Meet The Team

martin hylton

artistic director

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Martin began dancing at the age of 9 and joined the Harehills Youth Dance group under the direction of Nadine Senior MBE. He successfully auditioned for the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in 1987, and in 1998 won the C&A Cosmopolitan Young Dancer of the Year award.  After graduating from NSCD he joined the Nye Carte Blanche company in Bergen, Norway.  This was the beginning of a special relationship with Scandinavia as Martin went on to work and perform with companies such as Skanes Dance Theatre, Malmo, Sweden under the direction of Patrick King from Culberg Balleten and Mari Brolin-Tani in Aarhus, Denmark.  Martin has also worked and performed with various companies in the UK, including Phoenix Dance Theatre, and has seen him build strong connections within the industry.

Martin has taught contemporary dance throughout his career all over the world in professional, educational, custodial and community settings.

He became the Youth Dance Academy Director for the Tees Valley based in Holmwood School, Middlesbrough, and in 2008 Martin joined the Centre for Advanced Training team based at Dance City as the Dance Development Manager and CAT teacher/choreographer.

Martin is now a high profile leader in the dance community. He holds a Master’s Degree in Arts, Business and Creativity from Newcastle University and is a Clore Leadership Fellow. Through the Clore Leadership program and his passion for dance, Martin realised his vision to create Gateway Studio Project in 2012.   


head of education & community dance


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    Pete Huggins began teaching young dancers in the Harehills and Chapeltown areas of Leeds in the 1970's, having graduated from the Carnegie School of Physical Education in 1974.  Pete instigated the inclusion and development of dance in the curriculum of Earl Cowper Middle schools, which led to the founding of the Chapeltown Youth Dance Theatre.  During the 80's this youth company gained a national reputation within the profession, working with Robert Cohan CBE, Alleta Collins, Neville Campbell and Janet Smith MBE, to name but a few.   Pete moved to Newcastle in the early 90's, taking on the post of Education Advisor (Dance) for the Newcastle Education Authority.  In 2001, Pete became the Youth Dance Project Manager at Dance City, and was responsible for the founding, management and direction of the critically acclaimed Northern Youth Dance Company and the delivery of it's national and international tour.

    In 2004 Pete became Dance City's Associate Director with a responsibility for Education and created the Dance City Centre for Advanced Training.  Pete is now director of his own photographic company, 'Aperture Dance'.   He also teaches Dance History, dance technique and choreography to dance institutions nationally.    Pete received an MBE in 2013 for his services to British Dance. He is very excited to be co-ordinating our Phoenix and youth provision and is enthused to be working with our talented young people.

    andrea masala

    youthDance Coordinator

    North East based and Italian born Andrea trained at the Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds graduating with a BPA Degree in Dance (2004) and the following year obtained his PGD in Professional Contemporary Dance Performance.

    Since then Andrea has worked with some of the finest dance artists in the UK. As a versatile dancer and choreographer, he has spent time working for a number of different choreographers and companies such as MotionHouse DT, Surface Area DT, Raffael Bonachela (Raffael Bonachela Dance Company, Sydney Dance Company), Vivien Wood ((Michael Clark, Mark Baldwin, Antonia Franceschi of the New York City Ballet, Lloyd Newson and Theatre Zar of the Grotowski Institute), Neville Campbell (Phoenix DT, Scottish DT, Tumbuka Dance) and Martin Hylton (Phoenix DT, Nye Carte Blanche Dance Company).

    He has taught for and created various works for schools and Universities across the UK including the CAT (Centre for Advance Training Dance City, FTP (Foundation Training Program) Dance City, Gateway Studio Youth Group and Phoenix Youth Academy NE and Leeds.

    More recently Andrea has been working alongside theatre directors and actors in order to expand his knowledge and understanding of physical movement and how this relates to the spoken and written word. This led him to collaborate and work with artists such as Justine Themen (Belgrade Theatre Coventry), Martin Hylton (Associate Artist and Movement Director at Northern Stage) and Mark Calvert (Associate Director at Northern Stage).

    Andrea is currently the Youth Provision Administrator of Gateway Studios.

    Esther Hingle



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    Esther trained at the London School of Contemporary Dance. She taught and performed for many years then hung up her dance shoes and crossed to the other side.


    She has worked as marketing manager for The Bull Arts Centre (now Arts Depot) and Chicken Shed Theatre and as project coordinator for Vital Arts - the arts project of Barts and the London NHS Trust. In 2003, she moved from London to the north east to take up the role of Arts Development Officer at The Alnwick Garden in Northumberland.


    As a freelancer since 2007, Esther has worked on a range of projects providing expertise in fundraising, programming, marketing, tour booking and project management. Most recently she worked for Highlights Rural Touring Scheme supporting the scheme and a network of village promoters across Northumberland before joining Gateway Studio in January 2020

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