Sam Woods

Dancer, Singer & Actor

I joined Direct Dance Company at the tender age of 6.I started there as a very shy and reluctant six year old and I am now working in the industry as a professional dancer and musical theatre artist. Direct Dance taught me so much, shaped my life and a lot of what I learnt there has turned me into the person I am today.

Not only did I learn and develop technique and performance as a dancer but I learnt things like how to be disciplined and how to work in a team as well as thrive independently. When you train as a dancer you don’t just train your body, you train your mind and soul as well and this is what helped me to grow. At 19 I left the company to start my professional training in Dance and Musical Theatre at Bodywork Company International, a vocational performing arts college based in Cambridge. I trained here for three years and graduated in 2018. At Bodywork I trained 9 hours a day, 5 days a week for three years. It was the most challenging but rewarding three years of my life and I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.

Now in the industry I am constantly learning new skills, enjoying my time in professional environments and doing what I love for a living. I’m growing all the time but Direct Dance gave me the foundations I needed to start my journey but more importantly it’s where I discovered a passion and a purpose. To anyone considering enrolling their children in this company because they tapped their foot to a song on the radio or they did a full out rendition of baby shark in the kitchen. Do it, because it might be the start of the most incredible adventure of their lives.


Dancer Panto, Offenbach in Can Can, IQ in Hairsapray (Symphony of the Seas), Performer in Flight (Symphny of the Seas)

Bethany Springall

Actress & Voice Over

My time at Direct Dance was so valuable. Having wanted a career in the performing industry ever since I was little, I started dance classes at Direct Dance and couldn’t have asked for any dance experience better than this. I had always participated in Acting classes and when I became serious about performing around the age of 12, I wanted to start dancing; not only as a way to spend extra time with my friends outside of school, but to find an enjoyable way to exercise my body. I instantly felt comfortable at the class. I remember having lots of help on my first day to “find my feet” as it were and soon after I was able to join in with routines and had knowledge of different genres of dance including Tap, Modern, Ballet, Jazz and Acrobatics.

Debbie and Julie were amazing teachers, and even if I couldn’t do something straight away, I was made to feel as if my best was always good enough. The support system of the class and friends I made there also meant a lot to me. I found myself living for dance classes and their shows and any other performing opportunities
that came my way.

In 2013 I gained a place at the Italia Conti Academy of Performing Arts, and I credit Debbie and Julie for all of the support and guidance they gave me. I studied an acting course, but dance is a skill that I believe got me to where I needed to be. The body and how you move is so important – for anyone, not just a performer. So I urge anybody, just wanting to have fun, look after their body and to push themselves in a different direction to attend Direct Dance.

Ella Cooper


I started at Direct Dance when I was just five years old, going every week to do Ballet, Modern, Tap and my favourite: Acro! I also went to DanceEast Centre of Advanced Training every week alongside Direct Dance for five years. After getting my Level 3 Diploma in dance at City College, I went on to study BA(Hons) Contemporary Dance at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in London. Highlights from my training include performing Micheal Clarke’s repertoire, dancing at London Fashion Week and Socceraid, placement with Richard Alston Dance Company and movement director Darcy Wallace, working on music videos and creating pieces with many different choreographers.

I am currently on reserve for a place on the MA course at London Contemporary Dance School working with my favourite choreographer and movement director Holly Blakey (keeping my fingers crossed!). Otherwise, I am hoping to be a busy freelance dancer when I finish this year, working on music videos and other projects that bring contemporary dance into popular culture.

My friends and I are also looking into setting up children’s dance workshops. I owe all my love of dance to Debbie and Julie and I was so lucky to have been part of such a happy and friendly dance school throughout my childhood and teenage years, I hold a million happy memories of dancing there and am forever grateful. I will be back to teach class one day!

Abi Tacon


I started dancing with Direct Dance at the age of 8 and I fell in love with it! From being able to express myself, to learning discipline, I have grown from being a shy little girl to a confident young woman. I have nothing but praise for Debbie and Julie, they are absolute stars and deserve the world, their hard work and dedication is outstanding!

I have taken numerous dance exams through UTD and have gained qualifications in all dance styles including ballet, jazz and tap.

The highlight is always our biannual show in which all classes come together to create a spectacular performance, developing the skills we gain weekly. It is such a proud moment to see what we have accomplished and to see everything come together in 4 shows, showcasing our talents.

I am currently auditioning for various universities to study the performing arts and couldn’t be happier with the skills and knowledge that I have gained throughout my Direct Dance journey!

Jodie Stimpson


I started my dance journey with Direct Dance at the age of 7 as a way to make new friends and gain a new hobby. Little did I know where those Disco classes on a Monday afternoon would lead me to now! Since joining Direct Dance Company I have gained confidence, skills and technique as well as making friends for life. Being able to work towards performances from Summer Fetes to our biannual show – which is my favourite experience, being able to perform in front of an audience with lights and costumes gave me a taste of where I want to be – as well UTD exams have given me a passion and drive to improve and develop on my technique.

In 2019, I began a new dance journey when gaining a place to study Performing Arts at The Garage and have since gained a Higher National Certificate specialising in Dance. With this course I performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2019 which was an amazing experience! Since then I have been attending various auditions and am excited to start my degree in BA (Hons) Dance at the University of Roehampton in September.

Direct Dance has become a massive part of my life in the last 12 years which is all down to the hard work Julie and Debbie put into the school. Direct Dance allowed me to blossom as a dancer as well as a person and the school became my second family.