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‘I’ve been at the dance school for 11 years now and I can honestly say it has brought me 11 years of joy. Although the standard is very high and it has such a professional feel to it we still have laughs, jokes and good fun. It’s a place where good friends come together do what they love to do and have fun but also get such a good dance ability. Everyone is friendly, and everyone works as a team. LOVE this dance school. I couldn’t be happier!’
I was a student at Walsall Academy of Dance from 1993 until 2009. I also taught during my time there & hope to come back & teach workshops whenever I can. Evidently the dance school has been a huge part of my life!
In 2009 I was awarded a scholarship for Laine Theatre Arts, which would have been impossible without such a high standard of training from a young age. I am now enjoying the incredible experience of a career in professional Musical Theatre which could not have been possible without my teachers & friends from WAD.
It is not only the excellent standard of technical training that will stay with me for life but also the high expectations, the attitude to always give things a try, a rewarding work ethic , confidence & most of all a passion. For all of these transferable skills, the years of fun & some wonderful friendships, I am eternally grateful. I am sure that Walsall Academy of Dance will continue to offer a great platform for young performers whether it’s a hobby or vocation & wish everyone all the very best for the future!
Walsall Academy of Dance has been a wonderful place to grow up, make friends and most of all to learn how to dance! I attended from the ages of 3 to16 when I left to train at Northern Ballet School. Walsall Academy of Dance gave me the highest level of training and equipped me with everything I needed for my further professional training. The teachers are truly inspirational with a passion for teaching and they constantly strive to bring out the best in every pupil no matter what their age or ability. I loved every minute of it!
I have since gone on to perform around the world with contracts in Germany, Macau, Spain and with the Moulin Rouge in Paris, Brazil, Argentina and Italy. I have also performed at hair shows and various dance and modelling events across the UK. It is due to the great teaching that I received at Walsall Academy that I have chosen to return and study for my own teaching qualifications there now. I am very grateful to the teachers at WAD for providing me with the best start to my professional career that I could have asked for.
I have attended Walsall Academy of Dance for about four years. I love every lesson I go to because although we work hard we have great fun too. The teachers are all fair and understanding especially if things are a little difficult. The girls and boys are really friendly and Bruce makes the best bacon rolls. I LOVE WAD!
Amelia Freeman (9)
I first came to WAD when I wanted to begin my teaching examinations. Having been a student teacher at another school where they didn’t offer the opportunity to take teaching exams, I found Miss Christa. She has guided me through 2 Associate Level exams in Tap and Ballet (gaining Distinctions in both) and I can honestly say I wouldn’t be the teacher I am without the training I have received from her. As well as a dance teacher I am a professional musician and the teaching skills I have learned throughout my excellent training from Miss Christa have translated across into my music teaching. If you have the dedication needed to take your teaching exams and train in a relaxed yet professional environment, this is the place to come – Thankyou Miss Christa!
Attending Walsall Academy has contributed so much to my dance career and I’m sure I wouldn’t be where I am today without having all the training I had for those 10 years at Walsall Academy.
The one big thing I have learnt is that versatility is the key to being a successful dancer. So all those years doing my IDTA theatre craft and tap exams and ISTD paid off in the end and prepared me for going to Elmhurst where they do many dance styles to make sure you are a rounded dancer when you audition for professional jobs. Now a days companies don’t just look at classical ballet but also what you can do, something that separates you from all the others auditioning for the same job and what can give choreographers inspiration and want to use you for their work.
Another thing is that the more versatile you are the more options you have, in a dancers life you never know what can happen so to have the option and talent to do something else is a great thing to have and I am lucky to have it.
For me personally, where I work being able to do jazz and tap is a huge attribute to have as we have so many different types of shows to do, one day we do Nutcracker the next day commercial jazz in a music concert, keeps you on toes and you need good experience in many dance styles and is the key to great musicality which surprisingly many dancers lack. From a young age I remember whether it was ballet, tap or festival class just how much musicality is important, it makes a dancer what they are.
Another thing that I gained from attending Walsall Academy was performance experience. Without it a dancer can not grow and become a better performer. So doing festivals was the key to gain that experience at a young age. They help you gain confidence in yourself when you win solos after all that hard work in the studio, help you deal with nerves and how to use team work to get great results. I remember that feeling having your number being called out when you win a group section its an amazing feeling, the same that you have when you are a professional and you come off stage from doing snowflakes, all that team work paid off.
