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Anitra Davel

Anitra Davel

Founder & Director

Anitra not only has over 15 years’ experience as a successful musical theatre practitioner, both as performer and director/choreographer but also has an exceptional academic record which includes obtaining a Master's Degree in Drama (cum laude) in 2014 but also excelling in postgraduate business courses (2001) after a BA Law degree (1993). As a performer she appeared in many well-known musicals such as Oklahoma! (1997), BUDDY! The Buddy Holly Story (1998), Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (2000) and Boogie Nights (2004). Anitra was also privileged to be part of the original South African cast of CATS (2001), which not only performed locally but also toured internationally and to which she returned as Resident Choreographer (2009/10). Apart from performing in an almost infinite number of corporate events as a dancer her varied career has also included various pantomimes, extravaganzas and television appearances as well as being a founder member of Tshwane Dance Theatre (2003).

In 2005 Anitra was nominated for a Naledi Award for her portrayal of Maria Elena in Richard Loring’s That’ll be the Day and was also seen onstage in the racy straight play Ladies’ Night (2005) and Tim Plewman’s farcical Grin and Bare It (2010). Anitra has choreographed and directed many corporate events (including the 17th Annual South African Music Awards - SAMA’s), commercials and theatre productions as well as a number of shows for the Barnyard Theatre Circuit.

Anitra is a qualified SABOD modern dance teacher and has taught both Drama and Dance at a primary and high school level. She has also been employed as lecturer at a tertiary level by both Tshwane University of Technology (TUT) and University of Pretoria (UP) in their Musical Theatre and Drama departments respectively and has directed and choreographed productions for both departments including I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change (2008), the controversial ASSASSINS (2009) and Bat Boy – the musical (2013).

After becoming a mom, however, Anitra realized that she could combine her theatrical passion with working with mothers and their young children. Having obtained her Professional Aerobics Step Teachers Diploma in 1997 it made sense to extend the qualification with the FITCO Specialist Pre-Natal Fitness Instructors Certificate (2007) and she taught the pre- and post-natal exercise classes from Tina Otte’s Family and Child Centre in Randburg for many years. After becoming a certified Doula or childbirth companion (2008) she ran creative Mothers and Miracles workshops from her home from 2010 to 2016.

Whilst completing her Masters Degree in Drama at the University of Pretoria (2014), Anitra presented a paper at the FIRT/IFTR (International Federation of Theatre Research) conference in Barcelona (2013), was awarded the ‘Best Student in the Arts Cluster 2014’ for a UP Postgraduate Competition and published an article in the International Journal: Studies in Musical Theatre. Anitra is currently registered for a PhD Drama at University of Pretoria and lectures in the Dance and Musical Theatre Faculty at Oakfields College.


Tandi Meikle

Tandi Meikle

Director

Tap, Jazz & Contemporary

Tandi matriculated from the National School of the Arts in 2001, where she specialised in dance. Her tertiary qualifications include a National Diploma in Musical Theatre from Tshwane University of Technology, Advanced Imperial Tap and Jazz, Advanced RAD Ballet and Elementary Spanish. She is also a qualified Pilates Instructor.

Her theatre credits include the role of Meg Giry in The Phantom of the Opera in 2004 (she re-joined the company as Dance Captain in 2012). She delivered a stirring performance of Hunyak in Chicago in 2005 and in 2008. An injured Goldilocks saw her delivering many performances as the understudy for the lead role in Janice Honeyman’s Goldilocks and the Three Bears. She toured New Zealand with the Ben Elton and Queen collaboration, We Will Rock You. After being on stage in High School Musical locally, she toured China with the company as the Resident Choreographer. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Super Star was her last big stage musical before she focused her attentions on having a family.

Tandi’s Screen Credits include lead actress opposite Khan Morbee in the SAMA Award-winning music video for The Parlotones - "Push me to the Floor”. She also appeared in a full robot suit for the beautiful music video for The Black Hotels’ song "Stone Wife". Tandi is a sought-after commercials choreographer having worked with Escape Artist Films, Freize Films, Casta Diva Pictures, AnimMate and Ola Films. Her credits include the Wimpy Epic, Two Jet ads, Vodacom Dancer and Vodacom Rapper, Kelloggs Special K, 8ta, Always and Yo Jelly Dance off. She has also choreographed numerous corporates and stage shows. A project that was close to her heart was directing and choreographing the 2010 version of their annual Mr and Miss Johannesburg Fashion Show for The Johannesburg Junior Council in order to raise money for charity.

