Benjamin came to the Joanne Grace School of Dance in 2015. Prior to that he was at another studio where he showed a talent for dance. He wanted to excel further in his training so he chose to move to JGSoD in order to take his dancing to a higher level.
This was a big step for Ben going to a new studio environment, with new teachers and fellow students. It didn’t take long for Ben to settle in and we knew we had made the right choice.
Ben immediately began to perfect his technique at every level benefiting from Joanne’s knowledge and experience along with the many other highly professional dance teachers.
After a while Joanne called us in for a meeting and asked us quite plainly what, ours and Benjamin’s, plans were for him as a dancer. She wanted to know if Ben was happy just attending normal class or if Ben was interested in taking dance further and even consider it as a career. She said the choice is ours but she’d just like to know so she could structure his training to what we’d like. This one meeting showed us clearly that Joanne has the best interests of her students at heart and that JGSoD is a studio that is capable of taking talented students as far as they want to go.
Ben chose to take the next step and enrolled in the Part-time dance course while he attended school. He improved under this program that was run very professional which included monitoring training carefully to avoid injuries.
From there he enrolled in the first Certificate IV fulltime course run at the School. Ben flourished during this year. The quality and dedication of the teachers where 1st class. The course was 1st class with subjects from technique, fitness, flexibility, strength and conditioning and lots more. Via his training Ben achieved alot of success throughout the year with many eisteddfod wins, high RAD marks, acceptance into Australian Ballet, was a finalist at the Isobel Anderson Awards and achieved his Solo Seal.
Every step along the way Joanne was there with him and the other students. Preparing, guiding, advising, pushing and encouraging them. Basically doing whatever it took for them to be the best possible dancers (and people) they could be.
Ben’s time at JGSoD has now come to an end as he embarks on a new journey taking up a scholarship at Palucca University of Dance, Germany. Again it was Joanne who assisted Benjamin with this scholarship. Ben has thoroughly enjoyed his time at JGSoD and will miss the studio sorely. He has made fantastic lifelong friendships and has benefited greatly from his wonderful teachers. Ben will forever be indebted to JGSoD and most of all Joanne for the indelible mark she has left on him. Shaping him as a dancer and a person and preparing him for his future success in dance. We would thoroughly recommend JGSoD to anyone who wants to enjoy and excel at dance.
- Mark Wilson and Liz Grace-Wilson
We have been a JGSoD family for over 10 years and wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. The fantastic teachers, beautiful friendships made, amazing opportunities, as well as a focus on safety and technique are just the start!
Hannah started with the school with Joanne when classes were held in the Russell Vale Community Hall. We have seen it grow from humble beginnings to the exceptional studios that classes are held in today. With exceptional teaching staff, as well as inviting guest teachers to the fold, show that the school is one of high quality-where students can learn and grow in a safe environment.
Over the years, the passion for dance grew. Hannah focussed in on her training, striving to perfect the steps. Each year passed with a beautiful change and growth in her not only as a dancer, but also as a person. Joanne was integral in this growth-pushing Hannah to do better, be better, dance better. She certainly knows her dancers and what they are capable of, and can bring the very best out of them. Being surrounded with wonderful friends as well as the supportive ‘JGSoD’ parents certainly helps too! Through this focus, she was able to be a part of many wonderful experiences-notably being accepted as part of the Australian Ballet Invitee program, an Isobel Anderson Awards semi finalist 3 times, as well as being able to perform with the Russian Imperial Ballet when they appeared at the Illawarra Performing Arts Centre in 2010 and 2017.
She was accepted into the Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts in Year 7 for dance as a Performing Arts student. The additional teaching here certainly fanned the flames of dance! When she was in Year 9, Hannah was able to undertake further study in the Part Time program at JGSoD. It was here that we could see for certain that a future in dance was in her sights. She finished High School in Year 10, and began the Certificate IV as part of the inaugural class. Every day she was happy to leave for ‘school’. The classes, guest teachers, opportunities offered, and more personalised teaching made for one very happy teenager! It was absolutely the best decision made to allow her to do this course. It was a complete package of quality training, and technique, nutritional advice, strength and conditioning, choreography-the list goes on.
Hannah was accepted to the Akademie Des Tanzes in Mannheim, Germany during this course. With Joanne’s help, and dogged determination, Hannah finished her Certificate IV before leaving JGSoD. It was bittersweet-while we were thrilled at the thought of her pursuing her love of dance, it was also the end of an era.
Hannah has made lifelong friends, learned so much not just about dance but about herself, and knows just what determination and passion can lead to.
We are very proud of her, and are so thankful to Joanne for believing in Hannah and helping shape the person and dancer she is today.
We enrolled Madeleine last year because she loved to dance and with the arrival of a new sister we wanted her to have something special that she loved and her little sisters needs wouldn’t interrupt.
At only 2 and 1/4 and never being to pre school before she didn’t cope very well in the first lesson being separate from me and Ms Mikaela invited me into the room for the entire lesson. Despite loving dance she was shy and had separation anxiety. All that next week Madeleine didn’t stop talking about going back to dancing school which is why we persisted and that next lesson she told me you stay here with the other mummies and daddies, no tears! By the end of the year we could drop her at rehearsal and the concert for a half day knowing she would not only be fine but thoroughly enjoying herself. Just one of the unexpected benefits of her time at Ready Set Dance.
Madeleine has also learnt to count, recite the alphabet, built confidence to talk and sing in public, learned to take turns, listen and take direction, share, built some great friendships and of course she her love of dance has grown. We just wanted her to have fun we had no idea she would get so much out of it.
Her teacher, Miss Mikaela is amazing and has so much patience for the children. The older students although very committed and serious about their dance also have time for the babies showing them their dances each week with the open door at the end of the class and the interaction with them caring for them during rehearsal.
Thank you and we can’t wait for the new year classes to start.
In term 3 2013 I walked into studio 1 at Joanne Grace School of dance in Fairy Meadow not knowing what to expect, I felt every emotion that day but mostly excited about the journey ahead and wanting to learn more about Ballet.
JGSOD is a remarkable community and culture providing a consistent, nurturing environment alongside importantly teaching correct technique and always ensuring safe dance practices are followed.
The emphasis at JGSOD is not on results but the wonderful journey that you experience along with it. JGSOD is not just a dance school, it is a community, where all the teachers, students and parents come together to encourage each and every dancer to be the best they can be. I feel very blessed and proud to have been a member of this community and I will be forever grateful to the very generous members of the fundraising community to have helped me realise my dream to attend the Royal Ballet summer school in 2017.
Miss Joanne and all of the wonderful teachers at JGSOD have challenged me to reach within and find a dancer – scary- a journey that I never would have believed could be so satisfying. I have absolutely loved every minute. You have taught me so much along the way…. to respect the art form…. to honour the performance and in class work pure joy and excitement in every drop of perspiration and aching muscle.
My journey in dance continues as I pursue my dreams but leaving you and JGSOD will be like leaving home all over again. It is scary, exciting and sad all rolled into one.
My story, my journey, with you is a true reflection of your belief.
You have nurtured my love and passion for dance. You have inspired me to follow my dream, to believe in myself, to achieve my dream and to find my place in Dance….. Yes I can do it….. Because you told me I can and have given me to tools to succeed.
From the bottom of my heart THANK YOU
– Molly Sawyer
My little girl absolutely loves her Ready Set Dance class. She has learnt so much from the RSD program and her teacher who she adores. She grew in confidence and loved going on stage at the end of year concert. And most importantly she had fun every week and can’t wait to dance again next year.
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