Denise is widely respected as one of New Zealand’s leading tap dancing
teachers, adjudicators, and choreographers having run her very successful studio in Dunedin for the past
30 years. Choreographic highlights have been 42nd Street (2000), the All Black/South African pre-match
entertainment performance, involving one hundred dancers at Carisbrook and training her students to
success both nationally and internationally, the most recent of these being Georgia Balloch, who is now
studying at the Ministry of Dance in Melbourne. Denise is also no stranger to the Musical Theatre stage
with many principal roles to her credit over an impressive 30 year career. These include Nellie (South
Pacific), Nancy (Oliver), Rizzo (Grease), Velma (Chicago), Ado Annie (Oklahoma), Maggie Jones (42nd
Street), Madame de la Grande Bouche, The Wardrobe (Beauty and the Beast), Miss Hannigan (Annie) and the
Widow Corney in (Oliver) for the Taieri Musical Society in 2010. Denise has just finished directing and
choreographing the highly acclaimed production of “My Fair Lady” for the Taieri Musical
In addition to this Denise has run the highly successful Musical Theatre
& Dance Summer School in
Timaru for the past eight years. Every year attracting up to 60 participants, between the
ages of eight and seventeen years. Over the years the summer school has donated over four thousand dollars to
charity. These are primarily children’s charities that have included Canteen, IHC, Cure Kids, The Red Cross and
Boxing Day Tsunami of 2004, The Children’s Trust of the Haiti Earthquake and many more. All profits from our
demonstration concert go to charity.
I have been involved with Singing, Speech, Drama and the Theatre for the
past 30 years. I started singing at the age of six and went
on to successfully compete in Singing Competitions in New Zealand and
I moved to
Sydney, Australia in 1986 and continued my singing studies and also attended ADASA Drama
School. I returned to New Zealand in 1994 with my
family and set up a singing studio for private pupils, which I continue to do today, along with still
regularly performing in local shows, Musical Directing and private singing engagements.
My love of theatre started at an early age.
At the age of seven, I appeared in Repertory’s production of ‘Alice through the looking glass’, where I made a
stunning appearance as a Daisy! Since those early days, I have performed many roles for the Dunedin Operatic
Soc, Dunedin Opera Co, the Dunedin Repertory Soc and the North Shore Opera Centre in Sydney. Along with my
experience as a performer I was also given the opportunity to be the Musical Director for the highly successful
musicals “Chess” with the Taieri Musical Society in 2005 , "Annie" in 2006 and "Grease" in 2007 and in 2008 –
‘Honk’. I recently performed
in the highly successful “Full Monty”
with the Australian Production Company Epiphany Productions and also worked for them in January 2009 as Musical
Director for ‘High School Musical’.. More Musical Directing for BUDDY as well as being part of the cast in
October wrapped up another busy year in 2009. In 2010 I was Musical Director for ‘Oliver’ and in October played
the leading role of Casilda in ‘The Gondoliers’.
A Singing Teacher for the last 25 years, I
have seen many of my students excel in local competitions and perform with local theatre companies - many
playing lead roles in major productions. I enjoy sharing my knowledge and skills with anyone who loves to sing,
and believe the great thing about singing is that you’re never too old or young to learn and enhance the voice
you were born with.The aim of my singing classes is to
give each individual the chance to sing and learn about different styles of music, while at the same time
really work on developing their own true voice, style and technique. Some of the more theatrical styles would
also involve some simple movement/actions as well.
I look forward to introducing you to the
wonderful world of singing and helping you realise your true talent and
Ashlyn has experience in a wide variety of dance styles training with many
top studios in Dunedin. These include Denise Henderson Studio
of Tap, Katy Chalmers, ‘Let’s Dance’ (Jazz), Amber Weeks ‘Xtend’, Tarryn Hoffman’s “Tempo” and Dallas Wades’ “ Expreszions” all in Hip Hop, and Lizzie Adams’s ‘LA Dance Centre” in Jazz. Ashlyn has also attended the Conroy’s School of Dance Summer School in
Ashlyn has been a real star of the New Zealand Association of Modern Dance Hip Hop
Examinations gaining the top three percent nationally twice and competing in the NZAMD scholarship
program in both Christchurch and Wellington. At age 15
Ashlyn won the individual scholarship program national final, she was the first ever South Island Hip Hop
In 2008 Ashlyn co-coached and choreographed the Mac Andrew Intermediate School dance group
“M-Slacks” taking them all the way to 1st place at the NZCAF National Hip Hop national
In 2009 and 2010 Ashlyn taught Hip Hop for ‘Expreszions’ and co-ordinated the first ever Hip
Hop workshop with members of the local Hip Hop community in Dunedin.
Ashlyn is also a member of the Otago Girls’ High School Hip Hop group ‘Kustard’ placing
second and third in the NZCAF Hip Hop competitions in 2009 and 2010. In 2011 the group placed first and
also won the Most Outstanding Crew of the Competition Award.
Also in 2011 the group placed first at the Nelson Hip Hop Competition ‘Shakedown’.
To add to this Ashlyn is also the youngest member of the Otago Nuggets Cheer Leading