Chanel Gomes

Chanel Gomes

RAD Ballet

Chanel received her degree Baccalaureus Technologiae: Dance (Teaching) Cum Laude from Tshwane University of Technology’s Department of Performing Arts (2006). Prior to that, she had achieved 91% for the Royal Academy of Dancing’s Student Teachers Certificate (2004) and subsequently acquired full Registered Teachers Status (RTS) with the RAD with an overall average of 89% (2006).

Chanel has been privileged to teach dancers of all ages – from 3 to 23 and her teaching credits include Dance Theory and Ballet at the National School of the Arts (2005 to 2007) and resident RAD teacher at Crawford Preparatory in Pretoria (2007 to 2009) while also being employed full time as Lecturer at TUT from 2008 to 2011. While teaching various theoretical and practical subjects at TUT, this association allowed Chanel to oversee the Work Integrated Learning (WIL) Programme which enabled student teachers to gain hands-on experience teaching children.

Following this, Chanel was employed part-time by both Oakfields College and Southdown’s College in Centurion, teaching Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Stage Work, Dance Teaching and Production at the former and History of Dance as well as RAD Syllabus classes at the latter.

Extending her knowledge of physical training, she has completed the Pilates Course 1 with Top Condition SA (2001), the Body Conditioning Trainer’s Course 2 (2007) and also the Body Conditioning for Dancers with Pat Gush, pioneer of the technique in South Africa (2010 – 2011).

Chanel’s choreographic credits include neo-classical, contemporary and jazz pieces for TUT’s Dance Seasons, Ballaré – a collaboration with Debra Gush – for Oakfields College (2012), various children’s and schools’ productions as well as award-winning pieces for various eisteddfods. She also served as assistant to dancer and choreographer Joel Morris for Dirk Badenhorst’s production of The Nutcracker, performed by the Roodepoort Youth Ballet (2007). As a proud mom of two, Chanel has taught the preschool music programme: Music Box at various schools in and around Randburg and Roodepoort.

JATA is privileged to benefit from Chanel’s outstanding expertise as resident RAD teacher.


Duma Nhlapo

Duma Nhlapo

Hip Hop

Born in Soweto, Duma is a first-class dancer, whose middle name should be “versatility” as he is accomplished in Jazz, Contemporary, Afro-fusion, Gumboot, Pantsula, Kwaito and Hip Hop and has had a successful dance career spanning 20 years. Under the tutelage of expert choreographers Debbie Rakusin and David Matamela, he was one of the founding members of Vusa Dance Company which performed with the legendary Tina Turner (1996) and later toured Australia as Visions Dance Company (1997).

Duma has performed in various long-running casino shows such as Sun City's own African Cirque du Soleil Extravaganza, Ba Letsatsi (1998) and at the Boardwalk Casino in PE and the Windmill Casino in Bloemfontein.

Duma has also performed in countless high-profile corporate events including the Rugby World Cup Final (1995), the SAMA awards (2011), the International Chamber of Commerce Gala Banquet (2016) as well as a myriad flashmobs for various clients. Duma is passionate about teaching as a way to give back and is eager to impart his diverse knowledge as part of the JATA team!


Tshepiso Maledu

Tshepiso Maledu

Acting Coach (Juniors and Seniors)

Tshepiso started her drama career in High School and post her matric she took a year performing in a Musical Theatre production that toured Europe and Africa. In 2003 she graduated from Wits University with her Honours in Dramatic Arts – majoring in Theatre in Education and Directing. She has performed in various theatrical and musical productions, taught drama and supported various community theatre groups.

Tshepiso has spent over 10 years in the corporate environment using the performing arts disciplines as a Training Consultant, Leadership Specialist and People Development Manager. In 2013 she wrote and directed a play, Die Empty, that was performed at the Joburg Theatre and toured Swaziland and other South African provinces. The show was very well received with full house performances at the Soweto Theatre.

Tshepiso holds a Masters degree in Coaching & Behavioural Change. She believes in human potential and continues to inspire greatness as a business and life coach. She is also the author of the book Born to be great, die empty.

JATA is proud to welcome Tshepiso as a member of the Drama Faculty where she can continue to use her performing arts and corporate experience to build confidence, change perspective and develop raw talent into greatness.


