Discover our community...
SO WHAT IS ROCKIT?
Known as a studio that is ‘ahead of its time’, you need to look at Rockit a little differently. Rockit was established as a centre that uses dance, drama and singing as tools to improve the health and well being of the local community. With our ability to create happy healthy people, our students are now excelling technically as they have a stronger drive to achieve.
Reading through this website, you will see the depth this studio goes to in order to promote community inclusion, community pride and technical/performance strength. Our students thrive because of the heart we put into our programming.
Rockit doesn’t just teach dance, singing and acting. We are creating highly trained performers who will become tomorrow’s leaders, role models and forward thinkers.
What we do in this studio is not rocket science, it’s Rockit science and the results have been outstanding. 98% of parents report seeing positive changes in their children once commencing classes at Rockit. 98% also state the social justice subject matter weaved into weekly classes and performances has a positive impact on them.
In our studio you will find young isolated people find a home; elderly people thriving and connecting with younger generations; children with disabilities feeling completely part of the tribe; adults re-discovering themselves and what their capabilities are; young people developing their own identities and celebrating their uniqueness and teachers flourishing with the new teaching methodologies used.
WHY CREATE A STUDIO SUCH AS ROCKIT?
Rockit's Director, Noni Vassos (the Dance Whisperer) has spent many years experiencing how dance impacts individuals and the community. During her years teaching she has used dance as a tool to help autistic children cope with their sensory disorders and develop an identity, she has used dance to awaken nursing home residents from Alzheimers and Dementia connecting movement, music and memories to bring smiles to their faces, she has used dance to help struggling teenagers cope with anxiety and identity issues and she has used dance to create amazing artists who have started competing at national level.
To Noni, Rockit is more than just a dance studio. It is a community. A community of forward thinking individuals who see the power in what we are creating. These community members are spreading this positivity into the neighbourhood helping change and shape the lives of those around us.
"I want to say a big thank you to Miss Noni. There are plenty of dance schools but none are as inclusive as Rockit Performing Art School. I am 67 and able to dance with any age groups and any disability. There are some people who are born to be teachers and Miss Noni is one of them. With her intellect and passion she has made a big performing family where everyone is included. I have personally seen children with autism come to life through her care.
Miss Noni deserves recognition for her enthusiasm and dedication to her students".
Liz, Rockit Student
GETTING READY TO ROCKIT
Imagine walking into a studio flooded with natural light that exudes positivity. A place where people no matter what their ability, feel welcomed and part of a tribe.
Our friendly staff are excited to see you arrive and are keen to introduce your child to the class. Here you discover many more children like your own, each with a smile on their face ready to meet new friends. You will then discover Rockit’s positive teaching methodologies as you hear the teachers talking to and guiding students in a unique way.
It is at this moment you will discover this is no ordinary studio. This is a place built to empower individuals who discover themselves through dance, drama and singing. A place built to create tomorrows leaders, forward thinkers and role models. Sit back with pride and watch your child’s journey on this amazing path begin.
"Miss Noni is special. That is all. Gifted, compassionate, talented, intelligent, empathic, and above all an inspiration to all that attend her school. Our lives are changed forever whether my daughter leaves or continues her dance journey".
Nadine, Rockit Mum and Student
MOVERS & SHAKERS
2019 Telstra Business Woman of the Year State Winner, For Purpose and Social Enterprise
2019 Telstra Business Woman of the Year, National Finalist, For Purpose and Social Enterprise
2019 Awesome Foundation Grant Winner
2019 Community Achievement Awards, Semi-Finalist, The Loneliness Award
2019 SA Woman Award, Finalist, All Rounder Category.
2016 Perks Business Boost Award, Finalist
2016 COTA Positive Ageing Awards, Intergenerational Award Category, Finalist
2014 PIRSA, Fund My Idea Campaign Winner
2014 Dance for Parkinson;s Scholarship Winner
GOVERNMENT & COUNCIL FUNDING / SPONSORS
LEADERS IN THE FIELD
Meet the Team
Founder / Director
Noni has danced all her life and found great joy and accomplishment. Now she is using the performing arts to help others build their self-esteem, develop social skills and feel part of a community. She has designed programs that are inclusive of all abilities and focus on building connection.
