Our Staff - The Academy of Dance and Art

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Our Staff

Pernille Duckworth:
Is the founder and Managing Director of The Academy of Dance and Art. Returning to Kenya after having lived for six years in South Africa, Pernille decided to open her own studio in Karen. Having enjoyed the Performing Arts and Dance world not just for herself but her daughter Juliet whilst in South Africa it became apparent upon their return to Kenya that this was sorely lacking here. Hence the decision to form The Academy of Dance and Art which opened its doors in September 2009 with our very first Royal Academy of Dance qualified graduate teacher. The Studio has grown from having 80 students the very first year, some of which are still with us, to 250 Students today attending the Studio in Rhino House.

Arnie Luna Umayam:
Studied at De La Salle-College of Saint Benilde, School of Design and Arts Major in Technical Theater. He started his dancing career in Teatro Baile De Cavite in 1999 and took his formal training under Brezhnev Larlar. Awarded as one of the Most Oustanding Young Performing Artist of Cavite in 2002 and performed in numerous ballet productions and concerts. He was trained under the renowned ballet teachers namely Vella Damian, Nonoy Foilan, Anatoli Panasioukov, Victor Ursabia, Jeffrey Espejo, Dwight Rodrigazo, among others.
In 2004, he was a company member of Filipinescas Dance Company directed by Philippines National Artist for Dance; Leonor Orosa-Goquingco. In 2009 Arnie joined as a member of AIRDANCE Company. He performed in "Flow a celebration of life and Dance; Philippines Premier Dance Musical ". His recent performances were "Bawal Tumambay (NO LOITERING)" in WiFi 4 Contemporary Dance Festival at Cultural Center of The Philippines, "Windows to Paradise" (Directed by Edna Vida) under The Department of Tourism Philippines and "Around the World in Eighty Days" Musicale - Asian tour under ABA Productions Hongkong." 

Rachel Njeri Kinyanjui:
With more than four years of intensive training at the Academy of Dance and Arts, Ms. Kinyanjui has studied under teachers from all over the world. Recently she took the Royal.
Academy of Dance Intermediate Ballet passed with a high merit. She is currently teaching in more than eight schools throughout Nairobi, including the Academy. Rachel's production performances include "Silver Screen" as Fairy Godmother, "The Nutcracker" 2014 as Arch Angel. She was one of the choreographers and performer for "Around the World in Eighty Days" in 2015.

Ann Kang'ethe:
Based at the studio, Ann manages the administration of the Academy. She is on hand to help prospective and current parents and students with any queries, uniform requirements, lesson details and general information about the school. The best time to drop by and see her is between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday to Saturday.


Jessy Irungu Mathai:
As the Academy's in-house costume designer, the young Jessy was taught to draw by his father. His interest in fashion grew from there. In secondary school, Jessy loved to sketch designs as a hobby, copying ideas from magazines and newspapers. He subsequently attended the SOS Technical Training Institute to further his passion. Armed with the knowledge and skills gained from his two years in college, Jessy is now the chief costumer for all the Academy's shows.

Mozart Barnabas Onyango:
Performer, teacher and Music scholar, Mozart started learning music when he was little. Son of a organist, he started his piano education at Starehe Boys Centre, Nairobi and continued to pursue a degree in Music performance at Kenyatta University, Nairobi. Professionally he performs in the ballet shows in the Academy, is a grade 8 ABRSM pianist, an annual accompanist at the National Music and Dance Festival in Kenya, is an active teacher and works with local music artists and schools in Nairobi. He plays for some of our ballet classes.
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