Lerato Moloi

Lerato Moloi

Acting Coach (Juniors and Seniors)

A drama graduate of Tshwane University of Technology (2008), Lerato Moloi is a multi-faceted theatre practitioner who has worked in theatre as well as television and film. Her television credits include: Scandal, Wild at Heart, No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency, Home Affairs, Justice for All as well as Ntando in Backstage and a lead in The Res.

Apart from performing in various musicals her profuse theatrical credits include numerous industrial, corporate and educational theatre productions.

When not on stage, Lerato’s skills extend behind the scenes too and she has not only worked as props, costume and stage management in corporate theatre but has written and directed various educational shows including Mash the Myths which toured in Gauteng and the Cape, Nutrition and Positive nine-nine which tackled the pertinent issues surrounding HIV/Aids. Lerato has utilized her extensive dramatic knowledge in the running of acting workshops, touring school educational theatre shows as well as facilitating break-away sessions at corporate conferences.

She is excited to share her expertise and wealth of knowledge of her craft with the students of JATA.


Weslee Lauder

Weslee Lauder

Drama and Film – Acting Coach (Seniors)

Born and raised in Johannesburg, Weslee obtained a B-Tech in Musical Theatre (Cum Laude) from Tshwane University of Technology. He made his professional debut in Buddy, the Buddy Holly Story (2010) and his theatre credits include African Adventure (2011), Dustin in Starlight Express (2013), Stoffel in Reik Na Die Sterre (2014) and Jonas Fogg in Sweeney Todd (2017).

Weslee starred in Janice Honeyman’s Jack and the Beanstalk (2012) as well as portraying Emperor Wun Tun Tum in her Aladdin (2013) and Dame Clementina Coconut in the subsequent Peter Pan (2014). He has received a Naledi Theatre Award nomination for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Call Me Lee (2015).

Weslee has made a name for himself as choreographer, starting with Spring Awakening! (2011) as well as various music videos for LeopardTV. He premiered a critically acclaimed, neo-contemporary ballet J’Zel (2015) at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival and choreographed Songs For A New World (2016) and Saturday Night Fever (2016) which earned him Naledi Nomination for Best Original Choreographer. Weslee’s directorial credits include Stage by Stage (2015) starring Jonathan Roxmouth, From the Footlights (2015) and The Ultimate Phil Collins Tribute show: One More Night (2016). He was creative director and choreographer of the Ghoema Musiek Toekennings and received two Naledi Theatre Award nominations for Best Director of a Musical for Aspoestertjie (2015) and Sneeuwitjie (2016). Recently, Weslee directed Doringrosie: Die Slapende Skone (2017), directed and choreographed Jonathan Roxmouth’s From the Musicals (2017) and choreographed Rock Of Ages (2017) at Gold Reef City.

His film and television credits include: Elke Skewe Pot, High Rollers, and ‘n Hondelewe as well as many adverts and social media campaigns. This multi-talented performer, choreographer, director is also a lecturer in Musical Theatre performance at Oakfields College. Weslee is thrilled to be joining the JATA team and imparting his knowledge to the next generation of performers.


Cathrine Hopkins

Cathrine Hopkins

Music Theory & Vocal Coach (Juniors & Seniors)

Cathrine graduated with a B: Tech Musical Theatre (Cum Laude) from Tshwane University of Technology in 2005. Her stage credits include: The Sound of Music (State Theatre 2006), Hairspray (Tracy - Lyric Theatre 2007), The Rocky Horror Show (Magenta - Barnyard 2009), various People’s Theatre productions, Little Poof (touring), High School Musical (China, Hong Kong and Taiwan 2010).

She is a sought after musical director and has supervised many theatrical productions with success including: The Yellowwood (Grahamstown Arts Festival), Chef, Rattle ‘n Roll (Gold Reef City), Homegrown (Gold Reef City), African Adventure (Joburg Fringe, Naledi Award: Best Children's Theatre Production), Pop Quiz (Gold Reef City), The Rocky Horror Show (Barnyard - national tour).

Cathrine was the resident musical director for the People’s Theatre from 2009 – to 2011 and directed amongst others: The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Noddy, Jack and the Bean Stalk, Winnie The Pooh, Peter Rabbit as well as being resident on the more adult Little Poof for Space.com.

