Alexandra started dancing and performing at the age of four at the Denise Robinson School of Dance in the West Midlands. At the age of 15, Alexandra joined the junior associate course at the West Street School, Covent Garden before joining the full-time course at 16. After leaving West Street, she completed her dance training at the Manorleigh Academy of Classical Ballet graduating with a Performer’s Diploma (Honours) and ISTD Intermediate Ballet, Advanced Modern and Advanced National, all with honours, and LAMDA’s gold medal for the speaking of verse and prose.
Over her years of training, Alexandra was taught by Dame Alicia Markova, Anita Young, Judy Maden, Anne Heaton and John Field. After graduating, Alexandra spent a short period in New York at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre School and has worked as an extra in television commercials. Alexandra joined Chelsea Ballet in 2006 and is a performer and community performance coordinator. Alexandra currently teaches an adult ballet class and is studying to be a dance notator with the Benesh Institute.
Alice started going to ballet class when she was two-and-a-half, and has been more or less dancing ever since. Growing up near Hull, she trained in ballet, tap and modern. Over the years she has performed in numerous dance competitions and musical productions including Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Chorus Line, Les Miserables, Chicago and Guys and Dolls. After a two year break from dancing whilst at university, Alice re-discovered ballet at Dance City in Newcastle upon Tyne, which she attended for a number of years before moving to London in 2006. Alice passed the RAD Intermediate exam in July 2010 and is currently studying RAD Advanced 1. Ultimately she hopes to pass her Advanced 2 and become an associate of the RAD.
Alice joined Chelsea Ballet in 2008 and has appeared in Napoli, La Bayadère, Cinderella, Seasons, Le Corsaire, Impressions of Inuaysha and as a soloist in Paquita both in London and Bristol.
Atsuko had dreamt of being a ballet dancer ever since she was a young girl and, in her 30s, she finally made her dream come true. She fell instantly in love with ballet and has been enjoying daily lessons ever since. Ballet has truly changed her life, turning her from an office worker to a pilates instructor and massage therapist.
Since joining Chelsea Ballet in 2007 Atsuko has enjoyed performing on the stage and in the community shows. Her repertory includes The Dying Swan, Odette’s variation from Swan Lake (Act II), Medora from Le Corsaire (Act III), Prelude from Les Sylphides, Princess Aurora’s variations from The Sleeping Beauty (Acts I & III), variations from Paquita, Gamzatti’s Variation from La Bayadère (Act I), Giselle’s variation (Act I) and the Pas de Deux from Giselle (Act II).
Dance has been part of Cassandra’s life since the age of four when she joined a local ballet school. After gaining a degree in Creative Arts, she studied mime and mask work, before touring Europe performing commedia dell arte. Cassandra became a mother, but the desire to dance was still there and in 1991 she joined Chelsea ballet where she found a friendly group of people with a passion for ballet. As well as all the dancing she has designed and made costumes for the company, which helped her get work as a professional costumier.
Cassandra choreographed Impressions of Inuyasha, which the company has performed on a number of occasions, as well as Taming of the Shrew, a pas de deux which is a much loved staple of the community performances.
Claire was born in Essex and started training at a local RAD school when she was four-years-old. She trained to Elementary (now Intermediate) standard, but when she was told that she “wouldn’t make it as a dancer” and to train further would mean travelling to London for more expensive exams, she decided her future lay elsewhere.
When marriage brought her to London, a desire to keep fit found her taking up ballet at a local evening class. A friend had recently joined Chelsea Ballet and she convinced Claire to “have a go” as well. Claire now considers the close knit, friendly and supportive group of great friends at Chelsea Ballet to be her extended family.
Since joining Chelsea Ballet Claire has danced some fantastic roles including a fairy and the Queen from The Sleeping Beauty; the Countess and a Wili in Giselle; a friend in Coppélia; a swan in Swan Lake; and many more fabulous roles in a great number of performances.
