Ultimate Twirling Challenge
Includes Scoring and Tabulation Information
Dr. Trenton Haltom
Dr. Trenton M. Haltom (he/him) is a registered judge with the National Baton Twirling Association with experience judging around the United States.
He is currently also a member of the International baton twirling Federation's Marketing and Communications Team, playing a vital role in the communication of the future of Baton Twirling around the globe.
Dr. Haltom is a recent graduate from the Department of Sociology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a specialization in Women's and Gender Studies. He has received multiple awards for both his research and teaching.
Mitchell Hicks, current Director of Planetdance, has extensive knowledge and expertise in all things dance. He has performed in professional musicals such as ‘The Boy From Oz’, ‘Jolson’, ‘Singin In The Rain’, ‘Hairspray’, ‘A Chorus Line’, ‘Hot Shoe Shuffle’ and ‘Guys and Dolls’.
He performed along side Hugh Jackman in the Arena version of ‘The Boy From Oz’, has toured extensively with Dein Perry’s ‘Tapdogs’ and also worked as a motion capture performer on ‘Happy Feet 2′. It's no wonder why Mitchell is our Tap expert for the Ultimate Twirling Challenge.
Televison performance credits include, AGT, The Logies, The Arias, SYTYCD, Dancing With The Stars, Hey Hey its Saturday, Mornings, Project Runway, Sunrise and The Footy Show.
Nick Jean completed his Cert IV in Performing Arts and has been working professionally for over 8 years. Live performances include; The AACTA Awards, Rob Guest Endowment Awards and Australian Tourism Gala. TV opportunities include; Everybody Dance Now, Celebrity Apprentice and The X Factor.
Most recently, Nick has been cast as a dancer onboard the Ruby and Regal Princess, performing in a variety of shows from commercial to Broadway, most notably ‘Magic To Do’ by Stephen Schwartz.
His passion for performing is matched with his passion for choreography. Nick Jean loves to teach and we are very excited to have him be a part of the UTC judging panel to pass on his knowledge to the next generation of dancers.
Lieschen Walker, a certified Level 3 Judge, serves as the NSW State Head Judge within the New South Wales Baton Twirling Association. Her knowledge and experience as a judge in all event categories will be appreciated by all participants of the Ultimate Twirling Challenge.
Lieschen is also the Director and Head Coach of the Bexley Baton Twirlers, the longest running baton twirling club in Australia. The club has seen many of their twirlers reach World Championship and International Cup competitive level
Jenna Jemieff has extensive knowledge and experience in both Dance and Baton Twirling. She has represented Canada internationally numerous times and has even competed with Australian twirlers during the 2010 Twirlmania Championships!
Jenna is currently a WBTF Certified Master Judge, Canadian Technical Member and is the Director of Inspire Dance Studio & Baton Club. She also has a degree in Kinesiology from the University of Calgary.
Jeffrey Matiash (he/him) was a competitive twirler for almost 20 years, representing Team USA at the 2009 WFNBTA World Championships, walking away with the Bronze Medal. He also extensively studied dance throughout childhood and college, giving him a great understanding of multiple styles of dance and movement.
Jeffrey is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Secondary Social Studies Education. He continues to choreograph baton twirling and dance routines in the US and Canada, as well as local musical theatre productions.
He is also currently a member of IBTF’s Marketing & Communications team.
Virgile Laberthe, through his club Laberthe Twirling, choreographs and coaches to over 30 clubs around France, Spain and Guadeloupe.
With multiple National titles and European Championship medals under his belt (as both an athlete and a coach/choreographer) Vigile's expertise in Pairs, Team and Groups makes him a highly valued judge for the Ultimate Twirling Challenge.
Virgile also works alongside his wife, Eden, as a Sports and Nutrition Coach, supporting individuals and teams to become the best version of themselves.
Michael Harris, a registered USTA judge, is no stranger to our athletes and coaches in Australia. A regular visiting coach, choreographer, mentor and advisor, Michael has a strong reputation for performance excellence within our community.
Michael, with his vast experience in baton twirling and winter guard, will provide constructive feedback to all our twirling and color guard participants. He is also the Co-founder of the Jewel of Atlantis Baton Competitions and Director of Fusion Twirling.
