Teaching Faculty


Melanie Bertei-Connors (Owner and Director)   


Fortunate enough to be born into the world of dance, Melanie began studying Classical Ballet, Jazz and Tap Dance at the tender age of 3 under the guidance of renowned teacher, mother and mentor Loretta Bertei.  Melanie’s love of ballet and dance blossomed from an early age and it wasn’t long before she was immersed into the performing arts also studying Contemporary, Highland and Irish Dance, Singing, Piano and Drama. 

Throughout her childhood and young adult life, Melanie performed extensively in local Productions, Competitions, Eisteddfods and Musicals.  As a Triple Threat excelling in all fields, Melanie received many accolades over the years for excellence in dance and the performing arts, however there was always that underlying love of teaching and choreography.  Melanie began teaching from 16yrs of age and gained her teaching qualifications in Classical Ballet (RAD) and Jazz & Tap (ADA).  After 11 years as teacher at Rhythmic School of Dance, Melanie became the Owner and Director of Turning Pointe Dance Studios in 2004. 

It is through Melanie’s love of dance and passion for Classical Ballet that has seen her studio grow to one of the most reputable studios in the industry.  Melanie also studied Fashion Design, and in 1998 won a Qld RAQ Fashion Design Award.  Melanie’s love of choreography has seen her travel extensively choreographing solo and troupe items at competition level for various studios as well as conducting Ballet and Dance seminars.  Some of Melanie’s Choreographic credits include ADA Jazz Dance Syllabus, Queensland Organics Conference, Australian Banana Convention, Cairns Reef Casino Fashion Show, and Cairns Bride of the Year.  Between 2001 and 2004 Melanie worked with Education Qld to implement a specific dance programme for Indigenous primary school students as well as   other dance programmes into local schools. 

Melanie has nurtured and trained many young dancers who have gone on to professional careers in Ballet and the Performing Arts and is passionate about dance.  Melanie’s aim is to create an inspirational environment in which all children can be instilled with the love that is DANCE!


Faculty Members


Loretta Bertei (Ballet, Jazz, Tap)

  • RAD Registered Teacher
  • Advanced Diploma in Jazz Dance (ADA)
  • Advanced Diploma in Tap Dance (ADA)
  • Former Examiner (ADA)
  • Associate Highland & Irish Dance (NDA)
  • Senior First Aid Certificate 

With over 50 years in the industry, Loretta is a highly-respected dance teacher, examiner, choreographer and adjudicator with many years of experience nurturing the talents of young dancers.  Loretta received her training in North Queensland studying under many professionals in the business.  Upon gaining her teaching qualifications in Classical Ballet (RAD), Jazz & Tap (ADA) and Highland and Irish Dance (NDA), Loretta opened her own dance studio in 1971.  The School was extremely successful and renowned throughout North Queensland spanning a period of 37 years.  Over the years Loretta has staged, choreographed and produced over 40 Dance Productions.  She has also worked with local musical theatre and operetta companies in choreographing their productions.  As an Examiner with the (ADA) for 30 years, Loretta travelled extensively as a tutor, examining students and conducting ADA Dance courses nationally.  Loretta’s goal has always been to encourage and develop confidence, technique, and a love of dance in all her students.  Many of Loretta’s students are now enjoying professional careers in Ballet, Dance & Musical Theatre throughout Australia and overseas.  Loretta is delighted to be a part of the Turning Pointe Team and is proud to be working alongside her daughter in continuing to pass on their love of dance to young aspiring dancers.