Diana started dancing and performing at the age of five. When she was nine-years-old she was accepted for the Vietnam national seven-year professional dancer training course. There she trained in ballet, modern, historical, folk, jazz, character and traditional Vietnamese dance. Diana completed the first five years of the training course thanks to a bursary for “excellent” dance students from the Vietnamese government. At the end of her fifth year, Diana was nominated by her ballet teacher to go on to train for a teaching qualification on completion of the course. However, a move to the UK put that plan on hold and in the transition period after her move Diana stopped dancing for two years.
Diana is now looking forward to taking her RAD Advanced 1 ballet exam at the end of the year. Her aspiration is to one day complete Solo Seal level and become a qualified ballet teacher as well as an occasional performer.
She has taken part in many musicals as a dancer before joining Chelsea Ballet.
In her early teens, Fiona took ballet lessons for a few months and passed several examinations. However, moving to London and working in BBC Television put a stop to any further dancing due to the extremely unsociable hours.
Many years later, having left the BBC, Fiona was able to start ballet again. She found a very good teacher in Cornwall and thoroughly enjoyed taking part in several dance shows at The Hall for Cornwall in Truro.
After her husband’s work commitments meant a return to London, Fiona continued with ballet classes, eventually finding out about Chelsea Ballet and was delighted when she was asked to join. With Chelsea Ballet Fiona has found a way to fulfil one of her lifelong dreams and be part of a wonderful company who share her love of ballet.
Joan started ballet classes at the age of three, but stopped when she was seven years old due to a scary and demanding teacher and her playful instinct. However, she continued to dance in school competitions and performances in jazz, Chinese dance, folk dance and contemporary until her university life. She picked up ballet again in 2008 and joined Chelsea Ballet in 2010. In 2011, Joan gained her IDTA Ballet Teaching Associate Diploma and is now a qualified IDTA theatre branch teacher. She currently teaches a group of children between 8 and 12 ballet once a week.
In addition to dance, Joan is also a student instructor of Pilates Reformer classes. She is working towards completing her teaching hours and the final qualification examination. She enjoys seeing adults who find their own bodies in Pilates.
Joan finds her own self in doing dance and body movement works. She has been grateful to dance with Chelsea Ballet. Being outspoken does not come natural to her, but she finds her comfort in Chelsea Ballet and being on stage.
Katrina is a full time translator/ manager and a fully qualified ballet teacher (IDTA Associate). She has been with Chelsea Ballet since 2001, in which time she has danced some fantastic roles and made some friends for life.
Katrina is also acts as assistant to the director and has participated in, taught at and helped to run Chelsea Ballet’s summer schools. She staged the whole of Act III from Napoli in Richmond in July 2007 and Act III from Paquita at the same venue at Christmas 2009. Trying to get 25 people to fulfil her vision was often stressful, but ultimately rewarding.
Her performance roles with Chelsea Ballet have included Swanhilda (Act I), Work, Dawn and Dance of the Hours from Coppélia; Kagura from Impressions of Inuyasha (a role specially created for her); pas de six and tarantella from Napoli; Mercedes (Act I) from Don Quixote; cupid variation and pas de trios from Paquita; The Girl from The Bracelet; cygnet, fiancée, waltz and pas de quatre from Swan Lake; autumn, fairy and guest from Cinderella; Moyna, Zulme and villager from Giselle; Fairy of the Crystal Fountain, Princess Florine, Aurora (Act III variation), White Cat, Red Riding Hood, Aurora’s friend, jewelled fairy, lilac fairy attendant and nymph from The Sleeping Beauty; Clara’s (male) cousin, snowflake, mirliton and Waltz of the Flowers from The Nutcracker; and frostflake, snowdrop and vodka-swigging peasant from The Snow Maiden. Katrina has also danced solos from La Bayadère, Les Sylphides, Raymonda and Don Quixote, as well as group pieces such as Palladio, Pas de Déesses, Bach Concerto, Waltz Ballerinas, The Gathering and Pas de Valse. She as toured to Ireland, Bristol and Barcelona with the company.
Katrina is tremendously grateful to Chelsea Ballet for giving her the opportunity to dance this repertoire, which as a teenager she could never have imagined performing, especially at her nadir when she appeared on stage as a cabbage leaf. However, while she has enjoyed all these parts, her ultimate ambition is still to be a duck.
