About us

Joanne Ward Dance Academy Dance Classes in Walton-on-Thames

The Joanne Ward Dance Academy is a dance school in Hersham, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey based at St Peters Church Hall and All Saints Church Hall.

It was established by Joanne Ward in 2004 and has over 100 pupils. JWDA offers a high quality of training and dance classes in a safe, happy and structured environment. JWDA caters for children's ballet classes from RAD Pre-School through to Advanced Foundation, RAD Syllabus classes, adult ballet classes, Silver Swans, Contemporary as well as Tap and Musical Theatre Classes. We value the well-being of each and every student and aim to nurture, support and encourage them. Through this method students will gain grace, strength, creativity and confidence as well as developing self-discipline, musicality and a joy of dance. RAD examinations are taken by the pupils and as a school we've achieved a 100% pass rate with Merits and Distinctions. Open classes are held at the end of each term for parents and families of the children so that they can share and enjoy their children's progress.

Joanne Ward

Joanne Ward ARAD, Dip PDTC Distinction

Joanne's background in professional & performance ballet, musical theatre and television provides her with unique expertise and credentials in the performing arts.

From an early age, Joanne was performing professionally in pantomimes alongside the Carry On team and Freddie Davis. She trained at the Arts Educational School in London, going on to perform principal roles with the Dublin City Ballet Company in Ireland including dancing with the Dublin Grand Opera.

On her return to the UK, she performed in the Jim Davidson show playing the role of Cinderella before joining the original cast of the West End tap musical 42nd Street at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Joanne went on to play the role of Phyllis Dale and, later the juvenile lead Peggy Sawyer - a role she also played on the first national tour and return season to the West End at the Dominion Theatre.

On television Joanne has appeared on the Royal Variety Performances of 1985 & 1986, A Royal Night of 100 Stars, Casualty, House of Elliott and Little Englanders to name a few. In film she has appeared in The Hawk and the James Bond movie Goldeneye.

Joanne's experience also encompasses choreography for pantomime & smaller revues and acting in corporate videos.

A scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dance led her into a teaching career and in 1995 she graduated with distinction from the professional dancers teaching course.

Joanne now runs her own dance school in Surrey following teaching engagements at Centre Stage, Diana Vere School of Dance and the Denise Winmill School of Dance, Corona Stage School and London School of Mime. She regularly teaches artistic enhancement classes for the South West branch of the RAD and RAD Summer Schools both in England and abroad. She has also taught at MOVE IT for the RAD and been assistant choreographer for the Finale of Dance Proms at the Royal Albert Hall.

She has had the pleasure of teaching the ballet classes for the International Dance Teachers Association (IDTA) Classical Performance Awards and at the IDTA London Seminar. Joanne has also had the honour of adjudicating for the Classical Performance Awards.

Joanne was selected to be one of the few teachers nationwide to teach Sir Frederick Ashton workshops for the RAD. She has also as successfully completed a Well Being for Life Course, enabling her to teach seniors in Care Homes and Day Centres. Joanne is also a licenced Silver Swan teacher enabling her to teach adults over the age of 55.

In October 2018 Joanne became the Principal of the Royal Academy of Dance School at the headquarters in London where she continues to work.

Hannah Relfe

Hannah trained from the age of three at her local dance school in Surrey, studying the RAD ballet syllabi. She completed all the RAD ballet graded examinations and vocational examinations up to Advanced Foundation, which she is currently working towards her examination. In addition, she studied Jazz and Contemporary.

She gained a Distinction in BTEC Dance at Godalming College. Alongside dancing herself, Hannah has assisted with ballet classes at the Royal Academy of Dance and the Joanne Ward Dance Academy. This love of teaching led her to complete the Certificate in Dance Teaching Studies with the Royal Academy of Dance,

Alongside her studies with the RAD, Hannah is working towards gaining her qualification as a PBT (Progressive Ballet Technique) instructor.


