Kele is an NQA certified level 2 teacher, a Holden Qigong senior instructor, a Tai Chi Easy and Integral Qigong and Tai Chi leader, and a certified Alexander Technique teacher. She is also a Healer Within Foundation board member.
Originally from New York City, Kele lived in London, England for 23 years, where she was the Argentine tango choreographer for Strictly Come Dancing, the UK version of Dancing with the Stars (BBC1). She wrote Strictly Come Dancing: Step-by-Step Dance Class, a how-to-dance book for the television series (BBC Books). She created Dance Al Fresco, an annual series of charity, outdoor ballroom and tango events that raised over $100,000 for tree planting in London’s Regent’s Park. For 11 years Kele was co-director of the Kensington Dance Studio.
Kele was asked to develop a ballroom dance program for The BodyHoliday LeSPORT, the award-winning Caribbean spa resort. Over three years, Kele helped the hotel build the popular Jive June themed month.
When whiplash from a car accident ended Kele’s dance career, she found that the gentle, therapeutic, meditative movement practices of qigong and tai chi helped her recover her flexibility, equilibrium and quality of life. She went on to train with Lee Holden (Holden Qigong) and Dr. Roger Jahnke (Institute of Integral Qigong & Tai Chi and The Healer Within Foundation), and has been a certified teacher and leader with both teachers for five years.
Kele consulted to Weight Watchers International on their Chi Flow pilot program, serving as Lead Program Instructor and Qigong Training Expert for the US and UK initiatives.
In London, Kele led award-winning qigong and Tai Chi Easy classes locally, in fitness centres (Nuffield Fitness), and in a cancer care support center (The Mulberry Centre). She also taught quarterly Tai Chi Easy workshops Parkinson’s UK support groups.
Now living in Dutchess County, NY, Kele leads masterclasses and gives one-to-one coaching for Holden Qigong teachers-in-training, and assists on Tai Chi Easy training courses (most recently at the Omega Institute, Rhinebeck, NY). She also sits on the board of directors of The Healer Within Foundation, supporting the dissemination of Tai Chi Easy through the training of new leaders across a wide spectrum of populations and institutions.
In the Hudson Valley, NY, Kele teaches qigong-based meditative movement courses at Vassar College’s Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI), Marist College’s Continuing Life Studies program (CLS), and leads a weekly, drop-in qigong class at St. Martin de Porres Senior Center (Poughkeepsie).
Kele was educated at The Dalton School (New York, NY), received a BSc from Northwestern University, and did post-graduate training at the London Academy of Music & Dramatic Arts. She has dance teaching qualifications from the International Dance Teachers Association, the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing, and received her Alexander Technique teaching qualification from renowned Alexander Technique master teachers Walter and Dilys Carrington.
QIGONG & TAI CHI
INSTITUTIONS & ORGANISATIONS
Healer Within Foundation board member
Weight Watchers International (USA & UK)
Nuffield Fitness Centre, teacher (UK)
Parkinson’s UK, class leader (UK)
The Mulberry Centre, volunteer teacher (UK)
Life Force Chi Centre, founder (UK)
Holden Qigong senior teacher
National Qigong Association (NQA) level 2 qigong teacher
Tai Chi Easy training program assistant
Institute of Integral Qigong & Tai Chi practice leader
Television & Stage CHOREOGRAPHER
Strictly Come Dancing (UK version of Dancing With the Stars, BBC1), Darren Boyd’s Little Crackers (Sky1), Joe’s Palace (BBC), Dance Seduction (Kensington Olympia), Latin Fever (Sadlers Wells), No Way Out (Southwark Playhouse, London), Tango Shakespeare Project (Royal Shakespeare Company, UK, RSC Leap (UK), Gormenghast (UK), Macbeth (UK)
Strictly Strictly Come Dancing: Step-By-Step Dance Class | Author
Published by BBC Books, a division of Random House. Kele and her co-choreographer Ralf Schiller were invited by BBC Books to author a how-to book for the 10+ million viewers of Strictly Come Dancing. Kele wrote all the descriptive content for each dance and the step-by-step guide for 48 dance moves. The writing was done in four weeks, and the editing, including the accurate placement of thousands of footprints and arrows, was done in two weeks.
