Milestone for Portsmouth dancing school as it turns 25

The Giselle Academy of Dance and Theatre Arts celebrates its 25th anniversary. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (142713-4)
The Giselle Academy of Dance and Theatre Arts celebrates its 25th anniversary. 'Picture: Ian Hargreaves (142713-4)
Forest School Leaders Dawn White and Sue Evans with their pupils outside the school

Picture: Habibur Rahman (180146-338)

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HUNDREDS of students have walked through the doors of Giselle Academy of Dance and Theatre Arts.

Now the school, which is in North End, is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

The academy began with six pupils in a church hall. Since then it has seen two recessions, and six moves, and is now settled in its own purpose-built dance studios and music rooms.

Around 450 pupils have walked through its doors to begin a career in the dance industry.

The school opened in September 1989.

Owner Catherine Ingram said: ‘To be quite honest, you just keep going and all of a sudden, it occurred to me we’d been going for 25 years.

‘The secret of the academy’s success is creating a school that is valued by both parents and pupils – they are, after all, our customers.

‘It’s also important to keep aware of changing attitudes of the times and to stay relevant to the needs and interests of young people, without compromising the demands and disciplines of a dancers training.

‘Above all, we have a staff whose passion for the arts is infectious and inspirational.’

More than 150 people gathered in the city for a ball at the Marriott Hotel to mark the occasion.

Students travelled from as far afield as Paris, India and Cyprus to join in the celebrations.

Mrs Ingram added: ‘It was absolutely amazing. It was a lovely evening.

‘I’m absolutely amazed and quite overwhelmed by how much the evening meant to them.

‘Lots of them are young women now.

‘They have been saying how much the school meant to them.

‘They made lifelong friends there.

‘A lot of them said the things they have gone on to do, they wouldn’t have the confidence to do otherwise.’

The academy also created a Boys Ballet Initiative, became a teacher training centre, and has a thriving children’s theatre company, which 
now stages two productions a year.