The British Association of Teachers of Dancing

Who’s who

This area of the site introduces you to the members of the Executive Council of the B.A.T.D.

President – Miss Elma Whyte

Elma is a Life Member, Fellow and Examiner of the B.A.T.D. and is a Member of the Stage & Ballet Committee. Elma started dancing at the age of 2 and a half years and in 1966 she opened her own dance school and now runs her own highly successful private dance studio with many of her pupils teaching and performing throughout the world. For several years now Elma and her pupils regularly appear on Cbeebies TV programme. Her studio has been proud to receive for several consecutive years now a certificate of excellence from the Stage Dance Council International.

 

Immediate Past President – Miss Christine Aitken

christine-aitken

Christine has been dancing since the age of 2 1/2years, winning the Scottish Championship at Cowal in 1957. She is the Principal of the Christine E. Aitken Academy of Dance in Paisley & Johnstone and has been teaching for 38years, Chairman of the Association’s Highland Committee and member of the Stage and Ballet Committee. She has been for many years a delegate of the Association on the SOBHD and also their Technical Committee. She is also Vice Chairman of the Scottish West Region. Christine is an Examiner with the B.A.T.D. and also S.O.B.H.D. Adjudicator.

Vice President – Mrs Diana Freedman

Diana-Freedman-resized

Diana is a Life Member, Fellow and Examiner for the B.A.T.D. in Ballet, Stage and Freestyle and has been a Member of the Association for 33 years. She is Chairperson of the London Region and actively helps in the organisation of the London Region Stage Festival. Diana started dancing at the age of 6 before dancing professionally, and then opening her own prestigious school in 1989. She now has 2 thriving Studios in the South East offering all forms of dance and teacher training. Diana was delighted to have been elected onto the B.A.T.D. Executive Council in 2015 and elected Vice President in 2019.

Trustees

Mr Richard McGilchrist

Richard McGilchrist

Richard started dancing at the age of 9 competing in Modern Ballroom, Classical and Latin American. As an amateur he competed at Championship and International level, was a member of the Scottish International Team and Scottish Open Classical Champion.

He turned Professional in 1972 and was elected to the Executive Council in 1987. Richard is a Fellow, Examiner and Life Member of the Association and is currently the Senior Trustee and a member of the Executive Council.

He is qualified in Modern Ballroom, Classical, Latin American, Freestyle, Rock & Roll and Country and Western. He is also a member of the Association’s Ballroom Committee.

He was a member of the Committee who gained the Association recognition for their dancing qualifications and currently represents the Association on the Council for Dance Education and Training (C.D.E.T.) the governing body for recognised educational qualifications.

Miss Shelagh Connolly

Shelagh started her tutorage with her mother Miss Trixie Hardy and she has been teaching for the past 42 years in both Canada and the U.S.A. Miss Connolly is a Fellow and Examiner for the B.A.T.D. Stage Branches and a Life Member. She currently serves as Trustee for the Association and the North American Coordinator for the Stage and Ballet Branches. Miss. Connolly was the first North American to be elected to the Executive Council, and has since served as Vice President and President for the BATD. Miss Connolly introduced the jazz syllabus to the association and continues to promote its growth both in the United Kingdom and Canada. Shelagh now resides in Virginia USA where she is currently on staff at Forest Dance Academy.

Miss Christine Lacey MBE

Christine was awarded a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2014 New Years honours list for services to Scottish Highland Dancing.

Christine was elected Chairman of the World Governing Body for Highland Dancing – The Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing – in November of 2006.

Christine is also a Trustee and Examiner of The British Association of Teachers of Dancing as well as an International Adjudicator on The Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing.

Among Christine’s many competitive credits are, six times World Highland Dancing Champion. Although well renowned in the world of Highland Dancing, Christine has also achieved recognition in both Tap and Ballet. She has held the titles of British Senior Ballet Champion; Scottish Junior and Senior Ballet Champion; Scottish Junior and Senior Tap Champion. Collectively, in all three disciplines she has accumulated over 250 Championship Titles.

She is always in great demand lecturing, examining and adjudicating all over the world.

Christine was trained at the Stewart School of Dancing in Alexandria, Scotland.

Christine’s teachers at the School were – Miss Jessie Stewart Haggarty MBE, Miss Agnes Stewart and Mrs Nancy Haggarty Gibbons. Christine is most indebted to all three ladies for giving her the skills and the passion she has for Dance.

She now teaches dance full time and is thoroughly enjoying being able to devote her time and expertise to the dancing world.

Christine is happily married to Donald MacPhee who is a well-known piper and RSPBA Adjudicator.

 

Treasurer – Miss Diane Barron

Diane started dancing in 1953, turning professional in 62. She trained with and taught for Frank & Peggy Spencer at Penge. Over the years she has reached the finals of the Open British Championships. She has trained many students two later becoming World Champions. Diane is a Fellow, Examiner and Life Member of the Association. Diane has been a Vice President and President of the Association and is currently Treasurer and a member of the Executive Council. She is also a Ballroom Committee Member, a Rules Committee Member, a Conference Committee Member and Delegate for the B.D.C. Diane is also Past Press Representative.

General Secretary – Mrs Katrina Allan

Katrina started dancing at the age of 4. She joined the BATD in 1973 and in 1975 opened her own dance school. She also went to work in BATD head office in 1975. In 1989 Katrina was elected to the Executive Council and in 1990 was appointed as the Association’s General Secretary.

