About us

Turning Pointe School of Dance

In 1961 Pauline Howard opened her doors to Haywards Heath's future dancers and dance teachers as the Pauline Howard School of Dance. Joined later by her sister, Pat Ellis FISTD, the school grew and flourished. On her retirement in 1986, the Ballet branch of the school was taken over by Amanda Fyles and her sister Julia Canneaux who became Principal a year later. After getting married and having children Julia opened the Lewes branch in 1999 and, inspired by the pupils, began creating full-length ballets for the children to perform on Sussex stages.

In January 2008 Miss Canneaux's branch of the school became Turning Pointe School of Dance, offering classes in Lewes, Haywards Heath and Plumpton to study Ballet, Pointe, Modern, Tap, Jazz, Musical Theatre and Street Jazz. Extension classes are also offered to gifted students at a reduced rate to help prepare for auditions and gain valuable extra tuition. In September 2011 Turning Pointe opened in Barcombe at surely the most beautiful village hall in Sussex! Classes are available for all ages in Ballet, Modern, Street Jazz and Musical Theatre as well as a new Adult Ballet class.

Each term pupils are prepared for RAD Ballet exams and ISTD Modern and Tap exams. Pupils are invited to take part in creative Spring Workshops as well as Summer Schools to explore a wider range of dance styles alongside their regular classes. Many pupils have gone on to follow a career in performance or to teach dance - it has been a particular pleasure to welcome back past pupils as teachers within the school.

Julia Canneaux LRAD ARAD AISTD

Turning Pointe Principal

Julia teaches Ballet, Pointe work, Extension classes and exam coaching.

I have been Principal of the school for 25 years. At 13 I became a scholar at the Royal Academy of Dance, travelling to London twice a week to supplement my training in Worthing. At 16, I won a place at the Royal Ballet Upper School and studied later at Bush Davies, East Grinstead. Following my sister into teacher training at the College of the Royal Academy of Dance, I became Head Girl in my final year. After qualifying as a teacher of Ballet, National and Modern Dance I became a freelance teacher for a year before becoming Principal of the Pauline Howard School of Dance in Haywards Heath, now Turning Pointe School of Dance.

I opened the Lewes branch of the school in September 1999. Since then I have directed and choreographed three full-length original Ballets - 'The Nutcracker', 'Cinderella' and 'Peter Pan' inspired by and created for Turning Pointe pupils. In 2009 we opened at Plumpton and, in September 2011, started classes in Barcombe.

My aim is to develop the potential in each pupil and to encourage confidence, self discipline and a life enhancing love of dance.

Lianne Carter

Assistant Principal

Lianne teaches Modern, Tap, Jazz, Street Jazz and Musical Theatre classes.

I started dancing at the age of three, and was a pupil of Turning Pointe (formerly PHSD) for 10 years, being taught by Julia Canneaux, Amanda Fyles and Pat Ellis. After completing dance exams in Ballet, Tap and Modern, and A-levels in Dance and Performing Arts, I successfully auditioned for a place at Stella Mann Professional College of Performing Arts. During my time there, I trained in a wide range of dance and theatre styles, and gained my first ISTD dance teaching qualifications. I had always kept in contact with my dance teachers from Turning Pointe, and loved the atmosphere and ethos of the school so much that I was delighted when Julia Canneaux asked me to start up Tap, Street Jazz and Modern classes in Lewes. I have been teaching for Turning Pointe School of Dance since 2005, and in 2009 choreographed the School's first Tap, Modern, Street Jazz and Musical Theatre show "Inspirations" which was a resounding success. More recently I co-choreographed 'Peter Pan the Ballet', and absolutely loved working alongside the teachers that inspired me so much as a child. For me dance teaching is my vocation, and through fun and energetic classes I strive to pass on my passion for dance to the children I teach.


Senior Ballet teacher

Nisa was born in Bedfordshire, where she trained locally with Julia Hyde and Ann Hallett, before gaining a place at the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD). Whilst a student at the Academy, Nisa passed vocational examinations in Modern Theatre Dance and National Dance, as well as Classical Ballet. During her third year, Nisa was invited to work as a teaching assistant for the Academy's Open Classes. She graduated in 2004 with a 2:1 honours degree in The Art and Teaching of Ballet, as well as gaining the RAD's Licentiate award. Since then, Nisa has enjoyed working as a freelance teacher in and around London, teaching Classical Ballet, Modern Theatre Dance and Contemporary to students aged 2 to 60! Her students have a 100% pass rate at both graded and vocational levels, with some past pupils currently studying at The Royal Ballet School, Elmhurst School for Dance and the BRIT school. Nisa has also choreographed shows at the Bloomsbury and Cochrane Theatres, London, for past schools. She moved to Sussex in 2009. This is her first year teaching at The Turning Pointe School of Dance, and she is very much looking forward to sharing her love of dance with all its pupils!

