Ann Roberts School of Dance

Jane Pirani

Jane Pirani

Jane trained with the Ann Roberts School of Dancing before changing tack to study fine art. After completing her degree she went back to her first love and became a professional dancer in France, where she worked for two years with Maggi Sietsma, the artistic director of Expressions in Brisbane.

She began Extensions in 1986 and was artistic director for eleven years before taking over as artistic director of Dance North in 1997. As a freelance choreographer, she also made works for Expressions, Queensland Ballet, Adelaide Centre for Performing Arts, Dance North and Buzz Dance Theatre. As artistic director of Extensions Jane worked with 50 to 60 young performers every year creating large scale productions performed in Townsville and at youth festivals in Adelaide, Perth, Brisbane, Xian City, China and Aberdeen, Scotland. It was during this time that Jane started to direct large scale community events such as VP50 where she worked with 650 school children to create a lantern extravaganza for the closing celebrations.

During the seven years that Jane directed Dance North she took the company nationally and internationally with new works produced each year by her and guest choreographers. She produced collaborations, the most memorable, "Luuli," performed with the Lardil dancers from Woomera Aboriginal Islander Corporation, Mornington Island, toured across the top of Australia, regional Queensland and capital cities over three years.

As director of the school of dance Jane is passionate about providing a balanced curriculum to students that teaches them technical, expressive and social skills. Dance is used to build confidence and co-ordination and to nurture a love of the arts.The various programmes run by the school including Moving ARTS in schools gives children the opportunity to express themselves through movement which fills them with a love of life.

Jane’s recent choreography includes works for QUT Brisbane, the New Zealand School of Dance, Extensions Youth Dance and Ulysses Butterfly, the senior performance group of the Ann Roberts School of Dance.
Ulysses Butterfly is for dancers over 18. In June of each year Ulysses Butterfly perform a major production at Riverway Arts Centre. Giselle, The Taming of the Shrew and King Arthur were the last three productions and this year Coppelia will be the centrepiece.

Jane is entering her eleventh year of directing the school and is thrilled with its growth and the excellence she is nurturing in her students. Many have gone on to be professionals in this field but everyone has blossomed through their encounter with dance.

Andre Reynaud

Andre Reynaud

Andre trained as an engineer in his native country, France. He worked in the field for several years In France and Africa in the Sudan. During his student days Andre spent all of his spare time designing, making and operating puppets. This grand passion took over and transferred itself into the theatre where he began a new career as a lighting designer in his late twenties. It was during this time that he worked in the same company as his future wife, Jane Pirani.

In 1982 Andre became an Australian resident and added another skill to his portfolio - theatre design and construction which he continues to do to the present. His first commission upon arrival was for his mother-in-law’s school of dance - the Ann Roberts School of Dancing. From there he has designed for the Choral Society in Townsville and Cairns, North Queensland Opera and Music Theatre, Dance North, Extensions, Seaview Steak, Trellis of Lizards, New Moon Theatre Company, Expressions in Brisbane, REM in Sydney, Tropic Line, Hard Sun and the James Cook University theatre course. Andre has designed over seventy works for theatre since he came to Australia 

Andre also designs costumes, character suits/mascots and over-sized puppets. In fact Andre has become famous for his mascots. The recycling alien Baggit, Townsville Croc’s second costume and accessories, Captain Catastrophe, Jabberwocky, Fred the Frilled neck lizard for the NQ Games, Penguin for the Warrina Ice Skating Rink, Aslan the lion from the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and the animal heads from Alice in Downunderland are but the tip of the iceberg of Andre’s creations.

At the close of 2004 Jane and Andre took over the Ann Roberts School of Dancing. Andre manages the administration of the school and all production aspects. Andre’s experience in the theatre is vast and comprehensive so he is an ideal leader to nurture and promote the arts industry in Townsville at a training level.  Andre believes that the school and its diverse programmes such as Moving ARTS , Ulysses Butterfly and Tiny Tots are a vital step that will strengthen the cultural identity and practice of young Australians.

Andre continues to design and facilitate sets for the theatre and special events. His recent achievements include Legally Blonde with Townsville Choral Society. In recent years his designs have incorporated his extraordinary computer graphics skills which allow him to paint the stage with projections. Giselle, King Arthur and The Taming of the Shrew for Ulysses Butterfly established some of his best work with computer graphics.

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Ann Roberts School of Dance

Updated 20 January 2013