2019 SA Winner Telstra Business Women’s Awards – For Purpose and Social Enterprise
2019 SA Woman’s Awards Finalist
2016 Perks Business Boost Award Finalist
2016 COTA Positive Ageing Awards Finalist
2014 Primary Industries SA Fund My Idea Campaign Winner
2014 SEP Scholarship Winner
2014 Dance for Parkinson’s Scholarship Winner
Diploma in Dance (ACArts)
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Degree in Dance (QUT)
Post Graduate Diploma in Management (Arts) (UniSA)
Queens Trust for Young Australian’s SA State Award
Greenmill Scholarship Award
Robert Helpmann Award Winner RAD Ballet (SA)
Ex Chairperson of Royal Academy of Dance, South Australia Panel
Ex Board Member of Shaun Parker and Company
Ex Board Member of Ausdance SA
Advanced GFA (Gym For All) coaching accreditation
Advanced WAG (Women’s Artistic Gymnastics) accreditation
Intermediate WAG Judge accreditation
All through Gymnastics Australia
Morven has coached Gymnastics both in the UK and Australia. She has experience in dance and choreography, coaching mini gym, rhythmic, sports acrobatics, GFA and WAG gym sports.
Morven was the head coach at the Adelaide Hills Gymnastic Club for a number of years and has been with Rockit since the very beginning as the Cheer, Acrobatic and Tumbling coach. Morven is known for her attention to detail regarding technical training. Her students learn the safest methods for performing their skills ensuring their health and wellbeing is put first.
Morven has a passion for working with young adults and children. She particularly enjoys being part of their growth and future development, encouraging them to meet their full potential in both dance and acrobatics. She is keen to see her students learn to believe in themselves as well as learn how to fly.
Adelaide College of the Arts – Create Arts in Elite Performance (Dance)
2015 Festival Centre Arts Award and Green Room Award Winner
Kara has been dancing for most of her life. She spent years studying Hip Hop, Ballet, Lyrical, Acrobatics, Tap, Jazz, Samba, Cheerleading, Circus Skills, Contortion, Acrobatics and Aerial (Silks, Rope, Hoop and Cloudswing).
She has taught in both private dance studios and government schools across Adelaide helping young students achieve their dreams. She is the winner 2015 of the Festival Centre Arts Award as well as the Green Room Award. To win both awards in the same year is quite an honour.
Kara is an absolute dynamo in the classroom with many adoring fans. She knows how to get the best out of her students and to help empower them to achieve their own goals.
Bachelor of Arts Dance, Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts
New Zealand School of Dance
Sarah Wilson is an emerging artist from Western Australia who has mainly been working within Australia and Europe. Sarah is the Rehearsal Director as well as a Dancer with Lewis Major Projects, an Adelaide based company collective. While at the company Sarah has worked on various new works. 'S/words', a new work made in collaboration with the Helpmann Theatre in Mount Gambier, and premiere as part of the Adelaide festival as a double bill with “Unfolding”. Other works include, “Traffic”, “Ophelia”, “Platypus”, “Lein”, and “Body is What Remains'. Many of these works have taken place all over Australia and Europe, with many collaborations and mentorships with established artists and choreographers such asHofesh Shechter. Sarah has also worked with Wim Vandekeybus, for Ultima Vez, on the first development period of their new work 'Traces' in Brussels. She has taken part in multiple workshops through STRUT in Perth, as well as overseas to extend her knowledge of her own movement practice. Prior to this Sarah has also worked with Choreographers Iratxe Ansa and Igor Bacovich, in Lisbon Portugal, on multiple site specific works. As well as a full length work that premiered in 2018.
Bachelor of Musical Theatre, Elder Conservatorium, Adelaide Uni
Diploma of Musical Theatre, Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts
Chloe Marlow grew up in WA, and has recently moved to Adelaide to study a Bachelor of Musical Theatre. She has loved all things dance and musical theatre since she could walk and talk and trained at the Jody Marshall Dance Company and most recently was accepted and graduated with a Diploma of Musical Theatre from WAAPA in 2020. She is grateful for the experience she has working in the Musical Theatre industry, most notably in TML’s production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (Jemima), the Gordon Frost organisations production of Annie (Annie Understudy) both at Crown Theatre, as well as working with Fremantle media on Australia’s got Talent where she progressed as a solo act to the Semi Finals. She is grateful for the training and guidance she has been given by previous teachers (Jody Marshall, Tracey Cooke, John Cleary to name a few) and is grateful to be given the opportunity to be that guidance for the students at Rockit.
SOCIAL JUSTICE ADVISORY BOARD
Rockit has an incredible board of advisors, called the Social Justice Advisory Board, who support the studio with guidance. This is a combination of locals with experience in politics, law, nursing, community inclusion, education, special needs therapy, psychology and community care.
These advisors inform the Director of any issues in the local community that may affect the Rockit tribe (for which preventative matters are included into class curriculums), or act as points of advice regarding matters that arise within the Rockit community where Noni requires support. Members include Alicia Ranford, Dan Creegan, Jarrod Manuel, Melinda Petschel, Emily Warhurst and Meryl Klimzack.
