From the age of three I attended classes in Ballet and Tap. I remember quite clearly not wishing to join in with the other children in class, and crying in the hope that I could go home. After a couple of weeks, following words of encouragement from the teacher to my parents to persevere a little longer, thankfully Mum agreed!
As a child and in early teens I looked forward to the long days rehearsing each Saturday. I would return home with tired aching limbs and blistered toes from Pointe work. I was never very competitive at school, but I thrived on the challenges of a ballet class, developing confidence and acquiring an appreciation of classical music from an early age. I have such fond memories of those years… such exciting times.
Following years of dance training, examinations and teaching courses, I eventually fulfilled my childhood dreams of becoming a teacher, choreographer and Principal of my school the ‘Sheila Ann Stage School' which you now know as Counterpointe Theatre Arts. It has always been my wish to pass on that same enjoyment and love of dance my teacher gave to me. Since moving the school first to Gower College and then this year to Ffynone House, it has been possible for us to develop many more classes and offer students all aspects of Performing Arts for children and adults. Counterpointe Theatre Arts has a reputation for being a serious school with high standards. We are proud to have such a reputation and do not look upon this as a criticism in any way. On the contrary, it simply means that we aim for all our children taught from an early age to train correctly, laying firm foundations which prepare students for whatever aspirations they may have in the future.
Classes may still be a magical experience for all. I feel sure so many children would not have achieved their successes and remained with us for so many years had classes not been enjoyable. Students training at Counterpointe develop a confident, intelligent approach to dance. Dance itself develops confidence, graceful poise and builds strong characters. We are of course delighted that so many of our students have been successful, continuing into full time professional dance colleges. Colleagues on many occasions have asked how so many of our students have gained scholarship into full time colleges. I can only assume this is due to the following reasons. Whilst we are a Performing Arts School we have always encouraged our students to attend a ballet class. Counterpointe has a strong classical background. Of course attending classes may well be ‘just a hobby' for a student, but teachers at Counterpointe take their jobs seriously.
Educating students to realise the importance of classical technique, from an early age and throughout their training, develops focused, determined students. Compliment this with dedicated teachers and supportive parents, and we have a team that works! Teamwork!With daughters Miss Helen and Miss Amelia now also running the school, I am no longer teaching as many classes as I have previously. However, with each term's new intake of young students, I feel once again a renewed challenge to see them progress. Given time, patience and nurturing, our little ducklings turn into such beautiful graceful swans. It is always a privilege and pleasure to teach dance. My particular passion for Classical Ballet has never wavered. ‘The School of the Future, Your Future!' was our school motto many years ago, and this sentiment hasn't changed. However, as an established school it has now become possible to state the fact that; ‘actions do speak louder than words!'