Northern Dance Academy, renamed in 2006, was originally Deborah McFadden School of Dancing - established in Kenridge in 1991. The studio consisted of 30 ballet students. Today it has close to 200 pupils learning to dance in Classical Ballet, Modern, Contemporary and Hip Hop. 

The Academy's afternoon program is designed for dancers from 4 years old through to matric level. Here they are able to participate in annual examinations, which take place in the 4th term, as well as in an annual show at the Bellville Civic Theatre. Students are also able to attend workshops, dance in annual productions at the Artscape Theatre, and participate in fundraising events and Medal Tests in their discipline. 

Deborah McFadden is a Practical Teachers Supervisor (PTS) and Mentor for the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) - Deborah runs a morning program for the training of teachers from 1st year Associate to 6th year Advanced Associate level in Modern dance (AIDT).

Deborah has taken students and teachers on 4 dance tours overseas - Italy (July 2002), London (July 2005) and New York (December 2008 and 2012).

In December 2006, Deborah created a contemporary dance company, Northern Dance Project, which performs annually at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival. Dancers from the Northern Suburbs, Stellenbosch and NDA are part of this project. 


Ballet is a classical dance form characterised by grace, technique and precision of movement. It is distinguished by stretching and strengthening of the leg and torso muscles, pointing the feet, turned out positions, and correct alignment. The classes offered are the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) method - an international society that structures the syllabus from Pre-school to Advanced 2 level allowing students to choose a Graded examination course or Vocational examinations if career minded.


A technique which stresses the “contraction and release” movement of the torso - expanding on the traditional ballet technique and freeing it to combine total body involvement with creative expression. Modern dance technique divides the class into 4 equal segments: barre work, standing work in the centre, floor work and combinations that travel across the floor. The lower grades concentrate on establishing body alignment, strength of feet and posture as well as isolations of the body.


Contemporary dance tends to combine the strong and controlled legwork of ballet with modern dance’s stress on the torso, whilst allowing for more improvisation and versatility. It focuses on contract-release, floor work, fall and recovery, and improvisation characteristics and aims to connect the mind and body through fluid dance movements - allowing dancers freedom of movement whilst using their bodies to express emotions. 

- George Balanchine


Deborah McFadden

Deborah McFadden has been teaching for over 35 years. Born in England, Deborah immigrated to South Africa at the age of 18 years - teaching first in Newcastle Natal and Secunda before moving to Cape Town in 1990 when she began the dance school in 1991. Deborah holds a Diploma of Higher Education – Dance Education, University of Surrey as well as; 

Ballet: Royal Academy of Dance (RAD)
- Registered Teacher Certificate (Distinction)
- Mentor for the Teacher Training Programme
- Personal Teacher Supervisor Teacher Training Programme (PTS)

Modern: Associate of International Dance Teachers (AIDT)
- Associate Teacher
- Advanced Associate Teacher
- Membership

Modern Technique: Lester Horton Technique
- Beginners  Pedagogy at Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre School New York (2009)
- Advanced  Pedagogy at  Alvin Ailey Dance Theatre School New York (2010)
- 1st South African Pedagogy (2010)
- 2nd South African Pedagogy (2012)

Danielle Briegel


Danielle Briegel had her first ballet lesson at the age of four and it was clear from an early age that dance will always be part of her soul. She attended Pro Arte Alphen Park High School in Pretoria, specializing in Dance (1995 -1999). At school she achieved both Ceccetti and RAD Ballet to Advanced level. 

After matriculating she moved to Cape Town to continue her studies with Deborah McFadden. Under Miss Debbie’s guidance she qualified as a Full Teaching Member of the Royal Academy Dance in 2002 and an Advanced Associate (Distinction) of the AIDT in 2007 as well as performed the Advanced Modern Exam (Distinction). In 2010 she attended the first South African Lester Horton Pedagogy presented by Ms Ana Marie Forsythe from the Alvin Ailey.

Danielle has taken part in musicals and productions by Gilbert&Sullivan and performed in solos, duets, trios, quartets and groups in the Cape Town Eisteddfod and Celebration of Dance. She has been on dance tours overseas with the Northern Dance Academy to London and New York and performed at  the National Arts Festival with the Northern Dance Project. 

After falling pregnant with her second daughter in 2016, Danielle decided to take an extended maternity leave and focus only on raising her young family.  Now feeling excited and truly blessed to be part of such a caring, active studio once again. 

