Peter & Eddie Bindloss – Insteps Dance Academy, Ludlow

The Gambia Ballet Factory has received a very real boost from the recent visit by Peter and Eddie Bindloss representing the Insteps Dance Aademy in Ludlow in Shropshire in England. They organised workshops and classes and donated ballet shoes, costumes and educational materials.

Peter graduated from Arts Educational School in Chiswick in musical theatre last year and will be touring the UK in 2018 with the Royal Shakespeare Company’s  production of Roald Dahl’s ‘Matilda, The Musical’. Previously Peter has performed in the following productions The Toxic Avenger: The Musical (Arts Theatre); Holy Crap! (Kings Head Theatre); The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Easy Virtue, Jerry Springer the Opera, The Life (Arts Educational Schools, London).

Younger brother, Eddie attends the Insteps Dance Academy in Ludlow and Hereford Sixth Form College where he studies drama and musical theatre.  He has organised a collection of ballet shoes, costumes and educational materials from fellow students and teachers.

Based in Ludlow, Shropshire, Insteps has over 20 years of experience of dance and performance we have taken their skills, experience, passion & developed it to create a vibrant, relaxing and fun environment for all ages.

Leianne Bates is the Principal at Insteaps and the began dancing when she was four beginning with ballet and moved on quickly to start modern and tap. From an early age she was passionate about dance and realised that this was where her future was and at 16 went to full time dance college to continue her studies on a 3 year full time course.

At Dance College she studied Ballet, Tap, Modern and National and gained her Advanced 2 exams in all of these genres as well as gaining her Teaching Associates in Ballet, Tap and Modern all with the ISTD faculty. She also had the opportunity to study other forms of dance including, Contemporary, Irish, Spanish, Ballroom, Jazz and Street Dance.

Insteps Dance Academy runs dance classes in two locations, from purpose built dance studios located in the heart of Ludlow at the Ludlow Mascall Centre on Lower Galdford. They also have classes running in Leominster located at the Earls Mortimer College, South Street.

Click here to read the full report of the Peter and Eddie’s visit to the Gambia Ballet Factory in The Hereford Times


Veron Shen Of Funky Dance Academy In Singapore.

The Gambia Ballet Factory is excited and thrilled to have the ongoing support of Veron Shen of the Funky Dance Academy based in Singapore.

We have recently received 6 parcels od ballet shoes and costumes that Veron has collected for us through her work as a senior dance choreographer, teacher and motivator in the vibrant ballet, dance and performimg arts scene of Singapore.

Veron first began ballet lessons at the age of 4 and with the inspiration, training and mentoring of Ms Rosalind Ong actually began teaching other students at the tender age of 14.

Veron has completed her Grade 8 and Advanced 1 ballet exams under the Royal Academy of Dance syllabus, and completed her Gold Bar Jazz exams under the Australian Teachers of Dance syllabus.

She has attained her RAD Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies, and is a affiliate Member of ATOD with which she is now fully qualified to send students in for exams. Her classes range from RAD Pre-Primary to Advance 1 for ballet, and ATOD Test1 to Gold bar for Jazz.

She teaches non-syllabus open classes as well. Veron is an active member of Dancesacpe which is a non-profit performing group based in the Chinatown Arts Belt of Singapore and is recognized and funded by the Singapore National Arts Council. Dancescape trainers and dancers are actively involved in the provision of dance education in local schools and also provide dance classes and schooling for the public at Rhythm ‘N’ Moves studio.

They develop dance training system to suit students of different levels and learning abilities and also design various dance programmes for schools with the objective of promoting performing arts to the mass and upholding principles and quality of dance education.

Veron is commited to dance and works to develop the artistic vision, engagement and commitment of every participant, from artistic director to choreographers, trainers, dancers, the stage production team and the audience.

Pam Vlach – Tap Uganda

Tap Uganda  was founded by Pan Vlach and provides dance education for the children of Uganda through the use of technology and visiting artists. 

Life isn’t easy for people in Uganda. There are approximately 2.5 million orphans in the country, and 1.2 million of those are orphaned because of AIDS.

