GPO – Gambia Projects Overseas

We are extremely grateful for the continued support of Gambia Projects Overseas who ship all of our donations from the UK to The Gambia. Quite simply we would no be where we are today without the help of David Bennie and the rest of the team.

Their aim is to advance the education of underprivileged and disadvantaged children in Gambia by building and maintaining educational facilities, providing educational resources and supporting the training of teachers.

Gambia Projects Overseas support a number of nursery and primary schools in The Gambia with donations of  educational materials and equipment and offer scholarships that allow trainee teachers in The Gambia to study and achieve internationally recognised teaching qualifications.

They organise regular shipments from England to Gambia and are committed to assisting and enabling Gambians to increase their knowledge & skills in order to move forward in their own chosen pathways.

They need help with projects, fundraising, donations of money or resources, sponsorship for teachers salaries & building projects and can be contacted at GPO – Gambia Projects Overseas




Capezio Ballet Shoes & Slippers

We are extremely grateful to have the support of Karla Bray and the staff of Capezio in London and their kind donation of pointe ballet shoes.

Capezio is London’s largest dance wear store, spread over two floors and located right in Endell Street in the heart of Covent Garden and specialises in all styles of footwear for people involved in dance and movement for either recreation or profession.

Capezio was born over a century ago when Italian émigré Salvatore Capezio opened a small theatrical shoe repair shop a stone’s throw away from New York’s old Metropolitan Opera House.

By the 1930s, Capezio had become a family operation whose footwear was featured on the stages of Broadway.

Moving into the 1950s, Capezio shoes had gained sufficient notoriety to prompt major department stores like Lord & Taylor and Neiman Marcus to purchase them and Vogue to feature them on their cover.

Today, Capezio is the foremost name in dance. With over 130 years of quality craftsmanship, dedicated customer service and timeless design to its name, Capezio is the brand of choice for athletes and performers, the world over.

As Capezio evolves and extends into the lifestyle category, it is these artists who will champion the brand and foster its ongoing success among dancers and non-dancers alike.

Marcelle Pulleine – Geelong, Australia

We are thrilled to have the support of Marcelle Pulleine and her family and friends in Geelong, Australia. Marcelle is collecting new and used ballet shoes, costumes and educational materials for us in Australia

Marcelle Pulleine is trained in classical ballet (Royal Academy of Dance Syllabus), contemporary, jazz and many other dance styles since she was nine years of age.

Marcelle has been fortunate enough to have received training at the Australian Ballet School, Melbourne City Youth Ballet, Claudia Dean Classical Coaching, Sydney Dance Company, Alegria, Tanya Pearson and her local dance studio in Victoria Australia.

Dance is her passion and her escape, without it she would not be who she is today. It has provided her with self-discipline, confidence has also helped her understand that you need to work hard for what you want to achieve.

Marcelle hopes to work as a Physical Therapist to help young dancers in her future.

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