Our Team

The Dance Habit team is formed by a selection of young, energetic and vibrant professionals with a shared passion for dance, body alignment and the arts. Each one of us is very aware of the key role that dance has played in our lives.

We are grateful to our own teachers and studios for sharing their love of dance, enriching our lives, supporting us in our dreams, and shaping the people we are today. Now it is our turn to pay it forward and do the same for you.

At Dance Habit, we understand first-hand the benefits and joy that come from belonging to a dance school, and we welcome and support everyone, regardless of their dance background, ability or goals. Here, not only will you form some great habits, but you will also make some wonderful friendships along the way.

In addition, all of our Preschool and Middle School Team are certified with Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (YPAD), so you know you’re in safe hands.


Megan Jessop, Director

  • Megan dance habit directorBachelor of Performing Arts (Dance)
  • Diploma in Dance Teaching & Management
  • Rhythm Works Integrative Dance Certification
  • Qualified Acrobatic Arts Teacher
  • Graduate Certificate of Literary Studies
  • Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (YPAD) Certified
  • Working with Children Check / First Aid / CPR

Dance Habit Founder and Director, Megan Jessop, began her dance career at the age of just three, training in RAD Ballet, AJDA and NZAMD Jazz, BAL Tap, Contemporary and Hip Hop. In 2006, she was awarded a Bachelor in Performing Arts (Dance Major) from the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Committed to professional development, Megan also completed a Diploma in Dance Teaching and Management in 2016.

A professional dancer, Megan has performed on stage, television and in film. She has adjudicated dance competitions and been sought out as a guest tutor for dance workshops in New Zealand, and further abroad.

Megan’s love of performing has been quickly matched by her zest for teaching, which has led to her Dance Habit dream. Her desire is to instill this passion in others so everyone can experience the joy that dance can bring.


Cassie Pugh, Operations Manager

  • Certificate IV in Dance Teaching and Management
  • Qualified Acrobatic Arts Teacher
  • Rhythm Works Integrative Dance Certification
  • Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (YPAD) Certified
  • Working with Children Check / First Aid / CPR

Cassie was born and raised in Perth and started dancing at the age of four, training in Ballet, Jazz, Hip Hop, Acrobatics, Musical Theatre and Tap. When Cassie was 12, she began assisting in classes at her dance school, where she discovered a passion for teaching.

In 2010, Cassie, moved to Melbourne to pursue her career as a professional dancer and to gain more experience, first studying and graduating from Jason Coleman’s Ministry of Dance (MoD) two year full-time course. During her time at MoD, Cassie was trained by some of Australia’s best choreographers.

In 2013, Cassie moved to the UK to train at Pineapple Dance Studios in Convent Garden and Rare Dance Studios in Liverpool. Shortly after, Cassie was offered a contract to perform on the Island Princess cruise ship. The Island Princess became Cassie’s home for the next eight months as she performed two production shows a night in all styles of dance.

In 2014, Cassie moved back home to Perth to share her knowledge and teach at several dance and high schools. Cassie settled back in Melbourne in 2015 and performed in Stage Art Saturday Night Fever. Cassie is enjoying her role as a teacher as she shares her knowledge, experience and love of dance with students from ages two to adults. Her aim is for all students to leave the studio feeling good about themselves, having learnt something new.


Mel JamesMel

  • Bachelor of Performing Arts (Dance)
  • Diploma in Dance Teaching & Management
  • Lisa Howell’s Level 1 Dance Teacher & Therapist Training
  • Progressing Ballet Technique Certification
  • Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (YPAD) Certified
  • Working with Children Check / First Aid / CPR

Mel’s love affair with dance began at the tender age of four. Training hard to complete her advanced Jazz and Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) Ballet exams to the highest level, Mel then secured a position at the University of Auckland studying a Bachelor in Performing Arts (Dance Major).

It was during her time at university that Mel discovered her love for pilates. Studying with Brenton Surgeonor in Body Control Pilates, she wrote an original paper about the relationship between, and benefits of, Pilates for dancers.

Mel joins Dance Habit with years of experience in dance and Pilates teaching, choreography, and educational research. With a particular focus on safety in body alignment and overall health and well being, Mel’s students reap the rewards.


Lisa-Marie HooperLisa Marie

  • Bachelor of Performing Arts (Dance)
  • Diploma in Dance Teaching & Management
  • Lisa Howell’s Level 1 Dance Teacher & Therapist Training
  • Lisa Howell’s Pointe Assessment Training
  • Diploma in Fitness (Registered Fitness Professional with Fitness Australia)
  • Affiliated Professional of Body Positive Fitness Alliance
  • Certified Pre and Postnatal Coach
  • Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (YPAD) Certified
  • Working with Children Check / First Aid / CPR

Lisa-Marie has always had a love of sound and movement. At six years old, she started Tap dance classes, making her first stage debut as a Christmas tree – ask her to show you jingle bell rock and, guaranteed, she still remembers the steps! Working her way through the prestigious I.S.T.D syllabus in Tap, Modern Jazz and Ballet, Lisa continued her dance education at the University of Auckland. She is proud to have been part of the first graduating class for the Bachelor of Performing Arts (Dance Major).