Louise Walters

Ballet teacher

Trained in RAD ballet with Virginia Parkinson at the Parkinson’s School of Dance from the age of 7. At the age of 14 she was offered a place to join the Dance Strand at The BRIT School for Performing Arts and Technology where she studied for 4 years. During her time at The BRIT School, she was chosen on two occasions to represent the Dance Strand in Europe, both on an exchange trip to Poland and at a choreography showcase in Sweden. At the age of 18 Louise was offered a place at The Royal Academy of Dance to undertake her teacher training. She has studied both on the BA (Hons) Ballet Education degree programme and the LRAD programme, with teaching experience in both the private and public sectors. Louise is an enthusiastic individual who is delighted to be teaching the students at Turning Pointe.

Amy Coughlan

Ballet teacher

Amy started training at 4 years old, at the age of 12 she started vocational training at the Legat School of Dance where she studied Cecchetti passing Intermediate and Advanced 1, during this time she also trained with Kirsten Rennie were she passed RAD Pre Elementary. In 2006 she gained a place at Central School of Ballet where she studied for 3 years graduating with a BA(Hons) in Professional Dance and Performance. After graduating in 2009 she performed with Ballet Theatre UK dancing in Nutcracker and Cinderella performing a variety of roles including Clara from Nutcracker and Sister from Cinderella around the UK, Ireland and Wales. In 2011 she joined Vienna Festival Ballet performing Nutcracker, Swan Lake and a Tchaikovsky Gala performing all over the UK, Wales and Dubai. In 2013 Amy was accepted onto the Royal Academy of Dance's Professional Dancers Teaching Diploma to gain her teaching qualifications. Since 2012 she has been a teaching with Rennie School of Dance and a Guest Dance Teacher for Uckfield Community College's Vision Dance Company. Amy is very much looking forward to inspiring the young dancers of Turning Pointe.

Naomi Giffen

Guest teacher

Originally training in dance, Naomi began at Turning Pointe School of Dance (then PHSD) learning ballet with Julia Canneaux and Amanda Fyles and tap and modern with Pat Ellis. She went on to complete an apprenticeship with Springs Dance Company (2003-2004) then dance teacher training through the Royal Academy of Dance, specialising in RAD ballet and contemporary dance (2005-2007). After completing her training Naomi went on to teach A Level dance at Central Sussex College, RAD Ballet at Turning Pointe School of Dance and work freelance teaching creative and contemporary dance across the south. Alongside her teaching Naomi branched into the circus world, beginning her work as an acrobat and then moving into aerial, training at The New England Centre of Circus Arts specialising in trapeze (2008-2009). Naomi is a performer with Zu Aerial Dance doing both theatre and corporate work which takes her across the UK as she fuses her dance skills with her aerial technique on trapeze, silks and rope. Naomi now juggles her teaching alongside her performing, working as a trapeze teacher for ZU Aerial and a ballet teacher for Turning Pointe School of Dance.

Amanda Fyles LRAD AISTD

Guest teacher and costume mistress.

Amanda teaches Ballet, Salsa, Tango and National.

I began my training at Jean Butterworth School of Dance in Worthing at the age of 3. At the age of 18 I gained a place at the college of the Royal Academy of Dance to train as a teacher. I then became a freelance teacher of Ballet, Modern, Ballroom and Latin American dancing for two years before being approached to take over as Principal at the Pauline Howard School of Dance when Mrs Howard retired. Soon after becoming a Principal in 1986, I moved to America, passing the baton on to my sister Julia. In America, I taught many talented and successful students, but on my return to England with my young family, was persuaded to return to the school as senior ballet teacher for 15 years.

Amanda is an extremely talented seamstress designing and creating wonderful costumes as well as uniform for the school. A talent for choreography has also become apparent whilst creating The Nutcracker', 'Cinderella' and 'Peter Pan'. Mrs Fyles now lives on the Isle of Wight where she continues to teach dance to all ages. Pupils are always delighted to welcome back one of their favorite teachers as a guest at the school.

Carmel Keller

School Administrator

Carmel has been a parent within the school herself and provides support to staff and parents.