I’m so grateful to my dance teacher, Deana Morgan.
She helped me with everything I needed to be a good performer.
Recently I found a letter from Deana which she sent me when she was living in Germany. “You’ve got such a serious talent Kim, and you really need to push yourself as much as you can in this business . . . . ” When I think about everything she did for me, I realise how lucky I was to have someone like her in my corner. She was actually the one who persuaded me to go for the Popstars audition . . . . I respected her a lot and we still keep in touch.
Extract from Kimberley’s book, “A Whole Lot of History”.
Kimberley Walsh (Girls Alound, Shrek)
My time at DMA really was like no other. I took Ballet, Jazz, Tap and Singing. Deana is a fantastic role model to all her students. She really taught us about performance, stage presence and her Jazz classes were just the best technical classes. She always pushed us to be our best and when I look back at what we achieved and what we were doing weekly in classes at the age of just 14/15 we were so lucky to have that training. Ballet was a main focus of mine and really was the basis of my technique I was lucky enough to be apart of the Associate Ballet course and it was KEY in terms of developing my technique to a level where I could audition for vocational dance schools. Tap classes pushed us and we always got the opportunity to take exams. I loved being a part of DMAcademy, they are still till this day some of my fondest memories. We became a family. I have friends I met there who are still my best friends. We were also given the most incredible performance opportunities;- The Alhambra, The Royal Albert Hall, The Palladium, to name a few! Deana’s creativity is what drives the school and its students to excel.
Aine Curran (Mamma Mia! Germany & UK Tour)
I left DM academy nearly 10 years ago and it is still a big part of my life…..I even went back last year to take a teaching exam! Once a DM dancer always a DM dancer! Having been to lots of dance schools over the years I can honestly say DM Academy is leaps and bounds ahead of them all; after all which other dance teacher would hire a West End theatre so that her students can perform?
Having now set up my own dance school in London I constantly look to Deana and Rachael for inspiration and advice, and even though I am no longer a current student and probably a bit annoying they still go above and beyond to help me succeed. The DM Academy way is to give every student the best opportunities, support and training, to a level they couldn’t find elsewhere. Going to DM Academy has shaped who I am today, I found a second family, my best friends and it opened doors to allow me to have a career I enjoy!
Be prepared for sparkle and lots of sweat but if you stick with DM you will certainly have a great time and receive the best training to allow you to succeed in the industry!
Alys Ettenfield (Principal of Spencer Stage School)
I had been dancing locally since the age of three but when I realised I wanted to make a career out of it, I knew I had to find someone to teach me everything properly with technique. I found Deana and her team and the rest is history! Deana taught me everything I needed to know to get a place at a top London theatre school. Deana even taught me my audition dance and filled me with confidence. I also did the first ever BTEC dance course at D M Academy, which was brilliant. Since graduating, I’ve been fortunate to work in shows such as Mamma Mia, South Pacific, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Kiss Me Kate, Hairspray and Oh What A Lovely War, both in London and all over the world. I’m so thankful that I was able to go to D M Academy. The academy has that perfect balance of hard work and fun and just brings out the best in you. I wish I could go back and do it all again! Bleu is now appearing in Kinky Boots in the West End.
Bleu Woodward (Mamma Mia!, Priscilla, Kinky Boots)
I started DMA just after it had first opened as Dance Machine when I was 6 years old. I started with a jazz class going on to do ballet and tap. I had decided that I wanted to be a ‘professional dancer’ at a young age Deana helped prepare me for this. I started doing dance competitions around and about which gave me extra confidence and I also went on to do hip hop competitions. Deana’s passion for performance gave me some amazing opportunities to perform at some amazing places, Alhambra Bradford, Disneyland Paris, Sadlers Wells, Her Majesties Theatre and The Royal Albert Hall, I was even lucky enough to be a Sunbeam at Bradford Alhambra a memory I will never forget. The training at D M Academy also gave me the opportunity to work with professional dancers, singers and performers in workshops and summer schools. Whilst at DMA I felt you were never pushed into doing anything you didn’t want to do you were just guided in the right direct for your capability and goal.
The training I had at DMA prepared me for my next step. I successfully auditioned for a 3 Year Musical Theatre place at The Works in Blackpool. Whilst at college we did mid-year and end of year shows and I was lucky enough to have a few professional contracts too. Deana was always front and centre in the audience like a proud mum (I do think of her as my second mum!!) at all my shows. Following my graduation Deana and the faculty at DMA were still on hand to support me in securing my first job as a Singer/ Dancer for Headliners Entertainment working on P & O Cruises doing want I love most in life and seeing the world at the same time.
I couldn’t have done any of this without the training I got at a young age and the help and support I received and (still do) from this wonderful dance school and Deana Morgan the Principal.
Daniella Claire Ockerby (P&O Cruises & Qdos Ents)
Joshua would like to thank DM Academy and Deana Morgan for inspiring him all those years ago. For giving him so many incredible opportunities, and for believing in him when he didn’t himself.
Joshua is thrilled to be a regular guest teacher at DMA Studios and is very excited about the future talent coming through the school
‘DMA is a place where you cannot help but simply blossom. It is an environment where talent, hard work, commitment and passion are all encouraged and brought out of every single student. Deana’s hard work, drive, passion and love for the business, the school and its students is what makes dreams become reality. I truly believe if it wasn’t for Deana and DMA I would not be where I am today.’
Joshua Barwick (Rambert, NBT, Vienna Festival Ballet)
I started to dance with Deana in a boys jazz class at the age of 6 after wanting to follow in my sister Daniella’s footsteps (who had just performed in her first professional pantomime). It can be really difficult for a boy to do the whole dance thing but Deana was really good as she didn’t push me into doing anything other than Jazz but guided me and helped me in the direction I needed to go! I went on to do Ballet Tap Jazz drama and singing classes realising that I wanted to take the dance and performance to the next level. Deana and the faculty at DMA are able to guide and support you whether it is for fun or to take it further in a career or dance and performance.
Whilst I was at DMA the performance opportunities were amazing, my first performance I did was in Disneyland Paris I also had many opportunities to perform at The Alhambra in Bradford, The London Palladium and The Royal Albert Hall. I was also lucky enough to be a Sunbeam at The Bradford Alhambra twice. All really good memories from my time at DMA
Deana prepared me for the college life that came next. I auditioned and took a place at The Works in Blackpool, my preparation from DMA stood me in good stead for the next 3 years of college. I came out of college in July 2014 straight into my first professional contact working for Headliners Entertainment on P & O Cruise Liner Oriana. I am now travelling the world doing something that I love for a job. Thank you to Deana and DMA for the help and support that was given to me in my early years.
Joshua Ockerby (P&O Cruises)