TEACHERS

Wendy Samantha

Director & Teacher

Wendy's passion is to see her students develop their confidence through the work that she does with them. With 9 years up her sleeve working as a primary school teacher and runner-up to the Herald Sun Teacher of the Year Awards 2006, she has now concentrated her efforts on her love of the performing arts and spends her time running Wendy Samantha Productions. She has a bachelor of primary teaching / arts – majoring in drama, film and photography (Deakin), and a diploma of creative writing (ACJ). Wendy takes great pride in both her students and the work they produce. Teaching is a calling, not an occupation. It's a life, not just part of one.

Ashley Grotolli

Dance Choreographer

Originally from Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Ms Grottoli trained at the famous Joann Chapman School of Dance where she obtained her teaching credits in Acrobatics, Jazz and Tap, while also training in RAD Ballet and competing with award winning troupes across USA and Canada. Towards the end of her youth training she won Miss Dance of America at Dance Masters of America in 1998 in New York City; where finalists attended from around North America. She continued training with teachers such as Mia Michaels and Jason Winters throughout the years in order to ensure her teaching practices are not only current but able to produce award winning dancers and choreography. Her dancers are currently Australian regional and national champions as well as globally employed performers. Her passion to help teachers develop their teaching skills has lead her to conduct teacher training workshops with individual studios in order to help them produce safe, strong and focused dancers on a larger scale with tremendous results. In 2017 Ms. Grottoli was nominated for teaching excellence from the Australian Independent Dance Teacher Awards based on her teaching philosophy to teach habits; not steps. Ms. Grottoli believes that correctness, balance and grace can only be achieved by equipping each student with the tools necessary to be successful through coveted and globally renowned teaching techniques.

Matthew White

Musical Director


TUTORS

Alessandra Ranno

Vocal Tutor

George Evangelakos

Dance Tutor

George is an aspiring performer who has been involved in the Performing Arts from a young age. He's passion for dance started in primary school when he joined the Victorian Ballet School, and in 2009 he won the yearly scholarship award for excellence in dance. During his high school years, George developed his vocal abilities by participating in vocal soirées, choir competitions and was even a part of the first Balwyn High School Europe tour in 2013. He also gained performance experience by being cast in a few amateur theatre productions such as Honk! Jr, Fame and The Sound of Music.

In hopes of training in dance on a serious level, George joined the Australian Boys Dance Academy where he fell in love with Street Dancing, he later moved on to study VET dance at Gay Whiteman School of Ballet focusing on such styles as Jazz and Hip Hop and is now happily training at Street Dance Studios, who's talented crew Superhoodz are known for placing in the semi-finals on Australia's Got Talent in 2012.

George is currently training at Kelly Akers Dance Academy, and expects to bring the students of WSP fun and exciting ways to experience street dancing in his classes this year.

Isabelle Gan

Vocal Tutor

Isabelle Gan made her debut musical theatre performance in 2010, featuring as Maureen in the Catchment Player's production of Honk Jr. Guided by Wendy Samantha Productions from 2009 through to 2012, she performed Carmen in Fame The Musical produced by Balwyn High School in 2011 and went on to secure a perfect study score of 50 in Music Investigations, focusing on vocal techniques in neo-soul and soul music.

Isabelle's background mainly lies in the music scene, with her vocal experience ranging across soul, jazz and musical theatre genres. She has been performing with local jazz and funk bands around Melbourne for many years now, recording their original material and gigging in bars across Fitzroy and Northcote.

Kat Giannaris

Vocal Tutor

Kat is a vocal director/singing tutor at Wendy Samantha Productions. She is currently completing a double degree in Creative Arts and Teaching.

Some of her vocal achievements and accomplishments are Deepdene Primary Schools Festival Choir captain, vocal lessons at Balwyn High School through years 7 to 12, being a member of the Balwyn High School Europe Tour Choir, performing and placing with Balwyn Highs Senior Jazz Choir at Mt Gambier's Generations in Jazz Festival, numerous performances and competitions with Balwyn High Schools choirs, an A+ in her Year 12 Music Investigations exam, vocally directing WSP's Annie the Musical, playing Mother Abbess in WSP's The Sound of Music, Miss Sherman in WSP's Fame, a member of the Australian Girls Choir for 10 years and competing in vocal sections at the Manningham Eisteddfod and Eisteddfod By The Bay.