Laura started dancing in Sussex when she was very little and all she ever wanted to do was dance. In her teens, she was accepted full time to The Corona Academy of Theatre Arts in Hammersmith and after graduating tried to make her way in the tough dance world. After several injuries, she swapped dance for the fashion trade and now runs a textile agency with her husband.
Laura joined Chelsea Ballet in 2005 and it has changed her life. She has danced in Giselle, Swan Lake, Coppélia, The Sleeping Beauty, Napoli, La Bayadère, Paquita and pieces choreographed by other Chelsea Ballet members as well as many community performances. Laura enjoys every moment and feels privileged to dance each and every role.
Michelle started dancing aged four years old at The McKee Ballet School in Liverpool. After a few years break and lots of gymnastics, she re-engaged with dance at Bluebell Studios and worked her way through ISTD examinations in ballet, modern and tap. Aged 15, she returned to The McKee Ballet School and shortly afterwards to Dance Art Studio. Here, under the watchful eyes of Gaynor and Freddie Zwaagstra, she embarked upon the RAD ballet syllabus whilst dipping in and out of jazz and contemporary dance classes.
In 1997 she moved from Liverpool to study psychology at the University of Manchester and kept up with her ballet both in Liverpool and at Northern Ballet School’s RAD classes. After graduating she took a Postgraduate Certificate in Education in teaching English and returned to Liverpool as a secondary school teacher. Back at Dance Art Studio she passed her RAD Advanced 1 before deciding it would make sense to also qualify as a dance teacher. Alongside her job as an English teacher she trained part time as a ballet teacher with the RAD, supported by her teachers at Dance Art Studio.
Keen to then fulfil an ambition to merge her psychology and teaching experience, Michelle trained as an educational psychologist at Bristol University. Since 2006 she has been a practicing educational psychologist in London and attended three ballet classes a week. One of her proudest moments was in 2007 when she passed her Advanced 2 and became an associate of the RAD.
Michelle discovered Chelsea Ballet in 2008 and has thoroughly enjoyed dancing with such a dedicated and passionate group of dancers in several ballets, including Cinderella, Paquita and Impressions of Inyuasha. She was delighted to have been able to choreograph Palladio for the company in 2010 and hopes to choreograph more pieces in the future.
Noriko was born in Japan and moved to London in her 20s to study fine art. Noriko took up ballet as an adult to keep fit, but quickly became more fascinated by the artistic side.
Before joining Chelsea Ballet, Noriko regularly attended adult education classes for six years and completed the Accredited Dance and Drama Programme and IDTA Intermediate Ballet. Chelsea Ballet gives Noriko the perfect opportunity to keep fit and explore the body’s potential for artistic expression in an encouraging and friendly setting.
Since joining the company, she has danced numerous roles including Red Riding Hood, Canary Fairy, nymph and Aurora’s friend from The Sleeping Beauty; cygnet, large swan and pas de trios from Swan Lake; peasant and Wili from Giselle; Clara, snowflake and mirliton from The Nutcracker; Taresina from Napoli; pas de quatre from La Bayadère; odalisque and pas de deux from Le Corsaire; soloist in Paquita; and principal in Waltz Ballerinas.
Nyuszi attended her first ballet class at the age of six in her home country of Taiwan. She took up ballet to improve her posture but soon developed a love of dancing and performing. She dreamt of being a professional dancer, but cultural pressure led her to pursue a more academic career. Not to be deterred, Nyuszi studied fashion and expressed her love of ballet through her designs at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. Nyuszi is now a freelance fashion and costume designer. Her label, TsuMetamorphosis, uses ballet themes to provide the ultimate feminine style.
Although not able to pursue a career in ballet, Nyuszi continued to dance. She now regularly attends ballet classes with Jean-Pascal Cabardos, as well as classes at Danceworks, and practices yoga to help maintain her flexibility.
Nyuszi joined Chelsea Ballet in 2010 and immediately fell in love with the company. She had finally found a platform to showcase her training and a group of people who shared her passion. Nyuszi enjoys every performance opportunity she gets with Chelsea Ballet, especially the community performances. It is through these that she has seen first hand the therapeutic benefits of music and dance.