Many of  these children are homeless or living in children’s centers on the outskirts of Kampala. Dance education provides joy, resources, community, and an outlet for creative and emotional expression.

Some go to school, but many can’t, and access to arts education can change their lives. Training of any kind is secondary to survival and ny new skills can mean possibilities for employment, food, shelter, necessities, and education.

Attending class weekly also provides the children with community, self-confidence, an avenue for creative and emotional expression, and a safe place to go.

The mission of Tap Uganda is to provide the orphans of Kampala, Uganda with training, resources, and opportunities to become leaders and educators in their community.

Dance education is a powerful doorway for that mission, but academic educations are essential for job viability.

Now that our basics are covered, they are collecting funds to begin a foundation that will help pay for educations for the children of Tap Uganda.

Even public schools are a luxury in Kampala, and require fees that are out of reach for many of these kids.

However, attending school will alter the trajectory of an orphan’s life, and provide her/him with a more secure future.

Follow the link for more info on Tap Uganda

Rosy Nevard – Nova Grace Productions

We are thrilled to be working with Rosy Nevard who is the founder of Nova Grace Productions which uses ballet educational and outreach performances and workshops to raise awareness of specific social problems such as mental illness, HIV and child sex abuse.

Rosy is an experienced teacher of all age groups including professional company classes and Nova Grace Productions create and deliver dance performances and plays, creative dance workshops, discussions and conversations, to people all over the world and work on a mixture of independent and collaborative projects, developing partnerships with other like-minded people and organisations to deliver dance opportunities to those who may not otherwise experience dance.

Nova Grace have worked with the under privileged children in inner city areas of Los Angeles and London and more recently have began projects in Belize and Uganda.

Rosy’s dance training began at the the Judith Wilson School of Dance in Kent where she performed with various youth companies, including three seasons with the London Children’s Ballet in works by Cathy Marston and David Fielding.

She subsequently continued her training at the Central School of Ballet, participating in the “Central Tour”, where she was given the opportunity of working with choreographers Christopher Bruce and Christopher Marney.

Rosy graduated in July 2010 with a BA (Hons) degree in Professional Dance and Performance and since then has worked on projects with The Absolute Gospel Company, Artist Di Mainstone, and Stephen Pelton Dance Theatre. She is experienced in teaching all age groups and also professional company classes.

Follow the link for more info on our partnership with Nova Grace Productions

Tasha Bertram – Russian Ballet Dancer & Teacher

We are excited to be receiving help and guidance with the development of our ballet project from Tasha Bartram of the The Legat School of Russian Ballet, La Compagnia Balletto Classico in Italy and The London City Ballet.

Classical Ballet Dancer, Singer, Actress and Teacher Anastasia Bertram, known  as Tasha, is an inspiration to us. Though petite of build, her strength of character and courage is dauntless. This became evident at the age of nine when she set her heart on going to The Legat School of Russian Ballet.

tasha-bertram-balletTasha had to go through the rigorous selection process from the Royal Ballet to confirm she had the right physique and potential.

Only after their acceptance, would the West Sussex Council award her a full grant to go to Legat. Needless to say she did pass the tests and when asked why she’d chosen The Legat School of Russian Ballet, her response was simple “It felt like home“.

In later years when grants were cut and Tasha’s parents encountered financial difficulties, the spirit of ‘Legat’ was to recognise her talent and allowed her dream of becoming a ballet dancer to continue. They agreed to accept payment in potatoes, (her father, Tim Bertram, being a potato farmer).

She has also produced a short film through her own production company ‘Brodie Films’ in which she played the lead role, adapted the screenplay and even wrote the soundtrack.

Follow the link to read about Tasha Bertram’s ballet experiences with The Legat School of Russian Ballet, La Compagnia Balletto Classico in Italy and The London City Ballet.

Rebecca Petty-Fitzmaurice – FitzGraham Academy of Dance

We are thrilled to have the support of Rebecca Petty-Fitzmaurice RADRTS who is the Principal of the FitzGraham Academy of Dance in Wiltshire, England.

The FitzGraham Academy of Dance serves Calne, Chippenham and the surrounding areas in the Cotswolds and is respected as a centre of excellence which provides a friendly learning environment in which all students can experience and enjoy many forms of dance and music including ballet, modern, tap, musical theatre, contemporary, lyrical, jazz & acrobatic arts.

