About Us


 

Michele Pope's Studio of Dance     

 

History:

At the age of 5years my mother enrolled me into a classical ballet,  both very excited and nervous. I clearly remember trying so hard to get the ballet teacher to notice me in everything I did.  Thank goodness she had a loving nature and drew me deep into the Cecchetti method of training.  Her name was Karen Piro.  She became my mentor through a number of years, both within class and in relationship.  To this day I still think most fondly of her.

As a dancer needs to open herself up to different forms of dance I decided to join A.I.D.T Modern dance, with Jackie Nel and Spanish dance classes with Kerri van Loon.  Both of which I so enjoyed and achieved high marking in examinations for.  Not realizing that later on Modern dance would be one of my avenues of teaching. 

At this juncture in my career I was encouraged to audition for as many external dance opportunities as possible.  Hence I was able to do ad hoc work as a child with Ashley Killer's Napac.  My eyes opened to such possibility beyond exam levels and became so much more about performance beyond the classroom walls.   I was successful in the Durban Dance foundation auditions and was taught by Miss Faith de Villiers on a weekly basis.  Often an image of her playing the piano and teaching at the same time with such energy and sway that would make us as young dancers, do more and reach further than just anatomical movement!.

By the time I developed into the major levels, I moved across to Miss Eileen Keegan.  On our first meeting, she came across with such elegance and regal aplomb that I felt all too happy to comply with any request she made of me.  Miss Keegan truly was one of the '3 graces of Natal and I felt privileged to have worked with a lady of such pioneering history.  Even today when teaching, my pupils will hear me reminisce of a teaching technique or historical point that came directly from Miss Keegan's lineage.

I clearly remember Miss Keegan saying I came from a time when we studied Cecchetti and not exams.  The method was absorbed into the body.   She is greatly missed by all that crossed her path.

Opening the studio how it came about:

 

The studio doors opened with much anticipation.  I shall never forget my first senior girls.  They stayed with me for many years and helped build what I had vision for years later.  2 out of those 5 girls became dance teachers in their own right and I was most proud to be a part of both Carmen Taljard and Leigh Collier.

I have also had the privilege of working with 2 pupils from a very early age and helping them qualify in both Ballet and modern associate, namely Hayley Turner- Howie and Jessica Riding.  It has been such a treat to see these girls grow into their own. 

Having achieved my Associate and Associate diploma teachers in the Cecchetti Ballet, with the help of Miss Keegan and the Advanced Modern A.I.D.T method, with Miss Di Drake, I felt that I needed, yet again, another challenge.   I asked to study for the Licentiate Ballet level.  With the support of Miss Yvonne Barker, a well known examiner in Natal, I was able to do this most successfully.   On completion of the examination the Cecchetti society awarded me a bursary to travel abroad to do further training at a summer school. 

I decided to go to the 43rd Bartholin international ballet seminar in Copenhagen. I will forever be grateful to the Cecchetti society for allowing me this privilege.  The standard of the work and commitment to dance was truly like a Ballet heaven.

I now have the privilege of owning my own Dance studio venue at home.  It truly is such a blessing from my husband to allow our studio in the safe environment he has helped me create.

The pupils are in a 100 square studio with professional non slip dance mats, air-conditioned, mirrored with fixed ballet Barres accommodating all heights.  We are privileged to have a pianist ,Miss Irene Candy, who plays for our ballet examinations as well as during the terms to ensure the pupils are musical.

 

 

The studio is fully compliant with the business laws and has a parking lot, ablutions, change room and extra rehearsal warm up room for the pupils prior to their lesson. 

We trust our pupils feel like this is home away from home and that they can truly give of their best in this professional yet loving environment.

 

 

Examinations:

We are a qualified dance studio is Cecchetti classical ballet, Modern A.I.D.T dance and T.D.A hip hop.  This allows us the privilege of being able to enter pupils into examinations, should they have the capability and desire to do so.  This is very encouraged in our studio as we feel that goal setting is paramount to achieving ones best in any area.

  

 

Annual show:

As I feel so strongly about stage exposure in balance to syllabi, we take it as a challenge to do a production to close each year off.

The pupils thrive in this moment of the year and it brings much joy to both the teachers and family.  Lots of hard work but so worth each smile as they step out centre stage!.

 

 

 

 

We at Michele Pope's Studio of Dance, just love what we do and know that our studio is a place for children to grow in their confidence in who they are and what they can achieve with people that believe in them.