Donna Schoenherr - Founder and Programme Director
Donna was born in Rochester, NY and received her extensive comprehensive dance training under sponsorship with an internationally renowned staff at the prestigious Enid Botsford School. Her formative training continued in New York City at the David Howard Dance Center and the Melissa Hayden School of Dance under full scholarships. After a long and successful career as a professional ballet dancer and as a contemporary dancer in Europe and the US, Donna went on to develop an impressive portfolio of work as a guest teacher, choreographer, rehearsal director, and private mentor.
Donna is also an accomplished visual artist and her paintings and photographs are in private collections internationally.
After the birth of her son, she founded what was to become Ballet4life.com®. Her vision was to create an inspiring organisation that would pioneer top quality dance education for adults on a vocational level. Her first ballet class for adults In London was offered in January 2004 to eager adult learners in a studio at Rambert Dance Company's former location on Chiswick High Road. Now, fifteen years later, Ballet4Life is a well-established and thriving institution and has taught thousands of Londoners. Donna created the Dance for Early Stage Dementia Programme with Clarissa Rocha for Arts4 Dementia www.arts4dementia.org.uk.
After decades of research and first-hand knowledge, she created the concept of and founded Move into Wellbeing® in 2014. The first classes were offered to the public in 2015 in Chiswick with Beatrice Ghezzi leading the class. Donna has directed and managed MiW since its inception. MiW attained charitable status in April 2017, Registered Charity 1172264, Donna is forever grateful to every person who supported her vision and assisted in her endeavours to make this all happen and to all involved in this inspirational organisation. Move into Wellbeing®,
www.moveintowellbeing.org.uk. MiW offers weekly unique dance, movement, and exercise classes for people with Parkinson's and other mobility restrictions. All classes are taught by highly experienced and specially trained dance instructors. This charity is a living legacy to her father Gerard E. Schoenherr and brings joy and relief to many.
Beatrice Ghezzi - Lead Teacher and Administrative Assistant
Beatrice was born in Milan and began her ballet studies in Italy at the Studio Danza Arabesque and graduated in 2006 as a ballet teacher in the Vaganova method with the Russian Ballet Association. She then carried on with her ballet studies on a more intensive level and gained a Diploma as a teacher in 2011 with AIDA Ballet Teachers Association in collaboration with Teatro alla Scala, Milan. In 2010 she added the study of Contemporary Dance Technique to her specialisations and attended a full-time course at Trinity Laban in London. In 2014 she completed the Postgraduate Course in Advanced Dance Studies at The Place where she also performed for different choreographers. Alongside performance projects, she has been teaching ballet and contemporary dance in Italy and London for Ballet4life® for eight years and was a Dance Lecturer at Lewisham Southwark College. She enjoys working with people from different dance backgrounds and with different skill levels. In addition to dance, Beatrice also studied Heritage Preservation. Ballet4life sponsored Beatrice in the past on her studies with David Leventhal and the Dance for PD® course which was held in Leicester, England with "People Dancing." She is the now the Course Leader for our Registered Charity 1172264 Move into Wellbeing® for people with Parkinson's and other mobility challenges which launched in January 2015. She successfully finished her MA dissertation on this subject in Spring 2016.
Chris Christodoulou - Teacher
Chris was born in Cyprus and started his dance studies at age 20 in the UK, along his Visual Performing Arts degree at the University of Brighton. Upon completion of both university studies and private ballet classes, he progressed to professional dance training in Athens, at the Greek State School of Dance. Following his studies, he was accepted at the Hellenic Dance Company, dancing in works by Martha Graham, Pascal Rioult, Richard Alston and Hofesh Schechter, amongst others. Following a scholarship by the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, he continued his studies with a Masters degree in Scenography at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. He also started working as a freelance video editor and theatrical lighting designer, collaborating mainly with contemporary dance choreographers. Upon his return to his homeland Cyprus, he was invited to teach as a guest lecturer at the Dance Programme of the University of Nicosia. Chris currently teaches for Ballet4life® and was also trained to work for our dance charity Move into Wellbeing®. He heads up our two classes for Hounslow at the Danehurst Activites Centre in Brentford and Isleworth. He works with people with mobility issues and over 60's, including those living with Parkinson’s.
Ioanna Bili - Assistant
Ioanna was born in Thessaloniki, Greece and started her ballet training with the RAD syllabus at the age of 6, where she succeeded in the Academy’s exams. She also undertook her 4-years degree in Software and Telecommunications Engineering, along with her continuous pre-vocational ballet and contemporary dance training. At the age of 23, she started her BA in Dance Teaching and Choreography at the A. Kafantari Professional Dance School of Higher Education in Thessaloniki. She started teaching ballet and contemporary dance to ages from 3 to 63, performed ballet and contemporary dance works of Greek choreographers in Greece and Bulgaria. After graduating, she carried on performing and choreographing, but most importantly she focused on the further development of her teaching. She carried on planning and teaching classes inclusive for people of different level of attentiveness and dance skill level. In 2016, she moved to London as she got accepted from the Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in order to undertake her MA in Choreography as a Leverhulme Arts Scholarships recipient. She is very results-oriented in her teaching, yet her classes support the physical, intellectual, and social development of the practitioner. She aims for a strong dissemination of each technique whilst promoting artistic and creative instincts. Ioanna is currently training to work for our dance charity Move into Wellbeing® and is assisting our Saturday sessions in St Peter's Hall.