Following graduation, Lisa ran her own business in New Zealand, taking dance to primary schools around Auckland and incorporating the newly added dance scope into everyday education. With a passion for teaching and health and fitness (she is also a fully qualified personal trainer), Lisa’s classes are high energy and results-driven with a focus on fun!


Monica (Mon) Diaz

  • ISVP Broadway Dance Centre
  • Qualified Acrobatic Arts Teacher
  • Diploma of Remedial Massage
  • Certificate in Massage Therapy
  • Bachelor of Communication, Advertising & Public Relations
  • Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (YPAD) Certified
  • Working with Children Check / First Aid / CPR

Monica was born and raised in the Canary Islands (Spain). She started as a rhythmic gymnast at the age of four but in an attempt to improve her technique, discovered Ballet and Jazz classes. She says she “fell in love with the art form, so left the sport”.

At the age of 16, Monica started her own Hip Hop classes, which was her first taste of teaching. After six years in Madrid studying, learning and performing in a touring musical, Monica relocated to New York in 2013 to enrol in full time dance studies at Broadway Dance Center. During her studies, Monica had the opportunity to perform twice in the TV show Good Morning America and work as a model for a dancewear brand.

Back home, overwhelmed with inspiration and all the things she had learned, Monica felt the urge to share and discovered she was a teacher inside. This let to her developing a three-day workshop at her very first dance school – she hasn’t stopped teaching since, both at home and further abroad.

Still to this day, whenever she sets foot on her hometown, Monica finds the time to teach at her first dance school, as she strongly believes in the importance of giving back as well as the value of sharing and being a part of people’s development and growth. Now based in Melbourne, we are thrilled to welcome Monica to our team!


Payge O’Shea

  • Diploma in Dance – Elite Performance
  • Certificate IV in Dance Teaching and Management
  • Rhythm Works Integrative Dance Certification
  • Qualified Acrobatic Arts Teacher
  • Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (YPAD) Certified
  • Working with Children Check / First Aid / CPR

Payge started her dance career at the age of three with Vicki’s Dancing Academy in Morwell. She trained in Ballet, Modern, Jazz, Tap, Character, National, Contemporary and Lyrical. In 2016, she was awarded the Dedication and Development Award for first year at Transit Dance.  In 2017, she completed her studies at Transit and now holds a Diploma in Dance – Elite Performance as well as a Certificate IV in Dance Teaching and Management.

Payge has been involved in many local theatre productions, performing as a dancer, actor and singer. This led to opportunities choreographing for productions, which sparked an interest to further her dance and teaching career. She is passionate about teaching dance to all ages, capabilities and strengths and is eager to pass her knowledge on to future generations. She also recently completed her Rhythm Works Integrative Dance Certification.

In 2017, Payge began teaching a Preschool Dance Program called Ready, Set, Dance for ages 2-5. It was during this time that she discovered a passion for working with the Preschool age group. We are so excited to welcome Payge to our team in 2018 to work with our Preschoolers and Rhythm Works students.


Leisel McCormac

  • Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition)
  • Certificate IV in Massage Therapy
  • Certificate IV in Musical Theatre
  • CSTD Theatrical and Tap Teaching Certificates
  • Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (YPAD) Certified
  • Working with Children Check / First Aid / CPR

Leisel has always had a passion for dance and music. Originally from Queensland, her dance education began at the age of three, training in RAD and CSTD Ballet, CSTD Jazz, CSTD, LGTDA and ATOD Tap, Contemporary, Lyrical and Hip Hop. She also trained in singing, music and drama and in 2007, graduated from Australian Dance Performance Institute with a Certificate IV in Musical Theatre.

As well as her love for performance and creativity, Leisel values a healthy way of living. She is passionate about a holistic approach to her mental and physical wellbeing and for personal development, decided to further her knowledge and education. In 2016, she graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition).

Leisel joins us with over ten years’ experience in dance teaching and choreography. She is super excited to be part of the Dance Habit community and can’t wait to share her knowledge and love for dance to students of all ages.


Claire Haywood

  • Bachelor Creative Arts (hons.) with a double major in Theatre & Writing
  • Diploma of Dance Teaching and Management
  • Diploma of Event Management
  • AASCF Cheerleading & Tumbling Coaches qualifications (lvl 3)
  • Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (YPAD) Certified
  • Working with Children Check / First Aid / CPR

Born into a dance & theatre family, Claire has been involved in the live entertainment industry her whole life. She has trained in various styles of dance including Classical, Contemporary, Tap, Jazz, Commercial, Hip Hop, Acrobatics and Cheerleading. In 2017, she launched the YouTube channel Dance Geek where she makes videos to share her crazy knowledge of dance & live performance with the dance community.

