As a parent of a student and a student myself of The Island Dance Theatre Company. I would like to express my thoughts and feelings as to why I feel the IDTC deserve the award of Dance School of the Year.
The support they give their students, and the parents alike, is outstanding. They go above and beyond for us all. Whenever we need them, they will do all they can to help. They make everyone feel so welcomed and they never discriminate, whether it would be age, race, sexuality, disability or size, they treat everyone with the same tender love and care and respect.
When my daughter Tegan, began dancing with the IDTC, she was an extremely shy 7-year-old. Due to the after effects of contracting Meningitis when she was 2, she was left with extremely poor balance and would fall over constantly and could not comprehend what anyone was saying to her. With the help of Linda and Charlotte, their gentle caring nature and their copious amounts of patience, encouragement and emotional support, Tegan has grown into a beautiful outgoing 18-year-old dancer, who now very rarely falls over. Having such wonderful teachers has aspired Tegan to become a dance teacher herself. Tegan passed her GCSE Dance. Thanks to Linda and Charlotte, who have invested a lot of time and money, Tegan is now working towards her teacher’s qualification, which she will complete in December. They have made so many of Tegan’s dreams come true and have given her countless experiences, for example, dancing in Disneyland Paris, Blackpool Tower Ballroom, The London Palladium, Theatre Royal – Drury Lane, Sadlers Wells, Shaftesbury Theatre, Her Majesty’s Theatre are just name a few.
This is where I may sound like I am being a little dramatic, but if it was not for the love and support everyone at IDTC, I could quite possibly not be here, they have been there for my whole family through some incredibly tough times over the years and we owe them so much. Mine and my husband’s poor mental health has made life exceedingly difficult at times for our family and they have always been there to support us and give us encouragement, completely without judgement.
Before I joined the adult musical theatre group, I could not even dream of having the courage to stand on a stage and sing a solo. When I think of myself 11 years ago, my life was completely different; I was a completely different person. I hardly went out, I was suicidal, I self-harmed, I was very poorly, having Borderline Personality Disorder and Bipolar made everyday life extremely hard. Meeting Linda and Charlotte, and with them giving me so much love and support, having the singing to concentrate on rather than destructive behaviours. Like everyone I have bad days, so when I do, I quite often call one of them or visit them and within minutes they have me smiling, laughing and feeling safe. They are truly remarkable human beings. These are just some of our family’s first-hand experiences.
Their love for all students and their parents has really shone through, especially this last 5 months. They have truly been a lifeline to many of us throughout this pandemic. They have provided food parcels for anyone who has been in need, shopped for families who have had to shield, every day at 2pm we had Singalong with Charlotte; a song would be picked and lyrics would be posted on Facebook and we would all watch and singalong together, also every day at 7pm we had Disco in the Dining Room and dance together via Facebook live, every Thursday had Tea and Natter via Zoom. Charlotte and Linda also provided dance lessons via Zoom throughout the week. They provided the children with activities, such as activity booklets and designing your own theatre and masks. All the children who Zoomed received a special lockdown rosette and memories scrapbook. The first day allowed back there were no classes, instead all the children who had zoomed came to dance and danced together for the first time in months, children and parents received certificates and the children all received special IDTC lockdown t-shirts. For us all this made these strange and scary times and little easier to live with and feel not so alone and isolated, it gave us all something to look forward to every day (especially the children, who were able to see their friends, albeit through a computer screen).
Everyone here at IDTC all see each other as family. We are there through the good and the bad, the highs and the lows. The love we all have for one another is immeasurable. Two years ago, a vital part of our ‘family’ suddenly passed away; Ken – Linda’s husband, Charlotte’s Father. This was absolutely devastating. At Ken’s wake, The Wight Variety (the school’s adult musical theatre group, who Ken was the founding member) sang for him and showed how much we love him and miss him. There was nothing we could do to ease Linda, Charlotte and their family’s pain, but we wanted to show how much we love them all and let them know we will always be by their sides. The Wight Variety organised a flash mob at the end of that year’s annual show (3 weeks after Ken’s funeral). Apart from singing for Ken at his wake, it was the hardest, saddest, yet most beautiful thing we could have done. We sang I’ll Stand By You by The Pretenders. We arranged for every member of the school and every member of the audience to stand and sing and show them how much they are loved. Group by group people stood and sang, first the Wight Variety, then the students and then every member of the audience. There was not one dry eye in the theatre that night and all our hearts were fit to burst and the love could have filled the Royal Albert Hall a 100 times over.
The school care and support our local community; fund raising for local churches, charities; performing for other social groups, events and residential nursing homes.
The Island Dance and Theatre Company mean so much more than dance and theatre to not just myself and my family, but to every member of the school. Myself, my daughter and every member of my family feel very blessed to be a part of this beautiful family. Love always Vikki Strange xxxx
Well what can I say? The Island Dance and Theatre Company is such a wonderful school. Ive been there since the day they opened their doors and I couldn’t be more grateful. I wouldn’t choose anyone else to learn the arts with. I was such a shy girl, but have now grown with confidence. Miss Charlotte and Miss Linda are the kindest people and treat every pupil the same. They go far from expectations and give us so many opportunities and experiences. We’ve been able to dance in a few different theatres in London. We’ve been and performed at Disneyland Paris a few times and also Blackpool Tower.