 

Executive Council

 

Mr Howard Cookson

howard-cookson

Howard is a past Vice President of the Association and is currently a member of the Executive Council, Ballroom Committee and a delegate for the British Dance Council. He is a Fellow and Examiner in the ballroom branches. At District level Howard is Chairman of the North West Area. Along with his wife Joanne, they have won many inventive dance competitions, including two wins at the prestigious Blackpool Dance Festival. For many years Howard has been Compare of the BATD Inventive Dance Competition which is held at Conference. He also assists in the running of the Association’s North West Area Medallist Competition.

 

Miss Margaret Smith

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Margaret is a Past President of the Association and currently a member of the Executive Council, Stage & Ballet, Ballroom, Rules and Standardisation Committees. She is one of the association’s Child Protection Officers. As a member of the Scottish West Region she was Chairman for many years and was involved in organising competitions and various other events.

Margaret is a Fellow and Senior Examiner and has a successful Dance School on the south side of Glasgow. She teaches a wide range of subjects including Tap, Modern Dance, Jazz, Acro/Gymnastic, Ballet, Highland, Majorette, Freestyle/Hip Hop and Rock & Roll.

Miss Christine O’Donnell

Christine is an Examiner, Fellow and Life Member of the BATD. She started Highland Dancing at the age of 4 being taught by well known piper and adjudicator Iain MacDonald.
She was a resident dancer on the Gaelic tv programme Se Ur Beatha.
Christine was taught her Stage work at the Helen Young School of Dancing. She joined the BATD in 1969 and is now qualified in 9 branches of dancing.
Christine is currently a member of the BATD Highland Committee having been secretary for almost 10 years. She is a BATD delegate to the SOBHD and was a BATD delegate to the SOBHD Technical Committee. She is also an SOBHD adjudicator having judged in Canada, America and the UK.
Until June ’15 Christine had been Principal of the Helen Young School of Dancing since Helen’s very sudden death in 1987.

Mr Tony Lawrence Cauchi

Tony Lawrence is currently the President of The Malta National Dance Council and Chairman of the Malta Region of the B.A.T.D. He has held this position since the foundation of the Region in 1992. He is a Fellow and Life member of the Association, BDC Certified Scrutineer and WDC International Adjudicator.

He started dancing at the age of 11 in 1966, turning professional in 1977. As a professional he competed at International Championships level, at the UK Open Modern Championships and London Open Modern Championships. He trained many of the Maltese National Champions, including the legendary couple Tony and Angele Bianchi who won 9 consecutive Modern National Championships. Prepared many students for their professional examinations and heads the Tony Lawrence Dance Centre where he still coaches dancers.

Tony feels honoured to be appointed as an Executive Council Member of the British Association of Teachers of Dancing.

 

Miss Gayle Johnson

Vice President 2018/2019. Current member of the Executive Council, Fellow and Examiner for the B.A.T.D Stage branches. Gayle is a life member of the Association. A previous delegate of the T.D.C.I. for a number of years and has served many years on the stage and ballet technical committee. Gayle has run a prestigious dance school offering all genres of dance, thus making her aware of the ever changing youth of today. As a full member of the I.T.D.A she also an All England and British Federation Adjudicator, her dedication and encouragement ensures professional development at all times.

Mrs Heather Murray

To Follow.

 

Mr John Rainey

John Rainey

John started dancing at the age of 10. He has competed at both Amateur & Professional level and won the Butlin’s National Veleta, United Kingdom, and All England Classical Sequence Amateur Titles.

He is a Fellow and Examiner in the Ballroom branch, and is also the BATD delegate to the BDC Sequence Advisory Committee. He is the North West region vice-chairperson and acts as a Scrutineer at the BATD North West Area Medallist Competition. As an adjudicator he has been invited to adjudicate other dance association medallist events and also open competitions.

Along with his wife Ann, he has won many Inventive Dance competitions around the UK which have included major wins at the ISDC Bridlington, and North of Britain Easter Festival. They recently won the 2019 Modern Sequence section of the BATD inventive dance during the conference in London. They have also been MC’s for major dance festivals at Blackpool and Bridlington.

John is thrilled to have been elected to the B.A.T.D. Executive Council at Conference 2019.

 

 

Miss Leona-Ellen MacDonald

To Follow.

 

Mrs Diane Krugh

Diane MacPhee Krugh is a Life Member, Fellow and Examiner of the BATD in Highland and National and has been a Member of the BATD for 43 years.

For the past 38 years Diane has been the Dance Director at St. Thomas’ Episcopal School in Houston, Texas, where she teaches Highland Dancing full time with her sister Donna Cusack (BATD Examiner).

Seven of their students have won twenty-five United States Championship titles. Seven of their students have placed in the top six overall places in the Juvenile, Junior, and Adult World Championship twelve times.

Diane is the National Registrar for FUSTA. She is also the Co-Chair for the BATD North American Sadie Simpson Scholarships and Highland Weekend. Diane is an SOBHD Adjudicator and has adjudicated at many competitions and Championships all over the United States, Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand and Scotland and travels on a regular basis conducting workshops.

Diane is honored to have been voted at the BATD Conference 2019, to serve as an Executive Council Member. Diane lives in Houston, Texas with her husband John.