They take great pride in their 100% exam pass rate.

Miss Beccy began dancing at the age of 3 with her local ballet teacher Christine Atkinson who is now an international examiner with the Royal Academy of Dance.

At 10 years old Beccy successfully auditioned for Elmhurst Ballet School, where she received full time vocational ballet training from some of the best teachers and professional dancers in the world. Along side Ballet she trained in Modern, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary, Spanish and Musical Theatre.

At the age of 16 she moved to Australia alone where she trained with Ecole Ballet & Dance Theatre and completed her training to Advanced Level. Unfortunately Beccy sustained an injury which ended her performance career.

When she returned to England she gained her teaching qualification with The Royal Academy of Dance in order to pass on her knowledge to young eager students.

The Academy encourage students to be creative and develop their own individuality, style and sense of performance, whilst establishing a firm technique.

All of our dance classes are held in our own fully equipped dance studios  and the teachers are all fully qualified with an array of professional performance experience.

All students are encouraged to take exams in Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Modern. Our teachers are qualified and registered teachers of the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) and the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance (ISTD).

They take great pride in their 100% exam pass rate.

Follow the link for more information about the FitzGraham Academy of Dance in Wiltshire

Maggie Purr – Welland School of Dancing, Stamford

We are thrilled to have the support of Maggie Purr of The Stamford Welland School of Dancing in Stanford, Lincolnshire which is one of the UK’s oldest and most established dancing schools offering ballet, tap, modern and hip hop. We have recently received over 200 pairs of ballet shoes,  leotards and tights 

welland-school-of-dancingMaggie and her husband James have run the Welland school of Dancing since 2010, as a husband and wife partnership, and since January 2015 with baby Briony in tow.

Maggie is a former pupil of Welland School of Dancing. Under the tutelage of Miss Desbruslais, Maggie gained a place at the Royal Ballet School as a junior associate, and then at Central School of Ballet in 1996. In her final year,

maggie-purr-balerinaMaggie toured the UK with Ballet Central, selected as soloist for the reworking of Christopher Gable’s beloved ballet “Celebration”.

Maggie’s first professional contract was with Vienna Festival Ballet touring the UK, Austria and Germany with Swan Lake, Coppelia, and The Nutcracker. Maggie’s Musical Theatre debut came in 2000, when she joined the UK tour of Phantom of the Opera as one of the Corps de Ballet.

welland-dance-donationsHer other performance credits include the 2001 World Tour of Rhythm of the Dance, with the National Dance Co. of Ireland, and the World Tour of Phantom of the Opera from 2005-07, touring Seoul, Taipei, Hong Kong and Singapore, where she met Mr Skinner.

In 2004 Maggie graduated from the Royal Academy of Dance, Teaching Certificate Programme, with Distinction.

welland-school-dance-donationSince then she has taught extensively throughout the UK and Australia, as a guest teacher for New York State University, Head of Dance at St. Georges School Windsor Castle, and Ballet teacher for Bodyworks Cambridge.

In 2006 Maggie started up her own children’s dance company in Windsor called Twinkle Tots Dance, specializing in Under 5 movement, dance and creativity.

The company now has over 200 pupils in the Surrey, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire areas. Maggie has brought this exciting new Twinkle Tots class to Welland School of Dancing.

Follow the link for more info on The Stamford Welland School of Dancing

Donya Keys – En Pointe Dance School In York

We are grateful for the support of Donya Keys and her colleagues at the En Pointe Classical Dance School in the beautiful city of York.

logo-enpointeDonya Keys was born in York. She started dancing at the age of two and a half years old. She has passed her Royal Academy of dance major examinations and all grades with Distinction. In 1996, Donya became an associate with the Royal ballet as well as dancing at the Louise Brown Yorkshire Scholarship Centre for seven years.

Idonya-en-pointen 1998, Donya danced as an associate with the Northern ballet Theatre for five years along side achieving the Dame Alicia Markova Scholarship awarded to her in 1999 and the Gladice Thorpe award in 2003.