OUR SUCCESS STORIES
Many studios have lots of shiny trophies on display in their foyers. At Rockit you will see trophies in the classroom, the foyer, the car park and more. Our students are our trophies and we display them with the greatest of pride!
TECHNICAL AND PERFORMANCE DEVELOPMENT
Our studio has grown significantly in technical and performance skill since we first opened in 2014. Due to the positive teaching methodologies, students feel more comfortable with the idea of challenging themselves. They are supported each step of the way and are taught valuable skills in resilience and discipline that help them improve faster.
CHILDREN WHO DON’T ‘FIT IN’
Master L didn’t fit in at school. He is not into sports like the other kids and tends to be bullied for being a little different. He couldn’t find a place where he was respected……until he started classes at Rockit. Since joining Rockit he has found his groove and has built his own unique identity that is celebrated amongst his teachers and peers. He has respect for being different and is encouraged to push his creativity further. We see a Big future for this young Rockit!!!
Master J was bullied at school for being different, he has autism. He had limited social skills and didn’t know how to handle bullying let alone finding friends who treated him well. He was small, was an eager learner but couldn’t cut it with the physically bigger kids. He also like to stand on his head… a lot! He was segregated from the other kids as the weird one who stands on his head. Today, he is celebrated for standing on his head as it is one of the coolest things to do in breakdance! We have so many incredible photos of this kid balancing on his head that take peoples breathe away. After starting class at Rockit and finding a leading role model in his teacher, he now believes in himself, doesn’t worry that he is a little different from others (in fact celebrates that difference) and has a new level of confidence in finding other kids just like him at Rockit.
CHILDREN WITH BEHAVIOURAL ISSUES
Master L was given the horrific label of ‘schoolyard bully’. Parents called stating they would pull their kids from class if he was to continue. The Director personally worked with this child learning about his personal story and why he reacted in specific ways to conflict. From there she designed a series of challenges to show him how he could make his own achievements and have pride in himself. These achievements continued to grow and his personality started changing. He went from bully to class role model even staying behind after class to ensure the Director safely made it to her car in the dark. At one concert, he received a standing ovation from the crowd as he received the award for most personal growth.
Miss E used to get into trouble at school quite a bit. Her mum wasn’t sure how to handle her behaviour. She started classes at Rockit and found a place where she was accepted and welcomed. Her big personality was not a problem for our teachers and she eventually found her groove in the studio. Her behaviour began to settle and got into trouble at school less and less. She is now passionate about dance and uses it as a way to express herself, her feelings and burn off extra energy.
CHILDREN WITH DISABILITIES
Miss P lives with mutism which prevents her from vocalising and expressing her feelings. Friends often talk on her behalf. Little Miss P has fallen in love with her classes at Rockit and feels so comfortable that she has begun speaking in short sentences to her teacher and friends.
Master N lives with autism and was home schooled. He had limited verbal communication and repeated the same phrases as answers to all questions. He had a series of nervous ticks with little understanding of spatial awareness. Over time, his comfort levels and inclusion within class grew as he started to see himself as a valued member of the team. He even had the confidence to go back to mainstream school. The Directors greatest memories of this student are him hugging her and saying thank you, for the first time; now answering questions with full verbal response; nervous ticks have disappeared; memorising all performance routines and performing with the greatest sense of pride; reducing an audience to tears when he won the award for greatest personal growth; being a valued member of the team who is now appreciated by his peers.
Miss S came to us with autism and severe sensory disorder. We were unable to look her in the eye, give instructions directly to her, play music without informing her first, unable to make sudden noises or changes without informing her first. She operated independently within the class. With great patience, care and guidance this student now participates fully in class like all other mainstream students. We can now look her in the eye and receive eye contact back, speak directly to her giving instructions that she is able to follow (including single, double and triple task instructions), we are able to turn on music and create loud sounds without having to notify or prepare her first, and she now performs with the greatest of confidence and one of the most infectious smiles you have ever seen.
CHILDREN WHO HAVE SIBLINGS WITH DISABILITIES
Miss G has a number of siblings with disabilities. She has been a dancer at Rockit since the very beginning and through her classes has found her own voice, her own identity and a unique ability for expressive dance. Over the years her confidence has soared as she has found her niche in this world. She dances with one of her siblings as it is a moment they share together where both are supported by their peers. Watching them together is heart-warming.
Miss T loves to dance and loves to be with her older sister who has Down Syndrome. Rockit has provided a way for both girls to dance together in the same class. Here they share both learning experiences and memories of growing up together. Together they have had the opportunity to learn how to dance whilst also building their sibling bond.
