At 5 years old, my oldest best friend and next door neighbour said she’d started dance classes, so I obviously wanted to go too. It started with disco, then I started modern, then tap, then ballet, then jazz. I was hooked!
I attended Crowborough school of dance, taught by amazing teachers, Mrs Climber and the late Mrs White, who both filled me with excitement and passion. I took my first few exams there and entered competitions and won my first choreography competition.
At 11 I went to a semi professional ballet school when I realised that dance was the only thing I wanted to do. I continued to take exams, enter competitions, went to summer schools, did panto etc. I loved it and continued until I was 18 when I moved in with my boyfriend, now husband.
I did the whole ‘normal job’ thing, got married, had three children, always missing dance and wondering how it could fit back into my life.
Then after some very bad news and wondering where to turn next, my sister Jade suggested we ran a Musical Theatre workshop for local kids. And on 9th April 2010 (my wedding anniversary and 11 weeks after my 3rd baby Imara JEWEL came along!) Jewel Performing Arts was born!
As soon as I could walk I would copy my big sister Gemma and dance everywhere I could. My first performance I'm told, was in the vets where everyone clapped along!
At three I went to my first ballet class with the wonderful, late Mrs White, who was confused by my American accent (I was always doing accents and acting out scenes)
I quickly added tap and modern to my weekly classes.
At 11 years old I started vocal classes which I especially enjoyed. Still very shy about singing in front of people, when I was a teenager I started classes with the fabulous Philippa Watt who encouraged me to start auditioning and doing gigs
I then gained a place at BIMM (Brighton Institute of Modern Music) where I completed a degree in Professional Musicianship
Straight after leaving BIMM I got a job teaching at a Musical Theatre school, which I felt very passionate about, even more than performing
I really wanted my own school, so in 2010 I asked Gemma to set up Jewel with me, where we started with just two Saturday classes, now with 38 classes a week and still growing
I'm proud to say Jewel is going from strength to strength