"Behind every dancer who believes in themselves, is a teacher who believed in them first." - Unknown
We're fortunate to have a team of talented and passionate dance specialists at Step to it. Their knowledge and experience help guide our students to achieve their goals:
Tap/Musical Theatre Specialist (Safeguarding Lead)
Darren’s formal training began at the Jackie Palmer Stage School and Agency, a prestigious performing arts school/agent for young performers. He partook in weekly classes in Tap, Modern and Ballet achieving Intermediate level before undertaking further training to become a fully qualified teacher with the IDTA (International Dance Teachers Association) and licensed Children’s chaperone.
During this time Darren was fortunate to be given the opportunity of not only performing in many theatre, TV and film productions, but also later in his career chaperoning children in a richly diverse number of high profile productions. This provided him with a valuable insight into the high standards required to achieve success in the industry, knowledge that he in turn passes onto his students.
Despite enjoying performing, Darren came to realise that teaching was where his talent and passion lied, guiding and developing young performers to become accomplished enough to explore dance as a career provided him with much more satisfaction then performing himself.
Whilst continuing to teach with Jackie Palmer, Darren established the Step to it Dance Academy with Nikki to further share his love of dance.
Since qualifying as an IDTA Associate, Darren has devoted his time to improving his skills as a teacher in order to provide his students with the very best in dance education. Several of Darren’s students have received nominations for the IDTA National Awards in recognition of their high exam results with many continuing to pursue professional careers in the industry.
Nicola started dancing at the age of 3 at the exceptional Brenda Goddard School of Dance in Chelmsford, Essex, where she won many festivals at a young age.
From the age of 10, Nicola trained at The Jackie Palmer Stage School and The Caroline Salmon School of Dance. During her training she gained all her examinations in the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) Ballet exams and the International Dance Teachers Association (IDTA) in Tap and Jazz.
Nicola has worked professionally in the industry performing at the prestigious National Theatre in London, in the play 'Bartholomew Fair' directed by Richard Eyre. Other professional credits include pantomimes at the Theatre Royal Windsor, Joseph & his Technicolor Dreamcoat, Night & Day, The John Culshaw Comedy Show and various other television / film work and commercials.
Despite enjoying performing, Nicola fell in love with teaching and choreographing and gained an International Dance Teachers Associate Teaching Degree specialising in Ballet & pointe-work to share her passion of dance with others.
She has been a qualified dance teacher for over 10 years, teaching students of all ages and choreographing for many stage shows and performances. Nicola also has a BSc Hons. Degree in Multi-Media Computing in Video and Animation from the University of Westminster.
Nicola also specialises in Dance Gymnastic Acrobatics, a passion that developed after marrying an ex-British Gymnast. This subject combines her love for dance with a gymnastic twist. She now is head teacher/choreographer for this subject at several large dance schools and BTEC courses across Buckinghamshire.
Gabby trained at The Urdang Academy, one of the UK's most prestigious performing arts schools. Here she studied musical theatre and professional dance, graduating with a 1st Class Degree.
After graduating she has gone on to do a number of professional engagements, the highlight being a vocalist for 'Dear Evan Hansen' in London's West End.
Whilst working professionally Gabby has continued to share her love of the performing arts through her teaching. She has taught at numerous dance, drama and musical theatre schools in the area, including BTA (The British Theatre Academy), Perform, PQA and a local secondary school.
She aims to use her love of drama, musical theatre and dance to inspire young people to follow their passions in life and believes that performing is the best way to escape the troubles that we all face today, no matter what age.
Heidi graduated from her London based training in July 2003, graduating with a 2-year Musical Theatre Diploma (London College of Music) and training to Advanced 1 level with the Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing in Tap, Ballet & Jazz. Heidi’s training covered all genres of the arts studying with highly accredited associations and industry professionals. Heidi successfully completed her full-time training and secured her first professional job. Heidi signed a contract with P&O Cruises as a cast member onboard the MV Aurora and embarked on a world cruise at just 18 years old. Heidi’s other professional credits include; (Annie) UK National Tour, (The Greatest Show on Earth) London’s Royal Albert Hall, (The Brit Awards) London Earls Court, (The Demon Headmaster) Churchill Theatre Bromley, (Pink Floyd-Brick in the wall) Orchard Theatre, (The Secret) Feature Film for Anglia Television, (The Buddy Holly Story) Curzon Theatre.
Over the last 8 years Heidi’s has travelled the world working for Royal Caribbean International as their Lead Production Singer and Vocal Captain. This involved producing and performing in Royal Caribbean’s full-scale Broadway style productions. In 2011 when Royal Caribbean secured the rights to Saturday Night fever Heidi originated the role of “Annette” in the award-winning Musical. Heidi has toured America, Asia, Russia, Europe, the Caribbean & Australia onboard the, Liberty of the Sea, Brilliance of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas and most recently the Mariner of the seas.
Heidi has gained Associate teaching status within the IDTA (International Dance Teacher Association) in Freestyle & Musical Theatre. Heidi recently established Encore School of Performing Arts and Strives to promote her passion for the arts through her teaching. Heidi would like to pass on her professional experience and knowledge of the industry to all of her student at Encore School of Performing Arts.
Jessica Simmons (Cover teacher)
Musical Theatre/Comercial Specialist
Jessica trained at the renowned Performers College. Here she trained for 3 years on the Musical Theatre course. Since graduating Jessica has been working on stage and screen whilst also pursuing a career in teaching.
She has been working with a variety of local performing arts school, training children of all ages in tap, ballet, modern, jazz, commercial, street and musical theatre. She likes to keep classes entertaining while also teaching technique and fun choreography.
Jessica has been fortunate to train with some of the best teachers and performers in the world. The knowledge she has acquired from them she now likes to share directly to the children she teaches in a way that best helps them to improve and grow as performers. As long as the kids have left the class smiling and having learnt something new, she's happy.