About Us

The Karen Shiel School of Dance first opened on 14th February 1998 at All Saints Church Hall, Penshaw. Pupil numbers quickly grew and in July 2001 we moved to Shiney Row where the growth and reputation continued, in November 2007 we again needed more space so we moved to a bigger studio just across the road at 1 Westbourne Terrace, where we now have a large main studio as well as 3 smaller studios, waiting area with tuck shop, kitchen, separate boys and girls changing areas and office/costume department.

We offer recognised BTDA qualifications in tap, modern jazz, ballet, lyrical and acro dance as well as medal examinations in all of these subjects and also song and dance. We are a member of the NCDTA and run medal tests for freestyle disco. We regularly enter competitions in both theatre dance and freestyle disco. Our Shiney Stars Freestyle dancers are members of A.D.F.P. Our pupils perform each year in two shows produced by Shiel productions one of which takes place the Sunderland Empire, and also in many smaller productions. We offer a friendly family run dance school where everyone is given the opportunity to achieve their full potential.

Karen Shiel Smith - Principal

BA(hons), MBTDA reg TC, MIDTA reg F, MCTDA F

It had always been my dream to be a dance teacher and now I am living that dream and enjoying every minute of it. I have successfully gained BTDA exams and teaching exams as well as an IDTA freestyle teaching qualification. I am a current teaching member of BTDA. I also gained BA Hons degree in Performance Arts Studies at Sunderland University. 

I have danced since the age of 2 and will continue for the rest of my life. I have danced in many performances at venues across the North East including Sunderland Empire Theatre as well as choreographing for solos, groups and full productions. I am a BTDA examiner. I hold first aid certificate and a current CRB/DBS check.


Laura Rowe - Head Teacher

Laura has danced with us since the age of 7 and became an assistant dance teacher in 2004 She is now a fully Qualified dance teacher with BTDA. She was awarded a BTDA scholarship in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009. Laura has studied performing arts at Durham Sixth form.  

Laura holds a PTLLS qualification, current first aid certificate, CRB/DBS check and is a registered chaperone with city of Sunderland. Laura has taken part in many performances and now choreographs solo and duets for competitions and well as being assistant choreographer for our productions.