We’ve had more than our fair share of outstanding professional dancers – we’ve had delightful children turn into exemplary adults. Please read their testimonials and stories to give you an insight into the Rutleigh Norris way of tuition.
After Rutleigh Norris, Liam went on to train professionally at the Northern Ballet School in Manchester before moving to Berlin, Germany. There, he started working as a professional dancer at The Friedrichstadt Palast, dancing eight shows a week in front of an audience of 2000 on the largest theatre stage in the world.
After three years and three multi-million high profile shows, Liam is now still in Berlin working as a freelance dancer, choreographer and model with some of the biggest names in the industry and loving every minute of it.
Liam says 'Rutleigh Norris helped shape me into the dancer I am today and I will always be very grateful for the support I was shown there at the start of my dance training'.
I joined Rutleigh Norris as a toddler and continued to be a student and dance at the school until I went onto study Law at The University of Birmingham. I am currently completing my training contract, and will qualify as a Solicitor in September 2017.
My mum tells me that when I initially joined Rutleigh Norris, I used to cry at the thought of attending. However, she tells me that this disinterest was short lived and after a few weeks of attending classes dance, Rutleigh Norris and I became inseparable as Rutleigh Norris became a second home for me.
My time at Rutleigh Norris taught me the importance of discipline, hard work and attention to detail – all key skills that have helped me in my legal career to date. In addition, Rutleigh Norris helped me with body confidence and self-esteem and enabled me to make lifelong friendships – my best friend was my dance partner at Rutleigh Norris!
I look back at my time at Rutleigh Norris and smile – I really enjoyed being part of such an incredible dance school and being surrounded by such wonderful people and teachers.
I began life as a dancer at the age of 6, training predominantly in Ballet.
At 18 I then went on to train professionally at Laine Theatre Arts in Surrey, one of the top Musical Theatre colleges in the UK, from where many people go on to work in the West End, on Broadway and in various contracts around the world.
There I trained in Ballet, Tap, Jazz, contemporary, modern, singing and acting.
I then went on to further my education at Guildford School of Acting where I received a First Class Honours degree in Theatre.
I have since gone on to work in professional musicals, pantomimes, concerts and Television commercials.
I came to Rutleigh Norris aged 8, determined to become a professional dancer when I was older. Throughout my youth, I was pushed to achieve my very best, and given so many opportunities to flourish, both as a dancer and as a person.
Being encouraged to attend external workshops built my dance repertoire, performing on stage to crowds of up to 2000 people developed my confidence, and the supportive environment of the dance studio gave this once very shy little girl the chance to make lifelong friends.
At University, I studied Modern Languages; the grounding in French which I received from my Ballet training gave me a good basis in learning other romance languages, and although I did not study French, the vocabulary learned from Ballet has certainly provided me with enough to get by. I studied in Spain and Germany as part of my degree, and joining dance classes in those countries made settling in a lot easier; dance is not bound by language. Whilst studying for my degree, I also undertook the RAD's teacher training programme.
My teachers and colleagues at Rutleigh Norris supported me in both theoretical and practical work: from music theory to anatomy, child psychology to how to teach pointe work. This qualification has served as an excellent enhancement to my CV, providing me with a wealth of experience and knowledge with which to impress employers, as well as a skill for life.
I am currently working in the Careers department at the University of Birmingham, and will begin my Masters studies in Linguistics and Philology at the University of Oxford in October.
Although I no longer aspire to be a professional dancer, the skills I have learned from Ballet at Rutleigh Norris have given me the very best grounding to professional life. The wealth of skills learned is second to none; not just in terms of practical dance, dance theory, music theory, nutrition and anatomy, but social and developmental skills, including the deep self-awareness which only comes through dedicated training with like-minded peers.
The school encourages self-discipline, freedom of expression, focus and socialisation, all in a safe and friendly environment, and any child who attends can only be positively influenced, nurtured and matured by these practices.
I was a student at Rutleigh Norris for 15 years and during that time I not only learned to dance, but I gained valuable experience and skills demonstrating for the younger children and working in the school shop.
After moving away for University and travelling the world, I returned to Rutleigh Norris in 2009 to gain further experience of working with children before I began training as a secondary school teacher.
During my time back at Rutleigh Norris, I returned to dancing, progressing to Advanced Two, completed the CBTS and qualified as a Ballet Teacher in 2013.
Whilst I now longer teach at the school due to work and family commitments (I am now mum to a little boy!), I continue to maintain strong ties with the school, teachers and other alumni, many who have become friends for life. I can't wait to send my little boy to his first Ballet lesson at RNSD!
I started dancing with Mrs Norris aged three in a little white dress with a blue sash, being a butterfly, a soldier, doing mines and stories and learning good and naughty toes. Tuesdays were my favourite day of the week because I had ballet and absolutely loved it.
Over the following 15 years I learnt self confidence and assurance, and to never give up. Mrs Norris taught me how to teach and gave me opportunity to practice and to find my vocation. She had endless patience with me as I was painfully shy, but didn't stop believing in me!
At 18 I got accepted into the RAD graduating three years later with BA(Hons) in ballet education and my LRAD. Without Mrs Norris' guidance and encouragement I would never have found my love for teaching, and never be where I am today.
Ballet has given me so much, which I am now trying to pass onto my own students: confidence, discipline, strength and integrity and dedication to name a few! I even still use Mrs Norris' words and sayings when teaching my students!
Having taught in the Middle East, London and Germany and in the final year of the RAD's masters in teaching course, my dreams have come true. Finally running my own school and training to become an examiner are next on the list!
Thank you Mrs Norris for giving me the passion for dance and dance teaching which is now my career!
I have known Edwina Norris for over 30 years. I was taken under her wing after my previous teacher had to retire due to ill health. I remember standing nervously waiting to go in and she ushered me in as if I'd always been there. I have fond memories of many hours spent in cold halls in Moseley, starting our classes at 8am!
Show times were always our favourite times - the performance was obviously the high point, but this was only coupled with the 'extras' of sleeping in Edwina's caravan on her drive; grand jeté-ing down Alcester high street between shows etc etc. Many happy memories!
Whilst at Rutleigh Norris I learned many skills, like how to make a flower arrangement using paper doilies (a skill I shall never forget), how to make tuna sandwich last a whole day, how to teach for lengthy periods of time without going to the toilet! So many to mention!
I qualified as a RAD teacher in 1993 and taught with Edwina for many years and have since now gone on to build and develop my own successful dance school. Without Edwina's guidance this would not have happened.
I would like to wish Edwina a very long and happy retirement.
We love hearing about what you’ve done since your time with us. Please do come back and visit us or send us an email to keep us updated.