Looking forward to what the future will bring and consider myself privileged to broaden my outlook and experience as a dance teacher at the Northern Dance Academy. Inspired to share my knowledge and love for dance. 

Natisha Van Zyl
The multi talented Natisha van Zyl has become one of South Africa’s leading performers - loved and inspired by all. Currently a radio DJ at the Western Cape’s leading radio station, Bok Radio 98.9FM, she also teaches ballet part time for Northern Dance Academy and regularly performs at prestige art festivals around the country.
At the age of 5 years old, Natisha started her ballet journey with Deborah McFadden and completed her Intermediate and Advanced One Ballet RAD level with Deborah's School of Dance - now know as Northern Dance Academy. Natisha is also part of Northern Dance Academy’s contemporary company, Northern Dance Project, that performs at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival every year.
It was Miss Debbie who also encouraged her to study with the Waterfront Theatre Company under the guidance of Delia Sainsbury and the late Keith Galloway where she majored in dance, drama and musical theatre and also obtained her Imperial Ballet Teachers qualification. 
Natisha completed her Advanced 2 ballet and is trained classically both in Imperial and RAD disciplines, jazz, contemporary, tap and modern. She also had the privilege of joining NDA on a tour to New York, where she danced with Alvin Ailey, DNA Dance Studio, Steps and Broadway Dance Studio. 
Natisha returned back to her dancing mom, Debbie, after she danced as a principle dancer in Turkey and joined NDA in 2014 as a ballet teacher.
Natisha presented the very popular SABC 2 television show, Hectic Nine 9 and has appeared in various television shows, musicals and dance productions and is honored to be part of Northern Dance Academy.
Lizelle Van Wyk
Lizelle Van Wyk started dancing at the tender age of 3. Her love for ballet blossomed and she continued her ballet studies through the Royal Academy of Dance. Lizelle was a student of the Deborah McFadden School of Dance (now Northern Dance Academy) - this is where she focused on her vocational ballet training up to Advanced 2 Level. She also trained in Modern Dance up to Advanced level as well as having three years of Spanish Dance training. Lizelle was accepted into UCT Ballet School but had a change in career and studied in the academic field at Cape Peninsula University of Technology where she holds a Cost and Management Accounting Diploma as well as a Business Management Diploma. 
Lizelle completed her CBTS (Certificate in Ballet Teacher Studies) whilst living abroad in the UAE. She worked for the oldest dance school in Dubai: The Ballet Center, amidst international staff and teaching pupils from all over the world. After living abroad for 9 years she has returned home to South Africa and is currently teaching for Northern Dance Academy and has been freelancing amidst a few ballet schools within the Western Cape. With her wealth of international teaching experience and knowledge of teaching the new and revised Royal Academy of Dance syllabus she is now aimed at giving all her attention towards the students of Northern Dance Academy.
Marisa Kotze
Freelance Teacher
Marisa is a 24-year old performer, choreographer and dance educator who started her dance training at the young age of four and trained in styles such as Modern, Ballet, Hip Hop, Tap and Contemporary. She did her ballet training and examination under the Royal Academy of Dance and her Modern exams under the AIDT. Every exam or Eisteddfod Marisa has entered resulted in nothing less than an Honours or Gold.
In 2008, Marisa signed her first contract, with the NDP Company based in Cape Town, run by Director Deborah McFadden. She again signed a contract in 2010 and 2014 and this year she was invited back to the Company. She performed with the Company at the National Grahamstown Arts Festival. As well as dancing for the NDP Company, Marisa has performed numerous times at the Artscape Theatre as well as the Baxter Theatre.
As well as working and performing in the contemporary and ballet genre, Marisa also competed as a Hip Hop dancer since the age of 13. In 2011 and 2013 Marisa competed in the SASFF Hip Hop Competition and received her WP colours as well as her SA colours for Hip Hop. In 2014 she travelled to Prague, Czech Republic to represent South Africa in the FISAF International Fitness & Hip Hop Unite World Championship.
While she has trained under some of the biggest names in the dance industry; Joshua Beamish, Gus Bembery, Nick De Moura, Khalid Freeman and Whyley Yoshimura to name a few, she also received her NQF Level 5 Diploma in Fitness. With her experience Marisa has been teaching open classes since 2009 and the word soon spread and she now has regular classes at numerous studios. Marisa has “The World is my Oyster” attitude and is driven by her passion for dance.


Please get in touch with us if you have any questions or would like to query about joining Northern Dance Academy