Our School

South London Dance Studios was founded in Dulwich, SE21 as Grafton Dance Academy in 2001. In 2009 we moved to the former Royal Mail Sorting Office in the centre of Herne Hill, SE24 and were renamed South London Dance Studios. We are delighted to have three professional standard dance studios of our own, each with sprung floors, mirrors and ballet barres. There are no other dance studios in this area with comparable facilities.

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We now have over 750 students of all ages who participate on a weekly basis in the following classes:

  • ‘Melody Movement’ music & dance classes for 18 month to 3 year olds
  • Nursery & Preparatory dance classes for 3 to 6 year old boys & girls
  • Ballet, Tap, Modern, Jazz, Street & National dance classes for children age 6 plus
  • Specialist Boys training
  • Adult Tap, ‘Ballet Tone’ & Modern / Street dance classes for beginners and those with experience

We have an excellent reputation for providing outstanding dance classes for all ages whether for a hobby or in preparation for a career in dance.

All classes at South London Dance Studios are taught by inspiring and experienced dance teachers & performers. Our teachers consider each child individually; being aware of their physical progress and cognitive, emotional & social development.

Our classes promote confidence through achievement, develop skills for life such as self discipline & persistence, and provide an understanding of the importance of physical activity throughout life.

We have consistently outstanding results for ISTD examinations (The Imperial Society Of Teachers Of Dancing) which can be taken from age 6. Students can also participate in ‘Presentations of Class Work’, Shows and Local Dance Events.

Children who show natural physical potential and / or an outstanding sense of performance may be asked join the Festival Team and compete in Regional and National dance competitions, as well as audition for children’s dance companies, the Royal Ballet School associate classes and West End shows. Several of our ex-students have gone on to train at some of the most highly respected vocational performing arts colleges in the country including: Central School of Ballet, Ballet Rambert, The Urdang Academy, Millennium Dance 2000 and Arts Educational Tring Park.

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Why South London Dance Studios?

  • Our teachers nurture each child individually, encouraging and monitoring many aspects of their physical, cognitive and social development
  • We cater for the child who wants to learn to dance as a hobby as well as the child considering a career in performing arts
  • We have several thriving adult dance classes which are fantastic for fitness and also have a strong social aspect
  • Our Imperial Society of Teacher’s of Dance examination results are always excellent (examination news)
  • Children have the opportunity to perform on stage every two years in a ‘Presentation of Classwork’ or Dance Show
  • We have three professional standard dance studios which is important for safe dance practice as well as enabling training in dance at a higher level
  • We have a comfortable waiting room for parents (and siblings) whilst their child is in a dance class as well as boys and girls changing rooms

Why SLDS

South London Dance Studios school aims

Throughout their time attending classes at South London Dance Studios, children learn physical and cognitive skills as well as develop emotionally and socially. Between the ages of 18 months and 18 years, as they enjoy the physical activity and master new dance skills we aim for our students to:

  • Build confidence and a positive self-esteem that will last throughout life
  • Increase attention span and improve the ability to follow instructions
  • Develop self-discipline, persistence, resourcefulness, flexibility of mind, the ability to self motivate and the ability to think quickly under pressure
  • Improve problem-solving skills and the ability to retain and recall from memory
  • Develop observational and perceptual skills
  • Improve partner and group work skills – both leading and being part of a group
  • Learn patience and have an increased awareness of the need to understand the emotions and points of view of others
  • Develop an understanding of how the body works, personal physique and the importance of physical activity throughout life
  • Improve posture, strength, flexibility, joint mobility and fitness
  • Improve balance, co-ordination and awareness of how and where the body is placed in space
  • Develop spatial cognition and spatial perception
  • Learn to dance in different styles and develop a confident and appropriate sense of performance for the situation
  • Develop an understanding of music and knowledge of different musical styles
  • Develop artistry and musicality in dance

School Aims

A message from the Principal (Miss Zoe)

The main feedback I seem to get from parents is that their child grows so much in confidence after being at South London Dance Studios.  This can be as simple as the 3  year old gaining the confidence to go into his / her first dance class by himself / herself to the older child performing a well rehearsed dance in front of a large audience.  This new found confidence not only transfers to other physical activities, but also to situations where the child is required to communicate verbally. Notably many local school teachers have commented to parents on the change they have seen in a child since they have joined our school.

Alongside developing self confidence, the child also learns that he / she is equal to all the other children in the class.  He / she learns to take turns, be patient if another child is struggling and show respect to the teacher, pianist and the other children in the class who are a different peer group to normal.  Children also learn to cooperate as they dance in partners or small groups.  The social skills learnt in a well run and constructive dance class can help children outline appropriate social etiquette and moral rules for the rest of their lives.

The cognitive and learning skills learnt through dance help develop an attitude for future learning in other areas of life. Self-discipline, persistence, resourcefulness, flexibility of mind and the ability to think quickly under pressure are just a few of the transferrable skills learnt through dance.

Use of memory, problem-solving skills and the ability to respond effectively to new challenges are some of the skills that are exercised regularly in the dance class.  Through learning new skills and correcting oneself and others, dance helps develop observational and perceptual skills.  The dance class environment provides experience of responding to instructions and receiving feedback which is so valuable in many other situations.

For younger children through use of rhymes, songs and sayings, instruction, feedback and discussion, language skills are being developed.

The 6 year old child taking his / her first dance examination forms his / her attitude to future examinations.  Our youngest students come out of their examinations bubbling with excitement and asking ‘please can we do it again!’  Such a positive attitude to examinations can only be helpful when children are faced with regular tests and examinations at school.

Musicality is another skill learnt through dance. Basic understanding of the technicalities of music and different musical styles are learnt and an artistic response to the ‘feel’ of the music is gradually developed.  For some children, the enjoyment of the music in class is one of the main reasons for attending.

Other children thrive on the more creative aspects of dance.   Moving ‘in character’ allows the child to use his / her imagination to become someone / something else for a few moments.  Developing a character demands careful attention to the music and empathy i.e. the appreciation that the character may have a different point of view to oneself.  Adding to that character a costume, stage make-up and lighting, makes the dance show an event the child will remember forever.

The benefits of dance to the physical self are probably the most widely considered and recognised.  With current concerns about children needing to lead a healthier lifestyle, it is becoming increasingly important to educate children about their own body and encourage them to participate in a regular and enjoyable hobby that can continue throughout life in one form or another. The exercise done within the school curriculum is quite simply not sufficient and extra classes should be sought. Dance improves stamina and fitness level, reducing the chance of becoming obese.  Strength, flexibility and joint mobility are improved.  Correct posture is established at an early age which is good for health as well as for conveying confidence in everyday life.  Dance develops children’s balance, proprioceptive skills, co-ordination and kinaesthetic awareness.

Children learning dance acquire the ability to refine the fundamental motor skills and, as they train further in dance, perform new and increasingly complex motor skills.  The sense of achievement gained through mastering new dance skills creates enjoyment and increases confidence – bringing us back to where I began!

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