Kat wants nothing more than to show people how much fun and fulfilling singing and appreciating music can be. She hopes to inspire those around her to become as passionate about singing as she is. Kat's goal for 2018 is to make sure everyone she has the privilege to teach has the opportunity to excel and grow as singers and gain skills that help them become well-rounded, confident performers.

Kate Pappas

Follow Spot Choreographer

Kate has a love of anything to do with dance and has been dancing for 16 years with the Victorian Ballet School. She has toured the USA, performed in many concerts and school productions.

Kate has been teaching for over 2 years now and only recent started teaching with WSP. She is excited for the opportunity to help her students build their dancing abilities and watch their confidence in dance grow throughout the year. She hopes that they come away from every class feeling like they've accomplished something, no matter how small, and at the end of the year they look back at how much they've achieved and how much their skills have grown

Kate believes that teaching at WSP this year is such an amazing opportunity for her, as she gets to work with a great team of talented people who she hopes can also inspire her.

Laura Wilcox

Follow Spot Director, Drama & Tuition Tutor

Laura has always been a high achiever, performing consistently well throughout her school years. School captain at Deepdene Primary School, she graduated from Canterbury Girls' Secondary College in 2016 where she took on many leadership roles in the environmental team, Student Representative Council and Peer Support Program. Laura has received a number of awards, including Academic Achievement, School Service and The Arts. She has received distinctions in the Australian Mathematics and Science competitions. In 2017 she will commence a Bachelor of Arts at Monash University in order to pursue her passion for creative writing and language and cultural studies.

Laura has been with WSP for 9 years and during that time has taken on many lead roles on stage in productions both within and outside of the company, including Annie, City of Angels and Seussical the Musical. She has also achieved countless awards at various speech and drama eisteddfods, and completed VCE Drama whilst at Canterbury Girls'. Laura loves singing and acting, and spends her spare time reading, writing and listening to Kpop.

James Worboyes

WSP Leaders Program Tutor

James has a strong love of performing arts and has been at WSP since it first officially opened. He has completed VCE Theatre Studies and Grade 7 Trinity Speech and Drama, obtaining countless theatrical awards over the years. As School Captain at Marcellin College, he held various leadership positions throughout his time there and was awarded with Academic Excellence Endeavours and High Achievement Certificates in Mathematics, English and Science. He is part of the management team at the Hawthorn Basketball Association and enjoys umpiring, playing indoor soccer, singing and dancing during his spare time.

In the future, James hopes to follow a path in either acting or teaching, working to help children build and reach their full potential.


LEADERS

Chee-Rae Loi

Follow Spot Director & Tutor

Chee-Rae is a dedicated and consistently high achieving student who has a full scholarship at Fintona Girls College. She loves languages, studying both French and Japanese and has been accepted into the Almost French exchange program that took her to Paris in 2017. Chee-Rae has used her love of acting in the Alliance Francais Poetry Competition and has been a state finalist in the past two years. She has received multiple academic awards across her schooling years, placing in the top 10% in the Australian Problem Solving Mathematical Olympiads over the past 4 years. She loves working alongside others in various House competitions and taking on leadership roles, including being a part of Middle School Consul in 2015. She recently was accepted into the Kwong Lee Dow Young Scholars Program at Melbourne University.

Chee-Rae has had an immense passion for performing, starting 12 years ago with hip-hop/funk. She then found another passion when Wendy introduced her to acting when she was in year two. Chee-Rae has been a part of Wendy Samantha Productions for 10 years now and has developed into a strong and confident leader who absolutely adores working with younger children and finds great joy in watching and helping them grow.

Mia Zelesco

Follow Spot Director & Tutor

Mia loves performing and has been part of Wendy Samantha Productions for 10 years. She has performed in all of the productions Wendy Samantha Productions has put on, including the Sound of Music and Annie. She has also participated in many Eisteddfods and speech and drama exams. Mia was awarded the Gladys Benson Memorial Trophy as the overall winner of the Manningham Eisteddfod in 2014 and recently received a distinction for her Year 8 Speech and Drama Exam with Trinity College London.

Mia also loves singing and dancing. She toured Europe with the Balwyn High School Choir in 2015 and will tour USA with the school in March this year. A highlight of the 2017 tour will be performing in Carnegie Hall.

Mia aspires to work with children and to that end will commence VCE studies in Psychology and Theatre Studies this year. She has a warm personality and a natural rapport with children, and looks forward to this exciting new experience.