When I was about 8, off I went to ballet school. A right of passage for any little girl. However, it was pretty obvious early on that I was neither built for it or interested in it. So, here I am some 30 (and the rest) years later, dropping Grace off once a week to don her ballet shoes. So far she seems to enjoy it and I think that is impart down to the amazing young lady who the school belongs to.
I have worked with Sarah and her family, offering my services for free to help with this great local dance school. And I wanted to know more about her and her ambitions.
Dancing goes back many years in Sarah's family, started initially with her Great Aunty Rose who would go to classes and then come home to teach Sarah's Granddad everything she'd learnt! Sarah's Granny and Granddad were married in 1957 and performed in Oaklahoma. Sarah's Granddad told them he could dance and the choreographer, Miss Isobel Dunn, taught him the dream ballet.
From there many member's of Sarah's family joined Isobel Dunn to learn ballet. Sarah attended her first class at Isobel Dunn School of Dancing when she was just 3 and was the only ever 3rd generation to attend the school. Sarah's younger sister, Heather also began at 3!
At 6 Sarah did her first performance on stage in Miss Dunn's annual show Dance Flash.
In 2000 Dance Flash moved to the Grand Opera House and stayed there for the next 9 years. Sarah's younger sister Isobelle started dancing at 6 and finally all the sisters persueded William, the brother to the three dancing sister's, to start tap and musical theatre at 9! 2008 and 2009 saw all four Steads taking part in Dance Flash with their mum helping out as a dresser and their dad as the photographer.
Miss Dunn's influenced Sarah in so many ways, she taught her that dance was not only an art form but also a strict discipline and you always did your best! At the age of 13 Sarah began assisting with the younger classes as well as auditioning for parts in the Grand Opera House Pantomime, which she got!
Initially after school Sarah thought she would like to study Fashion and Clothing with a view to studying Costume Design at University, but it wasn't for her. So, in 2009, with plenty of encouragement from her mum, Sarah set up dance 2 classes for children aged 3-8 years.
It was small to begin with, but it began to grow. Sarah knew her heart was more in the love of backstage work and teaching than with costumes.
Sarah continued to work hard and asked for advice from others about how to go on and teach. They told her to work with others and look at how they put shows together, go take workshops with guest teachers and dance at more than one dance school to get the experience of other teachers. Basicallly do everything Miss Dunn had taught her to do.
Sadly in 2012 Miss Dunn passed away at the grand age of 89. She taught Sarah so much and if her Great Aunty Rose hadn't have come home and taught her Granddad to dance, he wouldn't have met Sarah's Granny, her Aunty Ann wouldn't have gone to Miss Dunn's and most importantly Sarah wouldn't have set up Spotlight.
Sarah says that to watch Spotlight become successful and the children that she has taught grow in ability and confidence is the most rewarding thing in life. "To have a parent come up and say that their son or daughter loves coming to dancing, makes all the tricky parts, worth doing!"
Sarah, William, Heather and in the front Isobelle.
My little girl loves her ballet on a Monday night and to see her dance in the shows that Sarah orchestrates is wonderful! I just hope she goes onto be a better dancer than her mum ever was!