Reiko joined Chelsea Ballet in 2003. Her repertory includes the Hungarian dance, Russian dance and Odette from Swan Lake; Prayer and Swanhilda from Coppélia; Medora from Le Corsaire; Pas de Quatre from the Romantic era; and Sylph from La Sylphide. Reiko works as a certified Gyrotonic instructor (www.reikomori.com).
Roy was initially a gymnast. As part of his training, he had to study the work of Laban and decided to find out more by enrolling for classes at a dance school in Winchester. Six months later he discovered that he was in fact learning ballet having never even seen a ballet before. He won a scholarship to study at the Brooking Cecchetti School in London where he was trained by Nesta Brooking, Roger Tully, John Raven and Joyce Graham.
Roy has worked as a dancer since the early 1960s with several classical companies and also in concert and cabaret. His first job was with the Peter Brinson offshoot of the Royal Ballet called “Ballet For All” whose purpose was to explain to professional athletes how dancers warm up their bodies in order to avoid injuries. As well as ballet, Roy has worked commercially in musicals and films.
After retiring from dancing and taking a 14 year break from performing, Roy joined Chelsea Ballet in 2004.
Sally joined Chelsea Ballet many years ago when it was part of the Chelsea and Westminster Adult Education Institute and, apart from a ten year break when she was working out of town, has been a member ever since.
Ballet has been Sally’s hobby all her life and during her career in theatre she worked as general manager for Harold King’s City Ballet of London.
She continues to enjoy performing with Chelsea Ballet whenever possible and, using her publicity skills, helps to promote the company when necessary. When not dancing, Sally is a theatre casting director and a freelance PA, administrator and producer in theatre.
Sharon has been dancing on and off since she was seven, at both Chichester School of Dance and Arabesque School of Dance, and taken part in numerous shows and festivals whilst still at school. As well as ballet, Sharon studied modern, jazz, classical Greek and a little bit of tap, which she quickly gave up thanks to a fear of slipping over in her tap shoes.
When she reached sixth form, Sharon had to choose between music and dancing and she chose music. She graduated from the University of Surrey with a music degree and promptly started working in a bookshop.
Sharon joined Chelsea Ballet in 2004, which was a bit of a shock to the system having not danced at all in seven years. With a little bit of persuasion, and a lot of sore toes, she has danced in Swan Lake (her favourite), Giselle, The Nutcracker, Coppèlia, Bayadère, Paquita and a variety of shorter pieces. She has also performed in Bristol, Ireland and on the Lilian Baylis stage at Sadler’s Wells, as well as Chelsea Ballet’s usual London venues.
In 2007 Sharon went back to university to study diagnostic radiography and graduated in 2010 with a first class degree. She is now working in a London teaching hospital. Sharon spends nearly every free moment taking class, rehearsing or watching ballet and, although it means she never gets quite enough sleep, she can’t imagine doing anything else.
Stuart started dancing in his late teens, more out of curiosity than anything else, before the bug bit him permanently. His first classes were at the Eastbourne Academy of Dancing and he continued to take classes whilst at university and other locations as and where work took him. He now takes classes at the Le Serve School of Ballet and Theatre Dance in Worthing where he has taken various exams over the years. It was here that there were more opportunities to perform and that he was first able to do some pas de deux work.
His only other dance style has been classical Greek, in which he has taken three major exams with Kay Ball at the Redhurst School of Dancing. He continues to support the school by helping out front of house at their productions.
Stuart was introduced to Chelsea Ballet by a fellow student from Morley College where he took classes for many years under Celia Johnson. Stuart wishes he had found the company sooner because it has given him the opportunity to perform without having to do it for a living. The ethos of “no stars” and everyone helping to run the group engenders a great, friendly atmosphere which Stuart is pleased to be part of.
Stuart has had the opportunity to dance in a great variety of ballets and roles with Chelsea Ballet, from the classical The Sleeping Beauty to the humorous Taming of the Shrew. Stuart also finds being able to dance pas de deux work with a great variety of partners immensely satisfying.
Along with Alexandra Lowe, Stuart co-ordinates the Chelsea Ballet community performances.