What Stage Plus Means To Me #Gemma

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What Stage Plus Means To Me #Gemma

As 11th June 2017 marks the 10th Anniversary of myself as Owner and Principal of Stage Plus, I wanted to publish a blog post per week talking about what Stage Plus means to people, written by a variety of people including faculty, parents and students, past and present!

My New Years Resolution of Organisation has not kicked in fully as yet with a 3 month old, just the day to day stuff is lucky to get done, so this week (Week 3 of January)
i’ll be playing catch up!

First up ME…….


10 years ago after (not) much deliberation I decided to take up Jan’s offer of buying Stage Plus.  It was a huge decision and one I took very lightly as a 22 year old who had always dreamt of running her own school. I didn’t listen to a single person who had anything negative to say (they have had many chances to say I told you so over the years), but I brushed off their comments and threw myself in whole heartedly.

My story started as I was called on by Ellen David who worked alongside Jan, to see if I would like to cover some Maternity Leave. Ellen had seen me dance for many years and was aware I was recently back from performing abroad and was a qualified teacher. I went in for an interview and was lucky enough to be offered the job.

After less than a year of Maternity Cover Jan asked me, while i was at an exam session, if I would be interested in buying the school from her, as she had new plans.
I couldn’t believe my luck-this was a dream come true.
Obviously at 22 years old I had no idea how much hard work this would be, how much I would struggle financially, how i was not ready for serious decision making or how this would change my feelings about dance!

Now I’m not saying it was all hard and if the hard wasn’t worth it i would not still be standing here today.
I have learnt so much about myself-my strengths and weaknesses, when I need to take a step back, when i need to ask for help and when a fantastic idea is possible
(Ok I’m still learning this one-but it doesn’t stop me going full steam ahead).
When to push a child, when to let them work it out for themselves and when they need an ear to listen. When a dance routine is looking amazing and when we need to strip it back down, when we need more rehearsals, what make up and costume would look best and how on earth we are going to make it (Well Sam does that bit). It has been a steep learning curve and a journey i will continue to take as the years pass.

In the last 10 years we have put on Shows, Showcases, competed in Festivals (including BTDA Finals), been invited to perform at Charity days and Village/Town fetes, had students win competitions as soloists and in groups and helped raise money for charities.  We have celebrated exam achievements and students winning places at prestigious dance colleges. Also those who are now off working in the business on TV, on cruises, modelling, in Disneyland Paris and producing their own shows.

I am so unbelievably proud of every child that has passed through Stage Plus.  Whether they have stayed for a term and learnt to plie, shuffle, turn or leap,
are still with us after years and are pushing to improve
their technique and performance every class,
or if they have graduated from Stage Plus and moved on to new things
be that University, Work or entering the Performing World.

When I see on Social Media all the amazing things everyone is doing, get told by parents how we have helped their child grow in confidence and how they can’t wait to come to class every week, or have an excitable eager child (or adult) turn up to class it makes me come alive.  I feel so proud and happy to have created a place that people want to come to, a Family that people want to be a part of.

I have many ideas and dreams for Stage Plus and I can’t wait to bring them to life!
I truly hope that as a Principal you have found me approachable, friendly and fun
and that however long you have been part of this Family you have loved every minute.
I certainly have!

Gemma x


If you would like to write a little bit about your time at Stage Plus
please email it to me with a photo.