Hannah Bliss (Contemporary, Acrobatics)

  • ADA Teaching Certificate Jazz
  • ADA Teaching Certificate Tap
  • Bachelor Creative Industries (Dance/Drama)
  • Bachelor Education (Secondary)
  • USACF / IAACF Level 5 Coach (Cheer & Tumbling)
  • Gymnastics Australia Level 2 Acro Coach
  • Sports Medicine Australia Level 2 Sports Trainer
  • Senior First Aid Certificate

Hannah has been extensively involved in the dance industry for 26 years.  She began her studies with the Ann Roberts School of Dancing in Townsville where she completed examinations for both the RAD and FATD.  Hannah was also a member of Extensions Contemporary Youth Company, which allowed her the opportunity to perform internationally and alongside members of Dance North. Upon graduation from high school, Hannah moved to Brisbane to study a Bachelor of Creative Industries (Dance/Drama) and Bachelor of Education (Secondary) at the Queensland University of Technology. At the completion of this degree, Hannah commenced work at Cairns State High School as a dance and drama teacher.  She is currently in charge of the Centre of Excellence Senior Dance program at Cairns High as well as the FNQ Heat, Bulldogs and Marlins cheerleading teams.  In 2008, Hannah was awarded the Noreen Wilcox Award for Excellence in Teaching as a result of her outstanding work with Indigenous youth and male dancers.  From 2007 to 2010, Hannah was involved in teaching Vaganova Ballet Technique, RAD ballet technique and contemporary technique in Australia as well as Singapore. In 2010 and 2012 Hannah’s choreography was selected for the Macau International Dance Festival. It was during 2010 that Hannah began teaching for Turning Pointe Dance Studios.  She has since completed her FATD Jazz and Tap Teaching Certificates.  Hannah has also been involved with cheerleading and gymnastics for 14 years.  She has completed her Level 5 USACF credentialing for cheer, tumbling and stunts. Her passion for cheerleading has guided the Cairns High Bulldogs Cheer Squad to victory for five consecutive years.  It has also enabled her to develop acrobatics classes at Turning Pointe to extend students skills and physical awareness.  Hannah is proud to be part of the TP Team and looks forward to sharing her knowledge and skills with students.

Leah Carter (Ballet, Jazz, Tap)

  • Currently on the RAD Teaching Certificate Programme
  • ADA Teaching Certificate Jazz
  • ADA Teaching Certificate Tap
  • Senior First Aid Certificate

Leah is a graduate of Turning Pointe Dance Studios where she studied for 12 years.  Leah has successfully completed all RAD Ballet Exams from Pre Primary to Advanced 2 as well as completing all examinations in Jazz and Tap Dance.  Leah received many accolades over the years for excellence in dance and enjoyed much success in Dance Competitions and Eisteddfods.   Leah is currently enrolled on the RAD Teaching Certificate as well as qualified teacher is Jazz and Tap Dance with the ADA.  Leah has performed in many local productions as well as Cheerleader for the Cairns Taipans.  Leah’s passion for dance and technique is evident in her inspiring, encouraging and positive teaching manner.  This is Leah’s 2nd year as a member of the TP Team and she looks forward to sharing her love of dance with her students.

Courtney Bradley (Jazz, Ballet, Tap)

  • ADA Teaching Certificate Jazz
  • ADA Teaching Certificate Tap
  • Certificate IV in Performing Arts
  • Senior First Aid Certificate

Courtney began her dance training with Turning Pointe Dance Studios at the age of five completing all examinations in Classical Ballet, Jazz and Dance.  After completing her final year of schooling Courtney began training fulltime with Brent Street Studios graduating with a Certificate IV in the Performing Arts. Courtney then furthered her training studying abroad at Broadway Dance Centre one of New York City’s most prestigious performing arts schools. Throughout her years of training Courtney has had the opportunity to train under some of the industries most established teachers and choreographers not only in dance but also in all aspects of the performing arts. Courtney is a qualified teacher in Jazz and Tap Dance (ADA) and has knowledge and experience in all styles of dance and performing arts.  Courtney has a wonderful rapport with the students and has a definite flare when teaching younger children.  Courtney finds teaching very rewarding and looks forward to another fantastic year as part of the TP Team!

