Find Out What Dance Taught Me!
I have been dancing pretty much all my life! I started at the age of 3 years old with a Baby Ballet class, and have never looked back. So what did dance teach me? Getting to where I am today was no easy task, and I’d love to share a little bit about my journey and the values that I believe I have learnt through the art of dance. Read on if you dare…
I decided at around aged 11 or 12 years old that I wanted to be a dance teacher. I thought my dance teacher was the most wonderful person on earth and I aspired to be just like her. Joining a dance class is so much more than learning to dance. I made valuable friendships, I had a safe place where I ‘fit’ in, I felt valued and respected at dance. My parents went through a pretty messy divorce and I rebelled at school- I hated school at that point, but I NEVER missed my dance classes. They were my safe space, my haven and I loved EVERY minute spent at that place, Castle School Of Dancing in Torquay. 🙂
At 15, I decided that before I became a dance teacher, I wanted to perform. It’s funny, because most of the dancers I know wanted to be dancers and then dance teachers, whereas I had always wanted to be a teacher not a performer! So I embarked on a journey to get myself to a vocational dance college. This was not straight forward. My parents couldn’t afford the fees, and there were no grants available in my county, so I went on a crazy fundraising mission.
I spent hours at the library (We didn’t have Google back then!) researching companies that I thought might ‘sponsor’ me to go to college. I wrote to them all… and more… I wrote to every company in the book asking for donations to get me to college. I had been offered a place at Laine Theatre Arts. I loved it from the moment I walked through the doors, and I knew it was the place for me, a shortage of funds WASN’T GOING TO STOP ME!!!
Getting to Laine’s
My Gran, who used to be a dancer, (and later a clown in the circus!!) organised a local talent show to raise money for me. The Princes Trust donated £150 for equipment/uniform, the Foundation for Sport and the Arts donated £1500 and at the last minute an anonymous donor gifted us £2500. Finally I had enough money to attend Laine’s for just ONE TERM. That was all I needed. I took the opportunity with both hands, called Miss Laine and told her I would be coming. That was on the Friday, on the Monday I had moved to Epsom in Surrey to begin my dance journey, at just 17 years old.
I found myself a job after college and would work from 6-11pm Monday to Friday, after dancing all day from 8.30am! I didn’t care, I was living the dream 🙂 The teachers had obviously been told that I was only there for a term, and must have noticed that I was giving it my all, because just a couple of weeks into term my Mum received a phone call from Betty Laine. She offered me a bursary for the full three years fees! Now my dream really had come true. I could stay… for the whole three years… I couldn’t believe it. I will be eternally grateful to Betty Laine, for giving me that opportunity, and I hope that she is proud of the things I have since achieved, that would never have happened if it wasn’t for her. In fact, writing this has prompted me to call her and say exactly that!
My three years at Laine’s were amazing (The photo above was taken during our first Summer Show). I was given fantastic opportunities to perform at many professional events, including pantomime at the Windsor Royal. After graduation I went on to have a 10 year career as a professional dancer, (You can read more about my professional dance career on my biog at Rise Studios, before moving into teaching full time.
Starting My Businesses
Tappy Toes was born from a love of teaching little ones! I was teaching Baby Ballet classes for various other companies, and decided to create a syllabus for the younger age groups, as there wasn’t anything out there for toddlers at that time. I put together a couple of lesson plans, and started my first class. Fast forward 15 years and that lesson plan has become an entire syllabus that has been taught on cruise ships around the world, nurseries around the UK, and is slowly but steadily growing into a National franchise.
The idea to franchise came about during my pregnancy with my first child- I must have been crazy! I knew that Tappy Toes was the ideal business for those with young children, who want to work around their families, and I was right. The majority of our franchisees are Mum’s who didn’t want to go back to work full time after having their kids. It really is the perfect lifestyle business 🙂
What Dance Taught Me…
I am stronger than I know (both mentally and physically).
I am determined
I am resilient
I am dedicated
I am passionate
I am beautiful
I am respectful of others
I am social
I am creative
I am ambitious
I never give up
I can do anything I put my mind to
I am willing to fight for my dream
What will dance teach your child?
During the lockdown we are offering live online classes via zoom. Book your drop in or monthly pass now.
Perhaps you are looking for that perfect work life balance, and want to know more about our dance franchise?