CHILDREN DEALING WITH ANXIETY
Besties – These two young girls have more in common than they realise. They both LOVE to dance, and both LOVE to challenge themselves. Sadly, they BOTH are experiencing heartache as their fathers have gone through serious and life threatening medical situations. They deal with their stress and anxiety by emoting their feelings through dance. Dance has become a form of relief as well as security where they balance their emotions and express their feelings without having to use words. These girls are both blossoming in their classes as they have found a way to manage their anxiety through dance.
Miss L grew up thinking she wasn’t really that good at anything. She had low self-esteem. She hadn’t won trophies anywhere before and didn’t always feel part of the group. When joining Rockit, staff encouraged her to push herself and try new things. From here, Miss L grew and flourished. She became a mecca for positivity with kids drawn to her gentle nature and kind heart. Soon her technique flourished as well and everyone wanted to dance just like her. She is now one of our leading role models with her own trophy and name on our Rockit Heart Plaque (the greatest honour a student can get). Everyone still wants to dance like her and she has now inspired a whole new generation of kids.
Miss K has low self-esteem and battles anxiety and depression. When really upset she can hurt herself. Upon entering the doors at Rockit, she began regular lessons of self-development. During these lessons staff monitored closely how she reacted to challenges. During her hard moments, their words of positivity encouraged her to try again. With great patience, staff managed to get her to continue trying until she was able to see for herself, what she truly was capable of achieving. Today Miss K still has moments of self-doubt, but she is celebrated by her peers and teachers as an outstanding student who is a leader and role model. The younger students idolise her dance ability, and she is slowly learning that she is a remarkable young lady. She no longer hurts herself and is a role model in the studio being a listening ear and kind heart to anyone who needs a little extra support. Her technical skills have tripled in the very short time she has been in the studio.
Miss C loves to dance but only to her own groove and pace. She has developed her own unique style of dance that we have integrated into one of our programs so she can express her individuality but still be part of a tribe. She battles anxiety and fear of not fitting in. Through our inclusive teaching techniques, she has found her place in Rockit and understands that she is a valued and appreciated member. Her unique style is celebrated and we encourage her continually to develop it further. We do not want her to dance like ‘the others’. We want her to continue dancing to her own beat. When in the studio, Miss C feels more confident within herself. Her time in the studio is a moment to step away from her anxiety and be the incredible person she truly is. This very talented young lady makes a BIG impression on the local community when she performs.
Mum N – is grateful that her daughters have the opportunity to integrate with children who have special needs. This integration allows her children to normalise disability and not see it as something different. Sometimes there are children in her class with disabilities, or sometimes there are older children socialising in the studio with disabilities. This mum is appreciative that her daughters have this exposure and are able to develop respect for people of all abilities.
Mum S – lost her self-confidence after having children. Dealing with their demanding behaviours took its toll as she felt pressure recognising her child was different. Through encouragement she started adult dance. This was a moment for her to step away from what was happening at home and spend time focusing on herself. Here she was able to rediscover her identity, build her self-confidence and secretly prepare a performance for her family to view on stage. The result of which was heart-warming. This mum now has greater belief in herself, and through physical participation in dance where she is challenged with new concepts, has learnt that it is ok to make mistakes and to just keep going with the performance that life presents.
Mum K – gains a great sense of relief watching her daughter blossom at the studio. Her own anxiety watching her daughter struggle to fit on was upsetting. Today she sees her daughter performing confidently onstage tackling many confronting challenges both physically and emotionally. The joy of watching her achieve this is overwhelming.
Mum R – watches her daughter who is full of energy and sass simply fly at Rockit. At home she might terrorise the house but at Rockit her manner is perfect. She has learnt correct etiquette in public places and now acts as a role model for younger children. Her passion is fuelled as she is continually challenged in the studio with class curriculum often adapted so she can continue to learn. The flexibility offered to her at Rockit has allowed her to reach tremendous heights both technically and personally.
NOTE: These changes happened within these students because their parents and teachers did NOT give up on them. These changes do not happen within a matter of a few weeks, these changes take place over the period of a few months anywhere up to a year. When working with people like this, the repetition of positive engagement in socially interactive exercises help them identify their own progress makes all the difference. If you want to see change, commit to it. Don’t give up.
BUZZ ON THE STREET
What does the media say about Rockit?
Rockit has generated much media interest and has been featured in
National Child Magazine,
The Weekender Herald,
The Courier Mail and
Listen to Deb Tribe from ABC Radio interview Rockit's Director, Noni Vassos.