Formed in 1983, the Jayne Marie Dancing School gives children throughout Dacorum the chance to learn and enjoy many different types of dancing, as well as gaining the self-confidence which comes from appearing in front of an audience. The school's principal, Jayne Wilson, trained at Norwood Green Academy in West London and Harrison College, Watford, under the expert guidance of Miss Elizabeth Harrison, ISTD fellow and examiner. Jayne has extensive experience with the British Arts Association and is one of its examiners.
Classes are held on most days of the week by Miss Jayne's team of qualified, experienced teachers. At the heart of the school's activities is classical ballet. Children are taught the basic positions and movements from the age of two, progressing through the various grades by examinations until, usually as teenagers, they display all the characteristics of dancers in the country's leading ballet companies. Some children will take 14 years of memories away with them and on to other careers, while others may pursue a place at full-time performers' colleges and perhaps dance and perform professionally.
Although children are encouraged to adopt a disciplined and professional approach to dancing, the school's ethos is that, above all, they should enjoy themselves. They can achieve this in classical ballet, modern, tap, street, contemporary, drama and musical theatre. JMDS offers everything that a full-time stage or performing-arts school can.
Our students learn in groups, but our annual in-house choreography competition enables them to perform on their own or in a duet. For those with a particular aptitude there are categories for character, dramatic art, singing and entertainment. Students can also compete in the annual British Arts Awards competition, culminating in the London finals. JMDS has an excellent record in this national competition. Every year we have several items in the finals, with many winning first place. Several pupils have been placed in the All Round Performer Awards and special awards have been given to pupils with disabilities or learning difficulties.
Miss Jayne has won the coveted British Arts Teacher of the Year award three times, in 1997, 1999 and 2016. She was runner-up in 2004, 2005, 2008 and 2014, and came third in 2007 and 2010. This award is based on the performances of students in competitions and exams. Five times JMDS has won the British Arts trophy for the best show staged by any school over the previous year. In 1993 we won with The Nutcracker, in 1996 and 2006 for our staging of the Wonderful Land of Oz, in 2013 for An Olympic Celebration, and in 2016 for our full-length production of The Sleeping Beauty.