What are our students up to now?
Since it's creation in 2007, Step into Dance has reached over 30,000 young people from London and Essex. For many, their classes mark the start of a journey into dance, going on to further training and performance opportunities. Here, we catch up with some of our former students and where they are now.
If you have been part of Step into Dance at your school or have been a member of one of our Youth Companies, we would love to hear what you are doing now. Email firstname.lastname@example.org - and you could be featured on this page.
Ex Youth Company Member and Priory School Student
Emma started off in our Step into Dance classes at the Priory School. She then joined the Youth Companies in 2012 as part of the Street Company and then the Jazz Company up until July 2015. Emma is now studying Musical Theatre at Millennium Performing Arts.
Emma says, “I’ve recently started my first year at Millennium Performing Arts and I love it there! I’ve settled in really well and am very excited for the training ahead.” She says that being a part of the Step into Dance Youth Companies was what made her want to become a professional dancer – “the companies taught me great discipline in dance and it became more than just a hobby.” Emma says her time at Step into Dance was inspiring, being taught by a range of teachers and being exposed to various styles. She exclaims that “the training that I had with Sonny Ward in the Jazz Company has benefitted me hugely, especially now I am specifically training in Musical Theatre. Without the classes I don’t think that I would be going into the career that I am. I am very grateful for everything the team has done for me and am immensely proud of the performances I have put on with the companies over the years.” Photo: Foteini Christofilopoulou
Ex Youth Company Member
Fern auditioned for the Street and Contemporary Youth Companies back in 2007 and since leaving Step in 2013 has danced for: Idris Elba, D'banj and GMC clothing. She is now teaching street dance for us on the Step into Dance programme.
When auditioning for Step into Dance way back in 2007, Fern never imagined how much she would discover about herself. "I was amazed! I could learn choreography fast and enjoyed freestyling so much I knew I had found my passion! Not only did the Step team help me find my feet in dance, but they strived to make every generation of new comers extremely strong/ comfortable in their style. I spent the whole of secondary school training with the SiD team, as well as busking in central London with my crew, Fifth Nation. As a dancer/choreographer today I feel that those where the crucial days that shaped me in my career. All the times I fell down practicing windmills and the blisters from spending hours six-stepping paid off!?" Since leaving SiD back in 2013 Fern has danced for Idris Elba, D'banj and GMC clothing. Fern was recently scouted as a model and already has worked with well-known clients such as: L'Oréal, H&M, Nico Didonna and Nina Naustdal. Fern says, "I can't wait to see what the future holds." Photo: Zoe Manders
Ex Youth Company Member and Ricards Lodge High School Student
Joy first took part in our Step into Dance classes at Ricards Lodge High School before she joined the Jazz Company in 2012 and the Street Company in 2014. She now dances in TNG, a new commercial hip hop company based in Northolt, West London.
Joy remembers her training with Step into Dance fondly. “One of the main things Step gave me is the opportunity to be taught by Sonny Ward for five years. He has played a big part in my development as a performer and I'm grateful to have had such an amazing mentor by my side all these years.” Being part of the Step into Dance Youth Companies allowed her to make lots of new friends, improve her dance technique and perform at a number of prestigious events and venues, such as Move It and Sadler’s Wells. Joy is now in the process of applying to vocational colleges to further her dance training. In the future she hopes to work professionally both as a touring commercial dancer and a West End musical cast member. She says, “Step into dance has opened so many doors for me and I'm grateful to have been a part of such an amazing organisation.” Photo: Foteini Christofilopoulou
Ex Youth Company Member and St Columba's Catholic Boys' School Student
Lucas started off in our Step into Dance classes at St Columba's Catholic Boys' School. He then became a part of the Street and Contemporary Youth Companies and was with us for 5 years! Lucas is currently on the CAT scheme at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance.
Lucas says that Step into Dance sparked and nurtured his passion for dance providing him with countless performance opportunities and experiences that have developed not only his physical performance and dance ability but also his confidence and character. He says, "The teachers are deeply committed and caring which goes a long way in creating an enjoyable and productive dance environment. I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Step into Dance programme and can say without a doubt that I would not have progressed to where I am today without Step." Lucas is currently on the CAT programme at Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance and has many happy memories of his time with Step.
Ex Youth Company Member and Kingsmead Student
Nathaniel started dancing at his school, Kingsmead under the direction of Linda Dyson in 2010, who also introduced the Step into Dance programme to the school. Nathaniel was later invited to audition for the companies.
