Miss Nicola and the Orchard Academy of Performing Arts
Having started my own career in dancing at the tender age of four at a local school of Dance, I know from experience (no, I'm not too old to remember!) the excitement that is part of these proceedings. At the less tender age of sweet sixteen, I then continued my professional studies at "Arts Educational School" in London and then "Doreen Bird College of performing Arts" in Kent, graduating in 1983.
Whilst teaching had always been my main ambition, I decided to dance professionally for a couple of years to get a better insight and understanding of my chosen career. To this end, I joined a small all girl troupe and travelled in Europe and South America, principally on cruise liners as part of the cabaret.
In 1985, I hung up my costumes and commenced my teaching career, initially with the same school where I took my own first faltering steps.
The embryo of "The Dance Orchard" first saw the light of day in January 1990 housed at the Liberal hall in York Road, Broadstone with a roll call of a staggering 12 pupils.
Growth was steady over the next six years, although restricted due to very limited availability of suitable premises. However, in 1996 we opened the doors of our studios in Macaulay Road, Broadstone and saw a meteoric spurt of growth to around 300 pupils and established ourselves firmly in the local area.
Unfortunately our lease was not to be renewed due to redevelopment of the site and so a two year battle ensued with the local authority planning department to secure a new home.
This we eventually did, just in the nick of time! We opened the doors of our current home in September 2002. We now have two studios and therefore space to offer other aspects of the performing arts, and therefore a change of name from the Dance Orchard to The Orchard Academy of Performing Arts and a current register of in excess of 450 pupils.