Dance Al Fresco | Charity Founder & Organiser
From 1998-2013, Kele founded and organised Dance Al Fresco, a series of outdoor, charity ballroom, Latin and Argentine tango events held each summer in London’s Regent’s Park. Each event saw hundreds of dancers waltzing, tangoing and picnicking in the sun (and sometimes rain), while appreciating the natural landscapes of central London. The events raised over £70,000 ($100,000) to support tree planting and maintenance in the park.
Comprising The Broadwalk Ballroom (ballroom/Latin) and Tango Al Fresco (Argentine Tango), dancers from all over the UK flocked to to the park each summer for these joyous dance-and-picnic parties. In total, the events raised over £70,000 for The Royal Parks Foundation and The Prince of Wales' Royal Parks Tree Appeal, with the funds ring-fenced for tree planting and maintenance in Regent's Park.
The events provided a great inspiration. Dance Al Fresco appeared in British filmmaker Stephen Poliakoff’ BBC drama Joe's Palace as well as Royal Ballet prima ballerina Deborah Bull’s BBC series Travels With My Tutu. Dance Al Fresco motivated hundreds of people to learn to dance, and the events provided joyful entertainment for families, from young children to older parents and grandparents in wheelchairs.
The BodyHoliday LeSPORT | PROGRAM DEVELOPER
A chance meeting during a restorative holiday led Kele to be invited to create Jive June, a ballroom dance program at the award-winning resort The BodyHoliday LeSPORT on the beautiful island of St. Lucia. Besides teaching ballroom, Latin and tango classes, Kele coached the local activity staff to provide classes to guests as part of their year-round schedule. Hotel guests attended classes in salsa, cha cha cha, jive, Argentine tango, foxtrot and waltz. Many continued dancing when they returned home from their holidays. Kele ran the program for three years. When she stopped teaching dance, she handed the program over to Strictly Come Dancing colleagues Robin Windsor and Andrew Cuerden.
Kensington Dance Studio | STUDIO CO-DIRECTOR
For over a decade, Kele was co-director of London’s elegant Kensington Dance Studio. She and her co-director Ralf Schiller taught one-to-one lessons and group classes, worked in partnership with numerous talented dance teachers, organised workshops with professional dancers from BBC1's Strictly Come Dancing, and ran medallist exams. From foxtrot to tango, cha cha cha to jive, Kele and Ralf kept their wide variety of social dance students bopping and swinging, learning and laughing.
Kele taught lessons, classes, courses and master classes for numerous schools, colleges and universities, including LAMDA, London Studio Centre, London School of Musical Theatre, Oxford University Dancesport Society and University of London Dancesport. Kele's numerous institutional and corporate clients include the Royal Shakespeare Company (dance classes available to 800 members company-wide) and BBC Worldwide (company-wide dance classes and special event choreography and coaching).
(Thought you'd get a giggle seeing me with orange dress and even orange-r hair!)
Media Appearances & Features
Featured expert in Real Ambition (Psychologies magazine, Capstone Wiley)
Dancing on Ice (ITV), Travels With My Tutu (Paladin Productions - BBC), The Dancer’s Body (BBC), Would Like To Meet (BBC), Tell It To Me Straight (Channel 4), Diet On The Dance Floor (Mentorn - Living TV), Bump 'n' Grind 2 (Princess Productions - Trouble TV), Wedding TV, BBC News 24, BBC London, London Tonight (ITV)
BBC Radio 5 Live, BBC London, BBC Southern Counties, BBC Guernsey, BBC Wales, LBC 97.3 and 1152, Heart FM, MKFM, Secklow Sounds
Financial Times "How To Spend It" - The Times "Weekend" - Director magazine - Dancing Times - Dance Today magazine - Guernsey Press - Dance Gazette (RAD)
The Tango Lesson (writer/director Sally Potter), Let It Be Me (writer/director Eleanor Bergstein)