ABI AND NICOLA HAVE KNOWN EACH OTHER SINCE THEY TRAINED AS DANCERS AT CENTRAL SCHOOL OF BALLET. THEY CO-FOUNDED ARC DANCE ACADEMY LONDON TO PROVIDE QUALITY BALLET AND CONTEMPORARY DANCE TRAINING TO THEIR local COMMUNITY. HAVING BOTH WORKED AS PROFESSIONAL DANCERS AND TEACHERS FOR OVER TWENTY YEARS THEY ARE VERY PASSIONATE ABOUT THEIR VISION TO FOSTER A LOVE OF DANCE IN THEIR STUDENTS AS WELL AS TO GIVE THEM A SOUND TECHNIQUE AND THE CREATIVE SKILLS TO DEVELOP THEIR OWN WORK.
ABIGAIL KESSEL MASSEI
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Abigail performed from a young age as a soloist with The National Youth Ballet Company at Sadler’s Wells, and with The Bolshoi Ballet's Sleeping Beauty's Pas de Six at The Coliseum London. She continued her training at Central School of Ballet in London under the direction of Christopher Gable going on to have a dynamic international and national career dancing classical and neo-classical roles with The Israeli National Ballet Company and The Stadtheatre St. Gallen Switzerland. She moved on to dance in contemporary projects in Brazil, Argentina, Spain and more recently in Sweden, Ireland and London including at The Round House and the Royal Festival Hall. In Argentina she studied Tango, which she performed in London in a number of venues including The Royal Opera House.
In recent years she has performed in various fringe shows, film credits include as a Court Princess in the feature film ‘A Little Chaos’ (dir. Alan Rickman, with Kate Winslet). She has written, co-directed and performed in 'Chewing on Life's Gristle' at The London Theatre, The RADA Festival under the direction of Liz Barber, and the Camden Fringe 2016. Currently she is working with Red Hat Opera as dancer/choreographer developing an opera based on the book 'Einstein's Dreams' with director Danielle Urbas, to be premiered at RADA'S Tete a Tete Festival in August 2018.
She has worked as a Choreographer and Movement Director both nationally and internationally and regularly works with her local community to support their theatrical productions. Recently she was movement director on a large scale production of 'The Tempest' in Buenos Aires with senior LAMDA director Penny Cherns. She runs ARC Youth Dance Company and as a choreographer is curious about the relationship between space, body, structure and the communication of our energy. She enjoys investigating and developing ways to express this through storytelling and discovering how to move beyond the more formal techniques of dance to deepen into the connectivity of what create us. She holds an Associate Diploma with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, a Diploma in Dance Movement Psychotherapy (Goldsmiths).
Abigail taught for many years globally and in London including at The Arts Educational Schools, Trinity Laban, Cecchetti Scholars/Associates, Central School of Ballet, The Circus Space, Southwark and Lewisham College. She has adjudicated the Cecchetti Classical Ballet Awards at The Lilian Baylis Studio, Sadler's Wells. As well as Co-Founder, Director and Teacher at ARC, she freelances and is a Classical Ballet Tutor at D&B Academy of Performing Arts.
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Nicola trained at Central School of Ballet in London under the direction of Christopher Gable. Upon graduation she gained a contract with Northern Ballet (Theatre) performing nationally and internationally, dancing a wide variety of soloist and principal roles in the company's diverse repertoire, including Juliet (Romeo and Juliet), Cathy (Wuthering Heights), Mina (Dracula), Belle (A Christmas Carol), Hermia (A Midsummer Night's Dream) and Odilia and Cygnets (Swan Lake).
Upon retirement from performing Nicola retrained as a teacher gaining a distinction on the Professional Dancers Teaching Diploma from the Royal Academy of Dance and furthered her education by studying Dance Science at Trinity Laban. She has taught classical ballet, pointe work, and repertoire in various vocational and pre-vocational colleges across London, including Central School of Ballet, Trinity Laban, London Studio Centre, Millennium Performing Arts, Mountview Performing Arts, Cecchetti Associates, and Transitions Dance Company. In 2016 she choreographed a contemporary solo and coached both classical and contemporary solos for a scholarship winner at the Youth America Grand Prix Finals in New York City. As well as Co-Founder, Director and Teacher at ARC she is currently Head of Ballet at D&B Academy of Performing Arts and Classical Ballet Tutor for the Centre for Advanced Training (CAT) at The Place.
Nicola has choreographed for school recitals, and the Big Dance 2008 & 2010. She staged Blue Ball from Christopher Gable’s production of Cinderella for Ballet Central, and she choreographed and directed productions of The Battle of Trafalgar and Widecombe Fair at Cadogan Hall in collaboration with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. She volunteers at her children's Primary schools leading dance workshops linked to the curriculum and has run after an school ballet club.
Nicola's teaching style reflects her background as a professional dancer and training as a dance scientist. In a positive and encouraging atmosphere she endeavours to achieve a balance between technique and performance; ensuring her pupils gain an age appropriate understanding of their own physiques to optimise technical execution, help to prevent injury, and give them the confidence and freedom to perform to the best of their abilities.