Meet the Team

IMG_2110Matthew Aker / Owner

After 4 fantastic years of working as an instructor for a number of Arthur Murray Studios around the world I decided it was time to open my own studio and in 2008 took the plunge and opened the doors at Arthur Murray Castle Hill.

Before I even found a location I had a vision of what I would like my studio to be. I wanted a grown up, sophisticated studio that specialised in social dancing and where students were like family. I was keen to develop a studio where everyone shared a love of dancing and were dedicated not just to their own dancing but everyone’s in the studio.

Now, ten years later that vision has come true. We have built an exciting social studio which people see as their second home. It’s also the friendliest studio I have every worked in; often when a new student arrives, before the staff or I have a chance to say hi, other students have already introduced themselves and offered them a coffee or a cold drink!

As an instructor I specialise in working with couples and love watching all my students grow and develop as social dancers. We also have a lot of long term students and it’s been a privilege to work with them over the years to see them become confident and proficient dancers.

Now, after nine years, is the fun part, we have an amazing team of staff, an amazing bunch of students and the sky is the limit as to how much we can grow as a studio. I look forward to meeting each and every person that begins their dance journey here and is able to call Arthur Murray Castle Hill their home for Dancing.

Dani McLeod – Manager

I started dancing at a young age. I fell in love with Latin and Ballroom dancing because of my father. After watching him participate in dance classes, I became enthralled and thought this could be something I would love to pursue. So, my generous dad signed me up and I started my lessons straight away. It was captivating and I enjoyed it so much.

I realized from then it was more than just hobby. I qualified to become an instructor and I was soon teaching couples, wedding couples, singles and choreographing routines for special events and competitions.  It is a passion, that I now call my career.

I have worked in the industry for 10 years and with Arthur Murray Castle Hill for 8 years as a senior instructor and studio manager.

My love for dancing lies with teaching singles and couples how to socially dance. More importantly, showing people the benefits of dancing and how dancing can change your life is enormously rewarding.

Jaymie Haskell – Senior Instructor

My love of dance led me from America to Australia in 2015.  I began teaching with Arthur Murray Lakewood, Colorado in 2008 and became passionate about the Arthur Murray approach to social dancing which made it super easy and fun to learn.  Over the years, I became one of Arthur Murray’s top instructors and received top instructor worldwide awards for 6 years running.  My move to Australia has been the next step in my career and a great introduction to fabulous beaches and down to earth Aussies.

In addition to my teaching I compete professionally in American Smooth and Rhythm both Nationally  and Internationally;  my dance partner and I have held the title of Australian National Smooth and Rhythm Champions.

As a teacher, I love working one on one with students to achieve their goals, from being competent social dancers through to participating in events and performances.  As a senior instructor, some of my career highlights have been sharing choreographed routines to celebrate special moments in my students lives.  I love to teach what are called specialty dances like Samba, Salsa, Two Step, Merengue etc. so students have lots of variety and get a chance to dance socially more often.  I also like to challenge my students to practice their dance skills whenever they can; while pushing their supermarket trolley or perhaps dancing to a busker.  It’s all about learning while having fun.

Collin Del Rosario –  Instructor

I have always had a fascination with partnership dancing, where a man and a woman are able to move to the music together in perfect synchronisation. In particular, I became captivated by the elegance and smoothness of Hollywood’s Fred Astaire, where he was able to win the hearts of the fair ladies and the audience,through dancing. After a few films, I started to realise that this nature of being a gentleman and the concept of chivalry had long been gone in today’s society. As a result, one day I decided to search for a ballroom dance studio in the Hills District, thankfully enough, Arthur Murray Castle Hill was the first on my Google search.

Like many other student, I applied for a Complimentary Lesson with the plan of learning what I can, going home and practising what I can, I knew I couldn’t afford lessons since I was a fresh high school graduate with little pocket money.

After going through the basics of some dances, Matthew asked me, “What are you doing right now and why do you do it?” I replied, “I’m studying a Bachelor of Nursing at UTS, I want to work my way to specialise in Paediatrics and aim to work at Westmead Children’s Hospital. I’ve always loved dancing and it’s brought me happiness and joy; and if I could lighten up the day of any depressed child with dancing, I would.” Since my drive to dance was to make the other person happy, Matthew offered me a job right then and there.

Six months later, I’m starting to gain more students and teach group classes, and I’m always excited, due to the fact that there’s always something new to experience and learn, and there’s always someone new to meet. The part about this job I love most, is seeing the growth of students from doubtful in their own ability to firmly confident, the smiles I see in their achievements is contagious and I can’t help but smile myself and congratulate them.

Of course, my gratitude towards the Arthur Murray Castle Hill team cannot be measured, since they have given me so much and have supported me along my journey, I’m excited to see where this job will take me in the future and the everlasting friendships that will be created.


See you on the dance floor!