I’d like to say a big congratulations to Miss Millard and Christa and all teachers past and present for WAD reaching the incredible milestone of 50 years! You have achieved so much and laid the important foundations for so many of your students to have a wonderful career in dance; you must be really proud.

Sadly I cannot attend the show and reunion today as it is the last day of term at my school and we have examinations tomorrow and next week, but wish you all a wonderful show and loads of fun celebrating.

I left WAD in 1998 to go straight into ”Oklahoma!” at the Royal National Theatre in London, directed by Trevor Nunn and with superb choreography by Susan Stroman. Going straight into a show of this calibre is very unusual and a testament to Miss Millard’s brilliant training. Nevertheless, it was a shock to suddenly be dancing on a huge stage with full orchestra along with seasoned West End professionals, plus sharing a stage with stars, Maureen Lipman and Hugh Jackman! What an amazing start WAD gave to my career in musical theatre.

Following this, I did several other musical theatre roles including UK no 1 tours and West End shows and then trained and LAMDA and went into TV and film as well as setting up my own dance school, South London Dance Studios. My school is now 13 years old with almost 800 students and I cannot imagine what it will be like at 50 years – will I survive being Principal for that long?! What hard work it is setting up a new school – I now fully appreciate how incredibly hard Miss Millard must have had to work in order to achieve all she did.

I think of Miss Millard’s training and my time at WAD often as it has influenced aspects of running my school and of course my teaching style. It’s so true that as a teacher you reflect your own teacher; I find myself saying things that are exactly the same as those things that were said to (or sometimes shouted at!) me at WAD.

I am now so proud of my own dance school and the high standards my students achieve but I know I could not have done it without the start I was given by my teachers at WAD, so here’s a huge thank you to Miss Millard, Joanne and Karen.