Cathrine has a passion for creating technical and artistic vocal superiority through sound and safe vocal coaching and has taught at primary, secondary and tertiary education level for the following iinstitutions: Tshwane University of Technology 2006-2007, Star Quality Academy 2007-2008, Waterfront Theatre School (Cape Town) 2013, Crawford College Sandton: Music and Drama Pre-Primary School and Heronbridge Primary School.

She is thrilled to be continuing her work at JATA, bringing out the best in young performers through a holistic approach to singing.


Clint Lesch

Daniel Geddes

Vocal Coach/Guitar (Juniors & Seniors)

Daniel is a versatile performer, composer, and musician with an Honours Degree in Performing and Visual Arts from Wits University. He has trained vocally with Adele Strombeck and Cathrine Hopkins, as well as studying musical theatre under Gina Shmukler, Bryan Schimmel, and Rowan Bakker.

His most recent performing highlights include playing Scrooge in NCT’s A Seussified Christmas Carol, guest starring in the most recent Johannesburg season of Ian von Memerty’s Handful of Keys, and playing the roles of Nicky and Trekkie Monster in the South African premiere of Avenue Q.

Daniel co-runs a small theatre production company, Liquid Fusion, which has produced award-winning work both locally and internationally. He has composed the music for many of these productions including the award-winning dance production, Burn.

In 2015 he was employed as Associate Musical Director for University of Johannesburg Arts and Culture, where he co-ordinated the first two years of the massively successful UJ Can You Sing? Daniel is also a regular accompanist, playing for shows, events, and weddings.

He is excited to be joining the JATA as Juniors and Seniors Vocal Coach as well as Guitar teacher.


Clint Lesch

Tulla Eckhart

Vocal Coach & Workshop/Holiday Club Facilitator

From an early age Tulla has been truly blessed to live her passion for music, entertaining and performing. She graduated from Technikon Pretoria (1999) with a National Higher Diploma in Drama and as a professional entertainer has performed as a front woman, vocalist, voice artist, musician, actor and dancer in South Africa and around the world.

Tulla completed her first international contract in Taiwan as a dancer at 'Encore Garden Park' (2000) and subsequently travelled overseas as the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist for “The Online Band” that had had numerous contracts across Asia and the Middle East from 2001 to 2008.

Since then she has been firmly based in Johannesburg, freelancing and dividing her time between performing - which included presenting for television, voice work for radio and television and appearing in corporate, musical and children’s theatre productions, as well as writing and recording her own music.

Tulla’s teaching career began facilitating group workshops for children aged 7 to 18 at the National Children’s Theatre in Parktown in 1999 where she also taught singing and music workshops from 2007 to 2012. She opened “The Tulla Show – School of Music” in 2008 due to a demand from private students who now range from 6 to 65 years old and have varying levels of musical knowledge. She is passionate about tailor-making individual plans to help them each achieve their own unique goals.

Throughout her teaching career, Tulla has had a calling for working with people with special needs and currently teaches at Bellavista School in Rosebank where her students have a range of learning and developmental difficulties and she creates specific programs for every student, designed to help the students overcome their challenges and build their confidence. Tulla also teaches music theory and singing at Crawford College in Benmore as well as teaching from her own studio in Franklin Roosevelt Park.

JATA is excited to benefit from her knowledge and expertise as we welcome Tulla as the music and singing co-ordinator and workshop facilitator for our Musical Theatre Holiday Clubs.


Clint Lesch

Jaco Van Rensburg

Guest Teacher & Workshop Facilitator

Jaco has enjoyed a varied performing career, working on numerous international touring musical theatre productions such as Jersey Boys (Frankie Valli), CATS (Magical Mr. Mistoffelees) and Jesus Christ Superstar (Simon Zealotes), Chicago, RENT, Thoroughly Modern Millie and many more. Jaco has also worked behind the scenes as Choreographer, Company Manager and Resident Director for Add-Life Productions, KickstArt Theatre and Pieter Toerien Productions.

In 2016 he started his own producing company, VR Theatrical and has co-produced I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, The Mystery of Irma Vep, the SA premieres of Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Rock of Ages, as well as Avenue Q which is currently on the boards at Pieter Toerien’s Montecasino Theatre.

JATA is extremely privileged to be able to offer Jaco a platform as Guest Teacher and Workshop Facilitator to impart his immeasurable wealth of knowledge and experience to our students, to the benefit of the entire entertainment industry.