FISTD LIDTA Principal
Kelly-Marie was born and bred right here in Berkshire, with an early start to classes when she was just 3 years old at Lubrek School of Dancing in Slough. She continued to train under excellent teachers in all genres of dance and had many successes including becoming a finalist at Miss Dance of Great Britain and reaching the All England Dance Finals on numerous occasions, notably receiving a bronze medal for her solo at the age of 7.
Kelly-Marie balanced her academic studies with dance training and was able to achieve outstanding academic results. However she chose to follow her passion for dance and was awarded a scholarship place at London Studio Centre where she trained in Musical Theatre.
After several years dancing and choreographing professionally, Kelly-Marie was asked to cover a friends class. She discovered a passion for teaching and decided to re-train as an ISTD teacher in both Modern Theatre and Tap Dance. She passed all her teaching qualifications with distinctions, including 98% for her Modern Certificate in Dance Education, during this time Kelly-Marie worked in events and marketing for a corporate company as well as teaching in many dance schools, including The Susan Handy School of Dancing, in order to learn the skills she would need to run and manage a school of her own. Rather than stopping with the required teaching qualifications, Kelly-Marie felt she wanted to achieve the highest dance teaching qualification, equivalent to a Masters degree and went on to achieve phenomenal results. She received distinctions for her Licentiate and Fellowship qualifications with the ISTD making her the one of the few people trained to the very highest level with the ISTD. Kelly-Marie completed all of her teaching qualifications at The Linda Sweetzer Teacher Training College.
Kelly-Marie has been teaching for over 18 years, working along side various Performing Arts Schools, Dance Schools, full-time Theatre Schools and Colleges, including Head of Dance at Redroofs Theatre School for the performing arts on the full-time programme, spending over 13 years at the school. She will soon be delivering classes at The Jackie Palmer School. She has a 100% exam success rate, with the majority of students gaining distinctions.
Kelly-Marie has a passion for Jazz, Modern and Tap dance and enjoys choreographing within these genres. She has had countless successful students working in the industry from TV to Film, Theatre and radio during their time at Azure Theatre School, numerous students go on to gain scholarships at full time theatre schools and colleges and many go on to become successful performers, Kelly-Marie has trained International competition level students, finalists of the ISTD Ballets Awards, ISTD Janet Cram Awards and ISTD Star Tap Awards
Kelly-Marie founded Azure Theatre School in December 2007, and has successfully grown it so that it now has almost 500 pupils across four centres. She was also runner up in The Dance Teacher Hub, Dance Teacher of the year in 2015, as well as Dance School of the Year finalist in 2017 and 2018, and winner of the Foxy Deer Awards in the best school and education category in 2018. She is enormously proud of her pupils' achievements, and looks forward to the exciting future of Azure Theatre School.
Angela started dancing at the age of three and within a few years was spending all her spare time at The Margaret Dixon School of Dancing in Sutton. Between the ages of six and 20, she performed in many different local amateur and professional stage productions, including 14 years with The Carshalton Pantomime Company and four years with The Torch Theatre Company. She achieved ISTD Advanced 1 Qualifications in Imperial Classical Ballet, Modern Theatre and Tap Dance.
Angela then went to University to pursue something completely different and attained a MEng Degree in Civil Engineering with Distinction!
After giving up work to bring up her two boys, she trained to become a qualified dance teacher with The Linda Sweetzer Teacher Training College. She has successfully completed her Licentiate in Imperial Classical Ballet and Diploma in Dance Education (DDE) in Modern Theatre Dance. She loves teaching dance to students of all ages, from pre-school right up to adults, and believes everyone should be able to share the love of dance.
Ashleigh trained at The Runnymede School of Dancing from the age of 3 in Imperial Classical Ballet, ISTD Modern, ISTD Tap and Jazz. She then went onto complete a BTEC extended diploma in Performing Arts (DANCE) at college where she developed her love for choreography and teaching. Ashleigh completed her DDI teaching qualification in Modern Theatre at The Linda Sweetzer Teacher Training College.
Ashleigh has grown as a teacher and choreographer under the guidance of Miss Kelly, and is integral in the development of performance pieces for shows, competitions and performances. She is also part of the adult teaching team, alongside doing her ISTD syllabus work and being the stage school dance teacher and choreographer.
Ashleigh has also developed her role as a key member of the Azure Theatre School office. She manages the day to day running of the school, from uniform to logistics and has become paramount to the success and development of the school.
Ashleigh has been with Azure for 6 years now and enjoys every second.
Vicki trained as a professional actress before turning to presenting and has experience in both stage and screen acting as well as live and recorded television.
She understands the needs of an actor as well as the importance of confidence and drama skills in everyday life.
Her teaching experience has involved working with children from year 3 to year 13, in a variety of environments from mainstream schools to specialised drama schools, team building workshops and private lessons.
Vicki has taught AQA, Edexcel and WJEC GCSE and A-Level Drama as well as LAMDA and Trinity boards of Speech and Drama.
After having her three daughters, Vicki decided to broaden her skills by studying for an English Literature degree with the Open University. This has proven to be especially beneficial with the increased percentage of written content within the GCSE and A Level syllabuses.
She now runs classes and workshops for individuals and large groups with a variety of abilities and requirements. Many of her students either have a career in the acting industry or wish to pursue opportunities such as the National Youth theatre or full- time drama school.
Vicki stays up to date with the ever-changing professional Industry and works with a regular group of actors, supporting their preparation for castings and professional engagements.
She prides herself in building confidence in students as well as nurturing and challenging young talent.
