Junior School Teachers

Cassa Pancho MBE

Of Trinidadian and British parents, Cassa trained at the Royal Academy of Dance, gaining a degree in classical ballet from Durham University. Upon graduating in 2001, she founded Ballet Black in order to provide role models to young, aspiring black and Asian dancers. A year later, she opened the BB Junior School in Shepherd’s Bush. Cassa is also a graduate of the 2009 National Theatre cultural leadership programme, Step Change. Since starting the Company, she has commissioned work from a wide range of choreographers, including Liam Scarlett, Richard Alston, Javier de Frutos, Annabelle Lopez- Ochoa, Shobana Jeyasingh, Henri Oguike, and Will Tuckett. Ballet Black won both the Critics’ Circle National Dance Award for Outstanding Company in 2009 and Best Independent Company in 2012. Cassa was awarded an MBE in the 2013 New Year Honours List for Services to Classical Ballet and has served as a judge on the panels of both the Kenneth Macmillan Choreographic and BBC Young Dancer competitions. In 2015, Cassa was appointed a Patron of Central School of Ballet and in May 2016 became a vice president of The London Ballet Circle. In 2017, she joined the Ballet Now consortium in association with Birmingham Royal Ballet. Also that year, Cassa, along with Senior Artist Cira Robinson, collaborated with renowned British ballet shoe manufacturer, Freed of London, to create two brand new pointe shoe colours to enable dancers of black descent to buy skin-tone pointe shoes ready-made. In 2018, Cassa was awarded the Freedom of the City of London. To date, she has commissioned 32 choreographers, to create over 40 new ballets for the Company. Cassa also teaches regularly at the BB Junior School in Shepherd’s Bush, West London.

Reena Bhattacharjee

Reena trained at the Royal Academy of Dance, graduating with a BA (Hons) in Ballet Education, as well as achieving further qualifications with the Imperial Society for Teachers of Dancing. After qualifying, she began working as a freelance performer – including dancing in the London 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony. Reena currently teaches for the Junior School of Ballet Black, her own dance school, and for RAD HQ. She also tutors on the RAD’s Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies programme for trainee ballet teachers, and is a Practical Teaching Supervisor on the BA Dance Education programme. Reena was also the Chairperson of the RAD’s London & Middlesex Regional Advisory Committee for 5 years, and is currently working towards an MFA in Dance Science at the Trinity Laban Conservatoire in Greenwich, undertaking a year-long research project looking at the sleep of professional ballet dancers.

Léa Hamilton
Léa is Franco-British and spent her early years in France where she studied ballet and tap from a young age. She moved to London and began studying at the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD). She has studied the RAD ballet syllabus at all levels, both Graded and Vocational, and also took up jazz and contemporary dancing as well as cheerleading. After studying for a degree in Psychology at Durham University, she then completed an MSc in Sports Psychology where she specialised in the coaching of classical ballet dancers and the psychology of performance. During this time, she also worked with a company of university ballet dancers, as a choreographer.
Over the last few years Léa has worked in a number of different settings focusing primarily on Early Years development, but has more recently made the transition into teaching dance full-time. Whilst obtaining her RAD teacher status, Léa worked at the RAD Headquarters both within the Dance School and the Step into Dance organisation, gaining invaluable teaching experience alongside the managerial and administrative aspects of the dance school.
Léa is currently working in a number of private dance and local primary schools delivering both RAD syllabus and non-syllabus classes and choreographing for their shows.
Ballet Black Senior Artist
Isabela Coracy

Isabela was born in Brazil and began her vocational training at the Centro De Dança Rio. She has taken part in many festivals and competitions, including the Joinville Festival and Youth America Grand Prix. As a professional, Isabela has danced with Project Deborah Colker, São Paulo Companhia de Dança, Ballet Jovem do Rio de Janeiro, Companhia Brasileira de Ballet and has toured Russia extensively. She has danced in many classics: Don Quixote, Raymonda, Swan Lake, and Serenade, as well as modern works and the Carnival parades in Brazil as a dancer. In 2009, Isabela was featured in the documentary, Only When I Dance, directed by Beaide Finzi. Isabela joined Ballet Black as a Junior Artist in 2013 dancing in works by Christopher Marney, Javier de Frutos and Martin Lawrance. In 2014, Isabela created the role of Puck in A Dream Within a Midsummer Night’s Dream by Arthur Pita and danced in Martin Lawrance’s ballet, Limbo. In 2015, she was promoted to Senior Artist and created the role of The Maiden in Mark Bruce’s production of Second Coming. In 2016 Isabela was featured in ballets by Christopher Marney and danced the role of Burlesque Dancer and Lulu White in Storyville by Christopher Hampson. In 2017, Isabela was a featured dancer in Martin Lawrance’s Captured and created the role of Mother in Red Riding Hood by Annabelle Lopez-Ochoa. In 2018, she created roles in Cathy Marston’s The Suit and reprised her role as Puck in BB’s 2018 re-staging of Dream. Between 2019 and 2021, Isabela danced in new works both live and on film by Sophie Laplane, Mthuthuzeli November, Hope Boykin, Will Tuckett and Martin Lawrance. In 2022, she created roles in Black Sun by Gregory Maqoma, and collaborated with Cassa Pancho and the Company to create Say It Loud, a celebration of BB’s 20th anniversary. Isabela is an Ambassador for Gaynor Minden, teaches for the BB Junior Associates, online ballet classes and workshops as a guest teacher. In 2021 Isabela became a Ballet Be Fit instructor and launched FredaBela a new collection of Ballet Skirts as a creative designer in collaboration with FredaSilk. In 2022, Isabela received an award from the Black Cultural Archive as one of the 40×40 Black Future Young Leaders for 2023.

Chris-Louise Estrada

*Annaliese Neubauer is currently teaching for our junior school as maternity cover for Chris-Louise.

Chris-Louise trained at the Royal Academy of Dance gaining a BA (Hons) in the Art and Teaching of Ballet from Durham University and was also awarded the Licenciate of the Royal Academy of Dance, one of the highest accolades for excellence in teaching.

Chris-Louise has also gained her Licentiate in Modern Theatre Dance and the Certificate in Dance Education for Tap with the Imperial Society of Dancing; she is currently training towards her Tap Licentiate.

Chris-Louise has taught and choreographed in various schools and productions throughout Berkshire, Surrey, Hampshire and London, as well as delivering various workshops including the RAD South- East Regional Awards heats. She teaches enjoys teaching a variety of students, from young children dancing as a hobby to vocational both practical and theoretical dance-related subjects, currently teaching vocational students at Sharpe Academy and Kingsclere Performing Arts College.

Chris-Louise also tutors on the ISTD Diploma in Dance Education course for Linda Sweetzer TTC, Judith Hockaday School of Dance and Drama, and Myra Tiffin Performing Arts School