Karen Barbour
Karen is a passionate dancer, choreographer and teacher, working as a Senior Lecturer in dance at the University of Waikato for over ten years. She is also chairperson of Waikato Contemporary Dance Projects Trust. Karen trained in contemporary dance at Unitec and now choreographs and performs regularly, including in site-specific performances. In teaching Karen combines contemporary dance techniques with yoga, improvisation, releasing and somatic approaches to moving to create empowering and enjoyable learning in dance. In 2011 Karen published her book Dancing across the page: Narrative and embodied ways of knowing and she regularly writes academic articles, stories and reviews as well as creating digital dance works.

Helene Burgstaller
Helene is a freelance dancer and choreographer who lives in Karangahake Gorge, Paeroa. After studying contemporary dance at Unitec in Auckland, she's worked with Waikato Contemporary Dance Projects Trust and Touch Compass Dance Company. She’s danced in the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival and in Hamilton Fringe. She runs a dance school in Paeroa called Paeroa Contemporary Dance, where she teaches children and adults.

Kaylee Bird
Kaylee (Treasurer) is a recent graduate from the University of Waikato, where she studied law and business, and was a Hillary Scholar in dance. She now works at local businesses McCaw Lewis Lawyers and Limelight Dance Academy, and has recently come on board as the Treasurer for the Trust. Kaylee has 20 years of dance experience in many genres, particularly ballet and contemporary, and enjoys all aspects of dance from choreography to teaching. Kaylee’s dance highlights include competing at the World Championships of Performing Arts in Los Angeles, and being involved with WCDPT shows including ‘Precarious Places’.

Harrietanne Embling
has a background in ballet, jazz and contemporary dance. She gained New Zealand national titles and travelled the world competing in ballroom dancing. She is a qualified primary school teacher and is opening a dance studio in Hamilton this year called St Paul’s Dance Studio. Excited to share her love and passion for dance with others.

Megan Hutchings
Megan has a 30 year background in dance beginning with ballet, jazz, hip hop, tap and contemporary, before competing as an adult in Latin American and Ballroom. After completing a diploma in Commercial Dance from Wellington Performing Arts Centre (Whitireia), she has enjoyed working as a performer, teacher and choreographer across a range of styles. She was a Hillary Scholar for Dance while studying Primary Teaching at the University of Waikato. Her passion is working collaboratively to choreograph performance pieces with dance students of all ages and abilities in settings including retirement villages, workshops for the disabled, schools and tertiary institutes.


Patti Mitchley
Patti has been working in community and educational dance practice since 2003. She is the founder and director of Whaingaroa Youth Movement, a group of sixty, four to sixteen year olds. This Raglan based group focuses on nurturing creative self-expression, creative collaboration, personal well-being and performance skills. Patti is a passionate advocate for community and youth development and sees dance as a vehicle for a positive creative and healthy lifestyle, accessible to all. Her extensive experience in hospitality and small business has been pivotal in the skills required to produce and support arts events.

Mary Barbour
Mary was born and educated in Canada (Arts and Physical Education), beginning and ending her round-the-world trip in New Zealand. While the four Barbour girls were growing up in the King Country she taught and coached at Piopio College, specialising finally in gymnastics. This led to a position as National Development Officer for the New Zealand Gymnastic Association, then into health promotion with the Heart Foundation and Sport Waikato. Roles contained a mix of administrative and active participation, both nationally and internationally. Although not involved in formal dance, her involvement in the World Gymnaestrada brings a background of planning, preparation and performance that crosses over easily into WCDPT work.

Marie Hermo Jensen
Marie was born in Hammerfest, Norway. She studied dance at the School of Contemporary Dance in Oslo and London Contemporary Dance School (BA Hons). She works for Stellaris DansTeater (Norway), where she started her professional career in 2003. In 2004 she debuted as a choreographer and has shown work around the Barents Region and in New Zealand. Marie works as a dance artist through stellaris dance nz, and is a trustee with Waikato Contemporary Dance Projects Trust. Marie was Artistic Director for DanseFestival Barents in Hammerfest, Norway 2016-2018.