Claire has worn a plethora of “hats” within the live performance industry, mostly in a creative & production capacity. She has worked as a Director, Choreographer, Artistic Director, Producer, Performer, Stage Manager, script writer and even a sound and lighting technician! But the role she most enjoys is that of educator.

As a passionate teacher, Claire is known for quirky, energetic and entertaining approach to teaching! She has trained many talented students who went on to work throughout the industry and we are so thrilled Claire has joined our team in 2020!


Carla Destito

  • Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (YPAD) Certified
  • Working with Children Check / First Aid / CPR

Carla began her dance training with Dance Habit in 2011 at the tender age of ten. Over the years, Carla has studied a number of different dance styles, but found a special place in her heart for Jazz and Tap.

From a very young age, Carla expressed the desire to be a teacher and has indeed gone on to study Primary School Teaching at University after graduating from High School.

Carla has been a valued member of the Dance Habit family for almost a decade, making the unique transition from student, to assistant, to teacher. She officially joined our teaching team in 2020 taking on Junior Tap classes and has already proved herself to be a committed and passionate educator.

We are excited to welcome Carla to our Preschool Teaching Team in 2021 in addition to her junior classes. You’ll also find her contagious smile at reception from time to time!


Sophie Gould

  • Bachelor Fine Arts (Dance)
  • Youth Protection Advocates in Dance (YPAD) Certified
  • Working with Children Check / First Aid / CPR

Sophie was born and raised on the Mornington Peninsula, where she quickly realised her dreams of becoming a member of Hi-5 weren’t going to come true unless she got into a dance class! She was trained at Peninsula School of Dance from the age of 3 in Ballet, Jazz, Tap, and Contemporary under Sandra Allan, OAM, and Melanie Gard. As soon as she could, she was assisting her teachers in junior classes, and for the last five years she has nurtured and cultivated her passion and skills under Melanie in a range of styles, ages, and abilities.

On completing Year 12, Sophie successfully auditioned for the BFA (Dance) at The Victorian College of the Arts, and graduated in 2019. During her time at VCA, she worked with a range of renowned independent contemporary artists and was given the opportunity to study abroad in her third year, training in Paris, Montpellier, and Istres, France.

Sophie describes herself as a life-long learner, and her passion for sharing and learning translates into her classes. She runs all her classes with laughter, joy, and a focus on creating a safe, happy space for her students to get the most out of their dance experience. She plans to return to study in 2022 to become a qualified physiotherapist.


Sarah Saxon

  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance)
  • Working with Children Check / First Aid / CPR

Dance has been part of Sarah’s life for as long as she remembers and she believes it to be an incredibly powerful tool for developing kindness, thoughtfulness and self-awareness. Sarah has a background in Latin American, Ballroom, Ballet and Contemporary dance and is a 2020 Bachelor of Fine Arts (Dance) graduate from the Victorian College of the Arts. During her studies she worked with a number of nationally and internationally renowned Contemporary dance artists including Prue Lang and Anouk van Dijk. During her studies she spent time training in Paris, Montpellier and Istres, France with dance artists including Johanne Saunier (Rosas) and Edmond Russo and Shlomi Tuizer (Affari Esteri).

Sarah has a great appreciation for somatic practices including Kinesiology, Feldenkrais and Alexander Technique and brings influences from these into her classes in order to help students find a greater sense of ease in their movements. She has a passion for sharing the joy and enrichment dance has brought to her life and approaches her classes with the intention to create a space that is fun and welcoming, where students can feel confident to challenge themselves and be curious about their movement potential. She aims to help students develop somatic awareness and a deep knowledge and love of their own bodies.

This year Sarah is completing her Honours year of her BFA (Dance) degree and is researching human connection to landscape and natural environments through the lens of site-specific dance practices and human geography.


Talia Barrett, Receptionist

  • Bachelor of Social Work
  • Master of Social Work
  • Working with Children Check / First Aid / CPR

Talia grew up in NSW, dancing both at home, choreographing routines for herself and her best friend, and in formal classes (Tap, Jazz and Modern) from ages 3-15. For Talia, dance has always been an enjoyable form of self-expression as well as an opportunity to challenge yourself in a safe and supportive environment, to make new friends and to have fun.

These days Talia is a social worker by day, running therapeutic creative arts groups with children and young people who have experienced trauma. By night, Talia is an adult student at Dance Habit, enjoying a number of different dance styles. Talia has a particular love for Tap dancing.

Talia loves and values being part of the Dance Habit community, having found DH to be a supportive and fun home away from home. Talia enjoys spending time in the office on Saturdays, meeting all the dancers and their families and is always up for a chat or a check-in.