“I joined the Step into Dance Street and Contemporary companies about 5 years ago and danced with them for two years. I loved every moment of my journey. Sue has guided me throughout every single step and helped me to become the dancer I am today.” Nathaniel had to have a year out to have a knee operation. This experience made him aware of how much dance really meant to him. He is now fit and well and has been granted a full scholarship to train at the Urdang Academy from September 2015. He has already a lot of professional work under his belt and can be seen on many music videos. He has also made his own which can be found on YouTube – “and this was all because of the Step into Dance” says Nathaniel.
Ex youth company member and Edmonton County student
Nya was part of the Contemporary and Street Companies from 2012 -2013, during this time she won a place on the CAT Scheme at The Place.
Nya talked to us about what she had gained from her experience of being in the company. "The street company gave me the confidence to improvise which is key in the world of dance. The performance opportunities throughout the year also tested my dance ability and made me a stronger dancer. I cannot thank the Step into Dance team enough for the wonderful opportunities and the enriching experience I had. The company is a true family unit, which made dancing together even better!
Before she joined the company Nya had no training in contemporary dance. Without the experience of being in the company, she believes she would not have had the chance to join the CAT Scheme at the Place. "Without Step into Dance I wouldn't be training where I am now. I thank Step into Dance for providing me with the stepping stone I needed."
Ex Youth Company Member
Omari was part of the Street and Contemporary Youth Companies from 2012-2014 and has recently performed in a music video for the band, Jungle.
Omari joined Step into Dance in 2012 as part of the Street and Contemporary Companies expressing that it was the best decision he ever made. He says that "the rehearsals were always focused and varied and it was especially great that we were able to give our own creative input to routines, which really helped me develop as a dancer. Morning yoga, with Sue before contemporary class was also fun." Omari told us about one of his greatest experiences, "Performing at the Royal Albert Hall with the Street Dance Company because it was the first time I had performed on such a huge stage, in front of a large audience." Recently he has performed in a music video for the band, Jungle and has performed at the Questor's Theatre for a show called 'Club Vertigo'. He has also recently choreographed for his Sixth form's production of The Pajama Game along with studying for his exams. Photo: Mark Lees
Ex Youth Company member and Capital City Academy student
Saskia was part of the Step into Dance Youth Company from 2012 to 2013. During this time a piece that she choreographed was chosen for Step LIVE! This was the first time that a piece choreographed by a student was selected for the show.
As a young girl, Saskia attended drama school at weekends where she took classes in musical theatre and jazz dance styles. It wasn’t until her sessions with Step into Dance teacher Aleta Thompson that Saskia had her first taste of street dance, “It was always a fun class but we also learnt loads including routines, style techniques and performance skills. For me, the Step into Dance classes were the first insight into real professional street dance”. In 2013, Saskia performed at Step LIVE! in a piece that she had choreographed. Inspired by her work in her Step classes. “This came about when I decided to put together a street dance group in my school inviting people from any year group to join. I put the piece forward for our Borough Event and it was chosen for Sadler's Wells”. The taste for the big stage has spurred Saskia on and she’s determined to pursue a career in dance, “I am looking to become a professional dancer and hopefully a well-known choreographer”. She says she owes a great deal to Step into Dance, “It encouraged me to take dance seriously which has made me a more confident person in all aspects of my life. Without Step into Dance I don’t think I would be dancing today and trying to make a career out of it”.
Saskia's Step LIVE! performanceMore videos
She left Capital City Academy in 2014 but attends dance classes as much as she can and is involved in dance productions at Hackney Empire. In September 2014 she started at the University of East London studying Urban Dance.
Ex Youth Company Member and Capital City Academy Student
Vanio was part of the Step into Dance group at his school, Capital City Academy in Brent. In 2013 the group were selected for Step LIVE! with a piece choreographed by fellow student, Saskia Davies. That same year Vanio joined the Step into Dance Street Company.
Vanio was part of the Step into Dance group at his school, Capital City Academy in Brent. In 2013 the group were selected for Step LIVE! with a piece choreographed by fellow student, Saskia Davies. That same year Vanio joined the Step into Dance Street Company. Vanio is currently in his final year at the University of East London studying Urban Dance Practice. Although he focuses on completing his degree, he still takes extra dance classes to keep his training level up. He regularly performs with his university and Finesse Dance Group. He continues to participate in street battles, inspired by Step into Battle from when he was on the Step into Dance programme. Vanio has also made a short dance film with peers on his university course and organised Collide Dance Festival, which he hosted and performed at. Vanio says, “Being part of Step into Dance meant that I took a lot of new things on board, such as the yoga classes that we had with Sue. I have continued with yoga at university and I’m really progressing and enjoying it. I met some great teachers through the programme such as Sunanda Biswas and Aleta Thompson. They have had a huge impact on my life – they have always been supportive of me and have pushed me to my limits. In the future I am hoping to perform on stage in the West End, while also teaching regular classes in a studio of my own.”