We also take exam which really means a lot as you can see how much your hard work pays off and also get an award at the end. Even though a lot of performances had to be cancelled due to Covid-19, that didn’t stop them completely, they do everything they can for their pupils. All through lockdown we had a sing-along at 2 o’clock and then a disco in the dining room at 7 o’clock, so we had something to look forward to each day. They also did Zoom classes for pupils to join which meant the world to me. Its not only a dance school, it’s a dance family, they listen and care for everyone.. The school couldn’t get any better…. Maria xxx
Both my daughters love attending The island Dance and theatre Company every Saturday for their dance lessons. My 6 year old started when she was 2½ and Miss Linda and Miss Charlotte made her feel welcome straight away and part of the amazing dance family that the school is. She thoroughly enjoys her dance lessons and has now taken 2 exams and appeared in 3 annual shows.
My 3 year old daughter joined the dance family when she was 2 and the patience and love that Miss Linda and Miss Charlotte show the children from the youngest to the oldest is amazing. This dance school is really a family and everyone is important to the teachers. Throughout lockdown we were so lucky to still stay connected with Disco in the dining room every night allowing the children to still see their teacher’s faces and feel part of the dance school. They also provided singing sessions too, singing along to favourite musicals, both of these were thoroughly enjoyed in our household. They brought happiness and laughter into our house. We are grateful to belong to a dance school that is not just that, but a dance family. Everyone is important and cared for by amazing friendly and caring teachers. They provide additional events and opportunities for the children throughout the year which are amazing opportunities for the children to take part in.
The girls cannot wait to return in September to see their dance friends but most of all their wonderful teachers Miss Linda and Miss Charlotte and get back into their Ballet and Tap. Thank you Miss Linda and Miss Charlotte for everything you do and for being the wonderful, kind, caring ladies that you are ….. Laura Fiest
The Island Dance and Theatre Company have helped my daughter in so many ways. Miss Linda & Miss Charlotte go over and beyond exciting dance classes, they are there for everything. Through lockdown, they put themselves out to offer weekly tea and natter online chats, so important to share worries and concerns. On top of this, was a daily basis was offered ‘Disco in the dining room’ where all families were able to feel together and have a dance!, and sing-along time, where again, all were encouraged to come together and sing. Both these wonderful ladies gave their time freely to help our mental health and to be there dance families no matter what they had to deal with in their own lives. Zoom classes were a life line for my autistic daughter. They helped her cope through this whole lockdown time by giving some kind of schedule to keep to, which for them is vital. Nothing was ever too much to ask. The dance school provides so many free opportunities to be together and help raise funds by sponsored activities, such as quiz nights, fancy dress walks and bag-packing. What I like about the dance school is the many opportunities they provide for their pupils to perform at, such as west end theatres and Disneyland Paris and Blackpool tower ballroom. Both ladies make the dance school a happy and positive place for pupils to flourish and grow. I know I cannot wait to see the opportunities given to help my daughter achieve her dance teaching goals. Can’t wait to see what the next year brings!! Thank you both so much xx
The Island Dance school have been amazing through everything, no matter what’s happening, they’ve kept all their students positive and there’s no lesson they don’t make you laugh. Ive been so much more confident and happy with myself since joining and couldn’t of done it without them and our little family…… Caitlin xx
Since my daughter has started with you, I have seen this shy girl turn more confident. She suffers from extreme anxiety with panic attacks where it takes her days to recover. Since being with you she is able to feel confident in talking to you, and do private lessons. This is such a big achievement for her, We feel you are an amazing company that really shows the children everything they need to know, gaining confidence, believing in themselves also has a loving atmosphere. But this is only down to Linda, Charlotte and Stephanie.
This amazing dance school has given both my girls some amazing experiences. They have given them both so much over the last few years. We all feel very lucky to have found such wonderful people, they are not only dance teachers, they are our dear friends too. They not only teach the children to dance, they teach them compassion for others too. So thank you to The Island dance and theatre company for everything. We all love you very much. Tracey Eve xx
Miss Linda and Miss Charlotte you have bought so much to so many children and adults, you support us all and bring the best out of us, you have given us so many amazing memories of performing in our local theatre, in London theatres, Disneyland Paris and now Blackpool next week, all your students love you and are very lucky to have you as our dance teachers but more importantly as someone who is always in our corner willing us to reach the stars, you are our teachers but more important our family, thank you to The Island dance and theatre company for everything. We all love you all Mandy Langley x
Well what can i say about you two amazing teachers… when Betsy first came she lacked confidence but now she shines in all that she does! You both have made her very welcome as well as making the parents feel welcome too your beautiful dance family… you guys go above and beyond even when you should be resting or having a day off. You both always put the dance school comes first you can see this at all the shows that you do and the effort that goes in❤️ me and Betsy-flo can’t thank you enough much love to you both. Louise Youngson xxx
My three girls started dancing at an early age my youngest started at 4 she has selective mutism and she wouldn’t talk but with Linda and Charlottes help within the dance school she has come on leaps and bounds she now talks and they have given her so much confidence, my middle daughter has ADHD and she loves going to dancing every week she has made friends and it has given her confidence in herself, my eldest now 16 had a dream… Her dream was to attend a dance college in London this dream has been with her since the age of 4 years old with the help of the dance school she has now achieved her dream and got accepted to London college of performing arts she also lacked confidence, the dance school has helped her every step of the way to achieve her dream she would probably not of done, all 3 of my girls are young carers for me and have a lot of extra responsibilities that a normal child would not have, the island dance has been there thick and thin for the girls, been there when they were stressed, been there when they needed someone to talk to, I thank you both Linda and Charlotte for being not only big role models in the girls lives but also a friend when they so needed it, you have given these 3 girls so much confidence in themselves, also an identity of who they are and I know all 3 love you both, so I thank you from the bottom of my heart because without you my girls wouldn’t have had the experiences, or confidence they have now.