecturer in Dance Science at UK universities and vocational dance colleges for nearly a decade. Most recently Stephanie has been Head of Student Welfare at London Studio Centre and was thrilled to win the Healthcare Team Award from One Dance UK in 2021. Stephanie has a keen interest in injury epidemiology and has previously presented at International Association for Dance Medicine & Science (IADMS), winning the Student Travel Research Award and has been an IADMS member since 2013. Alongside work, Stephanie volunteers as Chair of the IADMS Development Committee and London Regional Director for the Sports Massage Association.