Nina Thompson

Principal A.I.S.T.D. R.A.D. Reg. I.D.T.A. Hons.

Nina started her career as a professional dancer at the Grand Theatre Wolverhampton in Robinson Crusoe in 1973, she did a further two consecutive Pantomimes and a tour, with this company.

Nina then joined the Night and Day Ballet Company, in Belgium. she spent a year travelling with the company before branching out into musical theatre, working with many famous people like Jimmy Tarbuck, Lionel Blair, Russ Abbott & Dionne Warwick to name a few. During these years she was lucky enough to travel extensively around the world, and worked with some amazing choreographers. It was during a summer season in Jersey Nina met her husband Ron who was also in show business, after working together for a short while, they eventually settled in Wimborne. They have two boys Scott and Adam.

Thirty years ago Nina started teaching in this area, and opened Footlight 28 years ago, since then the school has gone from strength to strength.

Nina completed her qualifications holding, the R.A.D. teaching diploma. A.I.S.T.D. associate diploma, IDTA Hons. Continuing her professional development she recently attended Chichester University to update her on child psychology, anatomy and teaching methodology. She also studied a short course in child psychology at the Royal Ballet School, Covent Garden.

Nina has been asked to be a mentor for RAD teacher qualifications and honored to receive life membership of the Royal Academy of Dance, for her commitment and exceptional services to the ballet industry.

Nina’s professional credits as a producer and director include the highly successful Tivoli pantomime for the past 7 years and the Weymouth Pavilion pantomime for the past 3 years, working alongside her husband’s theatrical management company.

"Nina is just the best she loves all of her pupils and encourages us to do our best and is always smiling and kind"
Faith aged 10
"Nina is very experienced and knows dancing better than anyone"
Luke aged 15
"Nina gave me confidence to believe in myself & now I'm not afraid to try anything"
Emma aged 11
"Nina is fun, smiley and very nice she makes me work hard but it's really fun"
Holly aged 8
"Nina is such a influential figure to me, she knows exactly what she is talking about from her own dance background, safely teaching us how to dance whilst directing the other dance teachers in a professional way to get the best out of all of her pupils. She has really brought out the best in my dancing over the years"
Natalie aged 19
"Nina is amazing I love her ballet lessons. If my friends came to footlight they would say" can I go there for the rest of my life, can I go there for the rest of my life?"
Anna aged 6

Leanne Dade

Manager & Dance Teacher RAD RTS ISTD DDE

Leanne was born and raised in Poole, Dorset. She began her dance training at the tender age of 5 studying at Footlight Performance Academy under the tuition of Nina Thompson, where she studied Ballet, Tap, Modern, Jazz, Musical Theatre.

Leanne’s qualifications include Certificate in Ballet Teaching Studies (CBTS) with the Royal Academy of Dance and Diploma in Dance Education (DDE) with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dance in both Tap Dance and Modern Theatre and more recently training with Darcey Bussell to become a qualified instructor with DDMIX (Diverse Dance Mix).

Leanne has many credits as a professional choreographer including 7 pantomimes with Ron Martin Management and Born 2 Perform and several productions at the Lighthouse Poole, working all around Dorset.

Teaching is Leanne’s real passion, which she now has 13 years experience, whether it’s working with the babies Fabulous Feet, which she created the syllabus for, or working with the senior students preparing them for professional life. Leanne is always keen to keep upto date with teaching methods to ensure she is the best teacher she can possibly be and every year completes many hours of CPD.

“Leanne inspires me and I just want to be a dance teacher like her, lovely, clever and most of all a brilliant teacher”
Faith aged 10
"Leanne is the best dancing teacher I have in my life! She makes me very happy"
Holly aged 8
"Leanne is fabulous and, as well as being very talented, is brilliant in instilling a confidence in students from a very young age"
Emma aged 18
“Leanne is an inspirational teacher, she has shown me that with hard work and dedication you can get to where you want to be. Without Leanne my experience at footlight would not be the same, so I would like to say a big thank you to her. Xx”
Charlotte aged 13

Julie Wathen

Head of Tap, ISTD Ballet Qualified A.I.S.T.D

With thirty years’ experience of teaching Dance locally, Julie was Principal of Colehill Dance School for over ten years (now part of Footlight Performance Academy) and has been teaching for Footlight since 2006.