Jon Burkin is a twirling expert, currently a member of the USTA Board of Directors. He is a WBTF World Gold Medalist in the Senior Pair Division, a 3-time USTA Men's Grand National Champion, 3-time NBTA Men's National Champion and 5-time Men's Congressional Cup Invitational Champion.
Television appearances include America's Got Talent, where he featured as a semi-finalist on Season 3!
Jon's successful experiences as an athlete and performer have now led him towards coaching and judging avenues. Jon works alongside his wife PJ, as Competitive Team Coach and Choreographer for The ShowTwirlers.
We are excited to have PJ Maierhofer Burkin on our judging panel. A trained baton twirler and dancer, PJ has many titles to her name including, but not limited to, College Miss Majorette of America (2009) and Collegiate National Twirling Champion (2007).
Alongside her family and work commitments, PJ is the Competitive Teams Coach of The ShowTwirlers and valued member of the IBTF Marketing and Communications Team.
Karla is a professional dancer with 18 years of diverse technical training under her belt. In recent years Karla’s passion for Brazilian dance and culture has seen her focus significantly on Samba and Funk. She is an instructor at Escola de Samba Internacional and teaches and choreographs her fierce Brazilian Funk style for both the school and Rio Projekt performances.
Karla has worked with artists such as Charli XCX, Dannii Minogue and Redfoo; performed on numerous Film and Television Projects such as X-Factor, NRL Footy Show, AACTA Awards; and was a dance extra in the Feature Film ‘Gods of Egypt’.
Internationally, Karla has recently returned home from a 9 month cruise contract onboard the Royal Princess. She has also had contracts across Asia as a Cast Dancer/ Associate Choreographer at Studio City’s ‘House of Magic’ in Macau and a Back Up Dancer for Briden-Starr’s China Tour.
Karla is also a qualified professional make up artist and runs her own business, Karla Maree Artistry. Taking it that one step further, Karla launched her own Beauty and Cosmetics line - ‘KMA Cosmetics’. The brand aims to raise the bar in high quality beauty products and empower people from all walks of life to feel equal and like a queen.
After three years filming TV series and touring both nationally and internationally with the children’s entertainment group Hi-5, Lachlan made his Musical Theatre debut with Saturday Night Fever, followed by starring as “Jack” in Bonnie Lythgoe’s pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk. In 2020 he was cast in the role of “Mike” in A Chorus Line before Covid forced its temporary closure (due to re-open in 2022)
Beginning at age 4, Lachlan trained in all facets of performing arts. At 14 he won Young Talent Time with a boys crew, and at 16 he was a finalist on Australia’s Got Talent. He has also had many television appearances including but not limited to; appearing in various television commercials, dancing on The Voice, Australia’s Got Talent and the Rob Guest Endowment Awards. Lachaln has also performed in numerous club and cabaret shows including ACE nominee The Vallies and award winning You Can’t Stop the Music.
Lachlan teaches in multiple highly reputable studios across Australia. He is a sought after workshop instructor and adjudicator, with experience in judging eisteddfods including Showcase both in Australia and New Zealand.
Ainslie currently serves as the President of the Australian Baton Twirling Association, and Director of Twirl Dance Acro.
As an athlete, Ainslie won many state and national titles and competed at the World Baton Twirling Championships 9 times, making the finals in the pairs division.
Ainslie's coaching credentials, include Acrobatic Arts and twirling levels, have seen her athletes succeed on the National circuit as well as the international arena.
Ainslie is also a certified Level 3 Judge in Australia with extensive knowledge and experience that will surely be appreciated by our Ultimate Twirling Challenge participants.
Ash Power is not only a triple threat performer, but an outstanding stage manager, assistant director, mentor and agent.
Ash trained at Planet Dance and made her professional musical theatre debut at 14 in Candy Man (Kermond Creative) and her screen debut at 15 in ABC’s Brides of Christ. During high school she was a featured dancer in the national tour of Young Talent Time.
Ash’s stage credits also include La Traviata (Opera Australia), Girls On Tap (Performer and Assistant Director in Australia and NYC) and playing Alexis in Bring It On – The Musical (Supply Evolution).
On screen, Ash has performed on X-Factor, Australia’s Got Talent, Celebrity Apprentice and was a guest host for Disney Channel’s “Hanging With” special.
Off stage, Ash’s array of talents and skills come together in her role as Head Booker at the Jeep Management Group which has seen her become an incredibly well-respected young industry figure.