Kate George (Tap, Jazz, Ballet)

  • ADA Teaching Certificate Jazz
  • ADA Teaching Certificate Tap

Kate began her dance training at the age of 3 at Turning Pointe Dance Studios, and since then has seen her love and passion for dance grow into a professional teaching career.   Through her hard work and dedication, Kate received many awards over the years for excellence in dance, and was a very versatile performer, excelling in all fields of dance.  Kate’s passion for dance has seen her perform in numerous Dance Competitions, Eisteddfods, Musicals and Productions.  In 2009 Kate was placed 8th in the World in Modern Dance at the age of 14, at the International Dance Championships in Niagara Falls, Canada.  Kate is also a trained gymnast as well as a member of the Cairns Taipans Cheer squad.  Kate is a qualified teacher in Jazz and Tap Dance (ADA) and has completed her RAD ballet examinations from Pre Primary to Advanced.  Kate enjoys teaching all forms of dance and extending her creativity and ideas while drawing on her energetic approach, to enhance the experience for all her students.  2014 will see Kate commence her studies at James Cook University in Primary School Education as well as continuing her role as an important part of the TP Teaching Team.

Danielle Mangano (Tap, Jazz, Ballet)

  • ADA Teaching Certificate Jazz
  • ADA Teaching Certificate Tap
  • Senior First Aid Certificate 

Danielle's love of dance began at the age of 3 where she went on to study styles including classical ballet, jazz, tap, contemporary, acrobatics, ariel, musical theatre and singing in Australia, France and England.  She was successful in many eisteddfods and examinations over the years including completing Advanced two Jazz and Tap (ISTD) with distinctions.  Danielle began teaching dance in 2002, finding an incredibly rewarding way to pass on her passion. Danielle is a qualified teacher with the ADA syllabus in Jazz and Tap Dance, and is also currently completing a Bachelor of Psychology at James Cook University.  Danielle is also a member of the Taipans Cheer Squad.  2013 saw Danielle venture abroad to complete a Performing Arts Course at Broadway Dance Centre in New York City.  Danielle received excellence in Dance as part of the six month international program.  Throughout this program, Danielle studied under world class choreographers including Sonya Tayeh, Dana Foglia, Gina Starbuck and Cat Cogliandro.  Danielle performed in the Hoboken Theatre Company’s 2013 summer season of ‘Legally Blonde the Musical’ as a Delta Nu Sorority girl as well as being selected as dance captain.  Danielle featured on Good Morning America dancing with Icona Pop to their hit “I Love It”.  Danielle is thrilled to return to the Turning Pointe Team to pass on her knowledge and experience.

Katerini Manolatos (Vocal)

  • Masters of Music Therapy
  • Bachelor of Music, Voice
  • Kindermusik Educator License
  • Associate in Music Australia, Singing

Katerini, a mezzo-soprano,  was born and raised in Brisbane where she studied voice at the prestigious Queensland Conservatorium of Music and later her Master’s Degree in Music Therapy at the University of Queensland.  Moving to Cairns from Brisbane 8 years ago has proved to be an exciting career move for Katerini.  She has launched Hummingbird Music Therapy and Singing which encompasses her skills and drive for nurturing young voices and her Masters qualification in music therapy.  She has enjoyed performing with Paradise Concerts, at St. Monica’s cathedral with Larry Hammond, charity performances for Harald’s House and Zonta Club, with the Choral Society for (Ellen) Miss Saigon and the little theatre company for “Masterclass” as well as holding her own concerts of World Music “Musical Destinations” and “A Musical Odyssey” both in Cairns and recently in Brisbane.  She has travelled to Greece on several occasions to perform and has also produced CDs of classical and folk music.  Katerini is very excited to be joining Turning Pointe Dance Studios as their Vocal Coach in 2014!

Jadi Apps (Pilates)

  • Bachelor of Sport & Exercise Science
  • Graduate Diploma in Exercise Physiology

Jadi is an accredited Exercise Physiologist and qualified Pilates instructor.  Currently working at Amanda Gale Physiotherapy and Wellbeing, Jadi’s role as an Exercise Physiologist is to help clients with the exercise side of their rehabilitation for injury or pain.  Jadi uses Pilates techniques in her everyday work for rehabilitation, and specifically for core strengthening.  As a former gymnast, Jadi understands the high demands placed on a dancer’s body, and has been teaching Pilates style strength and conditioning classes with young athletes for over 10 years.  This is Jadi’s second year as a part of the TP Team and she looks forward to another exciting year ahead!


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