Josh has been dancing since the age of three, starting with latin and ballroom then progressing to jazz, contemporary, tap, ballet and hip hop.
At the age of 15 he became one of the youngest people ever to win the UK Hip Hop Championships and then the World Hip Hop Championships which led to him touring different countries teaching workshops and performing at some of the greatest theatres and venues in the world.
Following this success he gained a full scholarship to attend the Urdang Academy London where he graduated with a Diploma in Professional Musical Theatre and Dance.
After working on UK tours, European tours and professional shows Josh moved into the world of teaching and found it to be his next passion.
Sophie started dancing at The Susan Handy School of Dancing at the age of 4, before going on to Stagecoach at the age of 6 where she first met Miss Kelly.
Sophie transferred to become one of the first pupils at Azure Theatre School when it was founded in 2007, and went on to achieve her ISTD Intermediate Modern and Tap Qualifications. She then studied for a 2-year BTEC Performing Arts course at Redroofs Theatre School and also completed her DDI Modern and Tap teaching qualifications.
Sophie loves singing and performing, and has been involved in many local performances, including performing at the Wycombe Swan and the Hexagon Theatre. She began assisting for Miss Kelly when she was 15, and has now become a very popular, well-loved teacher for Azure. Recently she has also worked as stage manager for several local productions at the Desborough Suite, and has recently completed a 3-year Stage Management course in Birmingham.
Chantelle has been dancing and performing since she was 3 years old and over the years has performed in numerous dance school shows as well as four pantomimes and two shows with the Russian ballet.
She has achieved her ISTD Diploma in Dance Instruction in Tap and Modern.
Chantelle has also started running her own dance school called CC Dance School which is located in Hayes and is enjoying working for herself as well as Azure Theatre School.
Miss Aimee has been dancing since she was three. She trained in Ballet, Tap and Modern Dance with the Jeannine Greville Dance Academy up to 18 years of age. From there she went on to take her teaching qualifications in Tap and Modern at the Linda Sweetzer Teacher Training college. She has 9 years experience teaching Ballet, Tap and Modern across Berkshire, Oxon and Surrey. She now teaches full time classes for students aged 2 through to adults and graded classes up to Advanced 2.
Charlotte started discovering her passion for Musical Theatre at the age of 12 at Stagecoach. She was a founding student at Azure Theatre School in December 2007 and studied Modern, Tap and Musical Theatre. During her time at Azure she also studied A-level Dance, BTEC Dance and A-level Drama at Strodes College in Egham.
Her final show with Azure Theatre School was Peter Pan where she played the part of Wendy. She then left Azure to go to De Montfort University to study a Performing Arts Degree BA (Hons) and gained a 2:1.
Charlotte helped backstage with the next few Azure productions backstage, assisting with costume, props and looking after the children she decided just couldn’t leave again! She is now teaching Drama, Musical Theatre, Ballet, Tap & Modern classes, and has been with us for 5 years now.
Courtney has been dancing since she was 3 years old with a local dance school in Buckinghamshire studying ISTD Tap, Modern and Jazz, RAD Ballet and Street Dance. Courtney made her mark when she achieved her ISTD advanced 2 tap exam at an exceptionally young age.
Courtney used her dance skills along side her training in figure skating, and began her teaching career as a figure skating coach, which she has now done for the best part of a decade.
In addition to this, Courtney has extensive experience in teaching dance, at her own school in St Albans and a variety of local schools.
Courtney has attained her ISTD DDI teaching qualification in tap at The Linda Sweetzer Teacher Training College.
Vicky Ellen has been studying dance since she was three, starting with ballet and continuing with jazz, contemporary, tap and commercial dance. Although she started singing and acting at a later age of 14 she discovered a passion for all three disciplines and wanted to explore them all three disciplines further. She went on to complete a BTEC extended diploma in Performing Arts (DANCE) at Amersham and Wycombe College, before continuing with a pre-vocational course at Bird College. She was then awarded a Dance and Drama Award to study at Millennium Performing Arts and graduated with a 1st class honours in Musical Theatre. She has had many performing opportunities including High School Musical with the company Songtime, Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty Pantomimes with Qdos Entertainment, many shows with Suzanne’s School of Dance at the Beck Theatre, Wildlife, Millennium Performing Arts Yearly Show. She has also choreographed and performed as a dancer with Emerald Kitty Entertainment. Vicky Ellen then appeared in Futunity UK’s show as a ‘special guest’ artist performing a contemporary solo she choreographed. Most recently she has played the lead role of Puss in boots, with Partytime productions touring UK pantomime. Alongside her performing she also teaches various disciplines, including Ballet, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Street Dance and Tap with many schools in and around London. Vicky loves to share her passion with students and watching her students improve and grow inspires her daily.
Taylor Walker, a former pupil of Miss Kelly, trained at the Urdang Academy, London as a scholarship student until 2016. Following this Taylor successfully auditioned for and performed in We Will Rock You, Grease the musical, Creative workshop for Officer and a Gentleman, Scrooge the Musical and Matilda the UK Tour.
We are lucky enough to have Taylor spend time at Azure Theatre School in between his professional performing contracts, and other teaching commitments at leading performing arts schools in the UK. Taylor has developed choreography for Azure Theatre School for performances and competitions from solo to ensemble pieces. He also helps students develop technique and strengthen their performance styles in private sessions.
Taylor has a huge passion for this creative industry and has a drive to inspire as many people as possible, and achieve both his and their dreams, because he believes 'dreams become reality with enough hard work and passion'.