Passionate about Tap Dance, Julie has built up the Tap Faculty of the school to a very high standard, offering students the chance of extra-curricular training, as well as coaching them through ISTD exams up to Advanced level.

Together with her Daughter, Sophie (England Tap Team Member for 5 years) Julie has developed Footlight’s ‘Talented Tappers’ programme encouraging keen Tap Dancers from the age of 5 upwards to develop their Tap knowledge and improve their performance skills. Older pupils learn also about the History of Tap Dance, take part in extra performance opportunities and enter competitions.

Julie also runs Footlight Performance Academy’s Tap Squad – where our most confident and proficient Tap Dancers host regular Displays, Workshops and Showcases, leading the school through challenging, innovative routines. Julie says “Rhythms are everywhere, listen to the world around you and let your feet respond. Challenge yourself to invent new steps, be bold, be original, be creative! ”

“Julie is a kind teacher who helps you get things right and gives you extra tips on how to get better. I like Julie's smile”
Isabelle aged 10
“Julie is my favourite tap teacher. She believes in me and has given me lots of opportunities”
Charlotte age 9
“Julie has really brought the tap dancing standard of the school up to a high level, constantly finding new rhythms, exercises and choreography ideas, you will not find a more passionate tap teacher!”
Natalie aged 19
“Julie is one of the best tap dancers and teachers I know with great ideas, skills and choreography”
Will aged 15
“Juile is incredibly hardworking and lovely and always endeavors to get the best out of every student”
Emma aged 18

Lizzie Frances

BA (HONS) Acting and Musical Theatre –Drama Coach


Lizzie is a professional Actor, Director and Drama teacher who has numerous West End, UK No 1 touring and Pantomime credits to her name.

She trained with the prestigious National Youth Theatre and the Birmingham School of Speech and Drama.

Lizzie was the Deputy principal for SPATS theatre school in Surrey where she taught lessons in Acting, Musical Theatre and Public Speaking.

Lizzie trained under LAMDA examiner and adjudicator John Hester and has since taught LAMDA to private pupils with a 100% pass rate at Merit and Distinction. Lizzie has successfully prepared pupils for drama festivals and has secured places for many of her students at top London drama schools.

Lizzie has written and directed numerous youth theatre productions, films and summer schools. Lizzie lives in Bournemouth with her husband Paul and her children Tilly and Teddy.

www.lizziefrances.com


Louise Morgan

Performing Arts and Dance Teacher


Louise began her training at the young age of 4, studying at Footlight Peformance Academy under the tuition of Nina Thompson. There she studied Ballet, Tap, Modern, Pointe Work and Performing Arts.

Louise has performed many productions with the academy, also playing main roles in numerous shows over the past 18 years.

Working professionally for Ron Martin Management and Born 2 Perform, Louise appeared as Dance Captain in Snow White and Dick Whittington pantomimes at The Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne, as well as being part of the main cast playing The Slave of the Ring in Aladdin at The Tivoli Theatre and The Pavilion Theatre, Weymouth.

Louise has studied dance full time gaining her BTEC Diploma in Dance at Poole College. She currently works in a local nursery where she gained her Level 3 in Children and Young People's Workforce.


Nicky Stevens

Singing Coach


Nicky Stevens is a classically trained singer and musician, born in Carmarthen South Wales. From an early age she worked as a professional cabaret artist at home and abroad supporting famous stars such as Norman Wisdom and Neil Sedaka.

It was in 1972 that she met three people who changed her life. Together they formed the Eurovision song contest winners Brotherhood of Man, who won the contest in 1976 with Save Your Kisses for Me. The song became No 1 in 33 different countries. Following on with two more No 1 hits, Angelo and Figaro and a string of top twenty hits and five hit albums, Nicky and her colleagues have earned 26 Platinum, Gold and Silver discs each plus numerous awards.

Nicky and the group performed at the Queens Silver Jubilee Command Performance in 1977 and have topped the bill in almost every Theatre / Concert Hall in the U.K. including The London Palladium and The Royal Albert Hall. They have literally performed all around the world in T.V Concerts and Cabaret and this year celebrate forty years together.

Recently she completed writing her Autobiography ‘The Road to Eurovision and Beyond’