However as I am a ballet dancer the one thing I have Walsall Academy to thank for was amazing ballet training from all the great teachers I had through all my years being there, it was in one of those ballet classes at the age of 4 I fell in love with dance.
I began taking ballet classes (run by Walsall Academy) at the Co-operative rooms, Bridge Street, Walsall in 1976 with Miss Brevitt (Gail) as my teacher and dear Mrs Bates playing the piano. My love for dancing soon became clear especially after a visit one day from Miss Millard who told me I was “very good” and the obvious next step was to go to the school itself and from 1978 onwards Walsall Academy of Dance played a huge part in my life.
I danced on ”Kid’s World”, “Tiswas” where I even made it onto the official video clip of “The Bucket performed several times a day for a week at the Boat Show at the NEC in 1981 and the following year, “You’re never fully dressed without a smile” again as part of a professional fashion show at the NEC.
So many fond memories of shows and festivals in the 1980s. We had some awesome group dances – the “Pink Ballet”, “Can-Can” and “American Football”. As part of a successful team I remember we all had well-choreographed dances and original character dances: My own favorites being “The Rake “ from the Rake’s Progress and “Giselle”. I was runner up in the West Midlands Senior Ballet Championships in 1983 and won 3rd place the following year. With Rachel Brittain (Née Ford), my duet partner, we also had some fabulous festival dances; “The Spider & the Fly” and “The black screen and white gloves” to name but two. While people move on and move away I can still count myself blessed by friendships made during this period.
I worked as a teacher at Walsall Academy from 1984-1986,This was very convenient as a student at Queen Mary’s I could go straight from school to the dance school to teach the babies ,primary and grade classes. I subsequently became an IDTA Associate.
Despite not continuing a professional career in dancing, I have never stopped appreciating dancing. Miss Millard was such an inspiring teacher, she knew how to get the best out of each of us, not just technically but emotionally too.
After being here for around 5 years, I cannot believe how true the saying “time flys when you’re having fun” is! From day one I was made to feel so welcome by absolutely everyone and I know that I have made so many lifelong friends. As well as having so much fun, we are all worked hard so that we can benefit from each lesson and progress as dancers! These past five years have been an absolute blast and have given us all so many new opportunities that we will never forget! Thank you WAD!
Aoife Kenny 15
I joined Walsall Academy of Dance from a young age and loved taking part in dance lessons and festivals. I began assisting in the toddler class on a Tuesday at the age of 14 and I loved it so much that at the age of 16 I began training as a dance teacher.
With the help and support of Christa, other teachers and fellow training teachers I learnt all about the qualities of a good teacher and what is needed to teach a good dance lesson. Once I had qualified I started teaching classes on a Tuesday evening and really enjoyed the experience. I loved being a teacher and seeing the children’s enjoyment for dancing and watching them progress from when they first started to when they were ready to move up to the next class.
When I was 18, I had to leave my job at Walsall Academy of Dance because I moved to Hull to attend University. I tried to continue working as a dance teacher in Hull but it was difficult to find a decent dance school that was looking for teachers. I managed to get a part-time job working for a company that delivers dance and PE lessons to primary schools in the local area. This involved teaching varied styles of dance, which I had learnt from attending dance lessons and I only got the job through my qualifications as a dance teacher that I had gained at WAD.
After completing my Psychology degree I decided to go down the teaching route and applied for the PGCE in Hull. My experiences of being a qualified dance teacher significantly helped me get onto the course and so I have Walsall Academy of Dance to thank for that! I still remember lots of the things that I learnt through my dance teacher training at WAD and have used them regularly whilst on my PGCE school placements. For example, along with many other things, the burger model; layering any areas for improvement (the burger) with praise (the bread), that always seems to stick in my head.
I am now a qualified teacher, ready to start teaching my new Year 1 class in September in Hull. Being a member of WAD helped me to develop an interest in teaching and I wouldn’t be where I am today without the great help, dedicated teachers and excellent dance teacher training that I received. Thank you for everything and I am so happy to have such great experiences and memories from being a part of this amazing dance school.