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Past Pupils of Acacia Dance

Jessye Parke

What are they doing now?

Jessye joined us aged 12, having never learned Tap or Modern before, with her two sisters, and reached Advanced 2 Modern, Advanced 2 Ballet and Advanced 1 Tap Levels before successfully auditioning for Laban aged 18.  She has danced with Welsh National Opera on a UK tour culminating at The Millenium Centre in Cardiff, Ballet Black and several contemporary companies.  For a few years 'Miss Jessye' taught some of our Saturday classes and now although she lives about 10 miles away, her son and daughter attend our classes.

Andew Gordon-Watkins

 ... after joining my Adult Education Tap class in Kingston with some ladies of a certain age, Andrew came on Saturdays to do Grade 2 Tap and higher.  A few years later, he was touring Germany in The Rocky Horror Show and taking parts in other West End musicals.

Indianna Lewis

Indianna began dancing with us aged 4, and took part in two London Children's Ballet Productions, making the most of her elevation skills as a wolf!  Aged 15, she won a scholarship to study at a New York Summer School with Dance Theatre of Harlem, which brings back memories of making the audition video she had to provide in our studio - some 5 hours of footage before both she and I were satisfied with the required 2 minutes!  She also danced with Ballet Black.

David Bica

David began Ballet, Modern and Tap when he was 5.  Most serious students would love to be Ballet professionals but often end up doing Commercial Dance or Musical Theatre.  David wanted to go into Musical Theatre, but everywhere he auditioned liked his dancing but his acting and singing not so much - so he ended up going to The Laban Institute to train in Classical Ballet and Contemporary!  He reached high levels in all genres, the highest being Advanced 2 Tap.

Hannah Egueye

Hannah danced with us from age 3 to 18, and is now studying medecine at Bristol University.  She was a remarkable student as she never missed a class.  (In fact, her mum said she'd never had a day off school since starting in the Reception class).  Her persistence meant that she gained a higher mark for her Advanced 1 Tap examination than the aspiring dancers who took the exam with her.

Cassandra Simpson

Cassandra danced with us aged 4 to 8, and tthen moved some miles away, but returned aged 12 to resume her Ballet, Modern and Tap, gaining Distinction for Intermediate Modern and Tap. She did a degree in dance at Winchester University, and has appeared in classical and contemporary productions till quite recently.  Her speciality is Tap, and she was teaching for us on Saturdays until the pandemic began, but we hope to see her back soon.  Her niece now travels about 10 miles every Saturday to do classes with us.

Mabel Clements

Mabel started dancing aged 13, having belonged to a Musical Theatre Group who recommended that she have some formal dance training, and reached Advanced 1 Tap, Intermediate Modern and Intermediate Ballet level.  Unable to go into the Musical Theatre career she aspired to because of nodules on her vocal chords, Mabel turned down a place at Cambridge to go to The Guildhall School of Music and Drama to study serious acting.  She was in an award-winning version of The Doll's House at the Young Vic, which she also performed on Broadway.  Enterprising Mabel also taught Miss Joan's son piano and flute for many years, starting while she was still at school, resulting in hime winning a music scholarship to a local secondary school.  (The flute section of their orchestra is somewhat larger than usual, largely due to her teaching)!

Gabriella Veysey

Gabriella is our longest student member, having started aged 3 at a branch we had in Wapping, and commuted to Clapham with her whole class, once the branch closed when she was 10.  She is now a Physics Teacher, but carried on dancing and performing whilst at York University, and resumed classes with us afterwards, almost gaining Distinction for Intermediate Ballet and hoping to take Advanced 1 when recovered from a knee injury.  She's in our homepage picture of Pre-Primary Ballet children before a performance!

Isabelle Veysey

Issy also started in Wapping and commuted to Clapham from Wapping aged 8, and Meopham in Kent after leaving York.   She gained Distinction for Intermediate Modern and Merit for Intermediate Tap on resuming classes after returning from York University, where she studied History of Art, and until recently was working at The Royal Opera House, and gave us access to some wonderful rehearsals!  Thank you Issy!  Like Gabriella, she's also in the homepage Ballet Group picture!

Aurora Dawson-Hunte

Aurora came to us aged 13 to complete her Ballet, Tap and Modern Grade exams before studying Modern Languages at Oxford.  Aged 15, she performed in The National Youth Ballet production of Coppelia at The Churchill Theatre in Bomley - memoraable to me as I told my young son "We're going to see Aurora dance", and he asked very seriously in the Interval, "Why's it called 'Aurora Dance', she's only in the chorus"! Subsequently, she went to RADA, and we believe we spotted her as a Principal Fairy in pantomime at The Hackney Empire whilst she was a student!

... more to come!

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