Holly began dancing at the age of 3 at the Scott Stevenson School of Dance in South Yorkshire, training in many styles including ballet, tap, modern, jazz and musical theatre. Holly completed examinations for both the BATD and RAD including achieving her Advanced 2. Throughout her years of performing, Holly won national scholarships for both ballet and tap, as well as many regional championships in multiple genres. 

Holly’s passion for teaching emerged when she began assisting classes at her local dance school, which in 2019 led her to gain her associate teacher’s status with the British Association of Teachers of Dancing. 

At the age of 18, Holly then moved to London to continue her teacher training with the Royal Academy of Dance. She graduated with a first-class degree from the BA (Hons) Ballet Education course as well as receiving the Rachel Cameron Prize from the Karsavina Heritage Award. She also gained a distinction in her Licentiate of the Royal Academy of Dance programme, receiving the prestigious Iris Truscott scholarship to fund her studies. 

Alongside her training at the RAD, Holly worked as a freelance teacher and assistant for several well-established dance schools, teaching a range of styles. She has most recently become a licensed Silver Swans teacher, allowing her to now share her love of dance with all ages.

Aria Tilah BA (Hons) Ballet Education, RAD RTS, LRAD, PBT Cert

Aria began dancing at her local dance school at the age of three. Throughout her time there, she successfully completed graded and advanced examinations in both the RAD (ballet) and ISTD (modern dance) syllabi. Aria also studied Jazz, Contemporary and Lyrical styles, and competed across England in these Genres.

In 2015, Aria gained a place on the associate programme with Chantry Dance Company and trained with them weekly until 2018. This education broadened her knowledge of Contemporary Dance techniques and Contemporary/Neoclassical Ballet. Aria is grateful to have been offered performance opportunities with the company, such as performing main stage at MOVE it dance convention.

As a teen, Aria began assisting dance classes at her local dance school and fell in love with the profession. She consequently applied to the Royal Academy of Dance to train to teach.

In 2022, Aria graduated the Royal Academy of Dance with a first-class degree (BA) in Ballet Education and a distinction in the RAD Licentiate (LRAD). Aria also undertook the Karsavina Heritage Award and received commendation for the Rachel Cameron Prize.

Aria obtained RAD RTS (registered teacher’s status) and is also a qualified PBT (Progressive Ballet Technique) instructor. Aria is currently working towards RAD Advanced 2 (ARAD status) and her IDTA (International Dance Teachers Association) Qualification. Aria is passionate about utilising dance for mental-well-being and strives to create a positive and inclusive learning environment.

Guest Coach - Glyn Kerslake.

Glyn trained as an actor at Arts Educational Schools, London.

Glyn is also an accomplished composer and has written a children's musical called Haunted.  Glyn made his West End debut in the company of Les Miserables at the Palace Theatre in 1988. His credits include Miss Saigon, Sunset Boulevard, the Phantom in Phantom of the Opera, The Three Phantoms to name but a few!

In 2012 he appeared in the Menier Chocolate Factory production of Merrily We Roll Along by Stephen Sondheim which then transferred to the Harold Pinter Theatre in 2013. It was released in cinemas world wide by Digital Theatre. 

Recently Glyn is performing in London Calling at Salisbury Playhouse.Glyn joins JWDA for the Summer Workshop to coach the students in vocals, acting and performance.

Glyn is now head of musical theatre at MADD college in Nottingham.

Ballet/ Tap - Madelaine Price BA(Hons), RAD RTS

Madelaine trained for 9 years at Elmhurst School for Dance graduating with a Diploma in Dance. She went on to continue her dance training and education at the University of Surrey, Roehampton graduating with a BA Hons in Dance Studies.Madelaine then embarked on her teaching qualifications with the Royal Academy of Dance graduating with a Certificate in Dance Teaching Studies. Further training has included the Ballet Education Practice course with Royal Ballet School and Royal Opera House.

Madelaine has enjoyed a career in dance teaching with the Joanne Ward Dance Academy and also teaches for the Royal Opera House Education Department on their Chance to Dance Programme, Dance Dynamic and Family Performances.

Madelaine also works for the Northern Ballet Company on their Children's Ballet Workshops.