Also in this year Donya was accepted into Elmhurst Dance School in association with the Birmingham Royal Ballet where she gained an A Level in Dance and Diploma in Dance.

ballet-school-yorkShe then went onto performing with the Birmingham Royal Ballet as a soloist in façade and later danced in firebird in 2005. Donya has danced with include, Royal Opera Company, European Ballet Company and Yorkshire Youth Ballet Theatre.

Donya then progressed to become a qualified teacher, undertaking a Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies at the Royal Academy of Dance. Donya started teaching in 2006 and being based in the London area, taught at many dance sballet-dance-yorkchools as well as taking her classes into private schools and nurseries.

She is DBS checked. She now has own ballet school, bringing all her experience and knowledge back to her hometown of York.

En Pointe Classical Dance School is a vibrant, creative ballet school which offers professional expert teaching to all of their students.

Ballet is at the heart of the school and we are proud to teach the world recognised Classical Ballet RAD syllabus in our beautiful city of York. The School engages its students with our fun and inspiring classes that are designed specifically to the students age and ability.

Follow the link for more info on En Pointe Classical Dance School, York, England


Kirsten Evans – Festival Ballet Providence

Originally from Massachusetts, Kirsten Evans began training in the Festival Ballet Providence School in Rhode Island at age 11. 

kirsten-evans-providence-balletShe performed as a member of FBP’s Junior Company for 5 years before joining the main company as a trainee in 2010.

Kirsten Evans has attended summer intensives with The Nutmeg Conservatory, Bolshoi Ballet Academy, Valentina Kozlova’s Dance Conservatory NY, and was a member of the Jacob’s Pillow Summer Dance Festival in 2009.

Ms. Evans was a two time finalist in the Youth American Grand Prix Ballet Competition in New York City, where she was awarded several scholarships as well as a traineeship with Ballet West in Utah.

Previous roles with FBP include first and second pas de trois in Balanchine’s Agon, Pas de Trois and Cygnets in Swan Lake, Willi in Giselle, Factory Girl in Viktor Plotnikov’s Carmen, the roles of Clara, Lead Snowflake, Lead Flower, Marzipan and Spanish in The Nutcracker, Witch in Plotnikov’s The Widow’s Broom, and Wendy in Jorden Morris’ Peter Pan.

Kirsten is also pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts/Journalism at Providence College part time.

Follow the link to read Kirsten’s blog Setting The Barre

Rebecca King – Miami City Ballet

Rebecca King is a Corps De Ballet dancer with Miami City Ballet. In her blog, readers can follow the everyday life of a professional ballet dancer living and working in one of the most glamorous and trendy places in the world, Miami Beach.

rebecca-king-providence-ballet“My mission is to provide insight into the life of a professional ballet dancer and my goal is to create an entertaining blog that will appeal to people who know ballet and those who don’t.

Ballet is a glamorous art form and I want to reach out to people to educate them and excite them about what I do for a living.

Rebecca King was born and raised in Northern California.

She received her ballet training from former San Francisco Ballet School Director and ABT dancer Richard Cammack, former ABT and SFB dancer Zola Dishong, former NYCB dancer Charles Anderson and former Royal Swedish Ballet dancer Katarina Wester at Contra Costa Ballet Centre in Walnut Creek, Calif.

King spent two summers studying at San Francisco Ballet School under the direction of Gloria Govrin. Her senior year in high school, she attended The Rock School in Philadelphia. After graduating in 2006, she moved to Miami to train at Miami City Ballet School.

rebecca-king-ballerinaKing joined Miami City Ballet in 2007 as a company apprentice and was promoted to corps de ballet in 2008. Since then, she has worked with many of today’s most sought-after choreographers including Christopher Wheeldon, Alexei Ratmansky, Liam Scarlett and Justin Peck.

She has danced in the majority of MCB’s Balanchine repertoire, as well as classical full-length ballets and contemporary works. Since 2010, she has served as a Company Representative on behalf of the dancers.

In 2010, she founded a dance blog,, which has enabled her to reach out to dancers and audience members from around the globe. King currently sits on the advisory board of The Dancers Studio in Stuart, Fla.