As a child she played “Dance Teacher” and she actually manifested that in her adult life. Shona Stringer is another Big Ballet dancer whose dreams resurfaced with the opportunity Big Ballet presented. Audition with us to see if you can be on our reality show where we show the world that talent is not about the size and look of your body. Thanks to Big Ballet Shona pushed past her fear to successfully audition as a dancer for the show. She says that now, she not just a dance teacher, but she is a dancer who teaches dance!
When did you start dancing?
I started dancing as soon as I could walk. My big sister danced so as soon as I was able to I joined in the class.
Who’s idea was it that you start dance lessons?
It was just a natural thing, I talked, I walked, I danced.
Did the love of dance hit you right away as a little girl, or did it grow on you?
I’ve loved it for as long as I can remember and that has never faded throughout. I went straight from dancing class into teaching.
At the age of 16, you started teaching dance. Were you considered exceptional?
I don’t think I was considered exceptional. From being a child I had played Dance Teachers, it was something I always knew I would do. I had a very encouraging Dance Teacher myself who gave me the opportunity to teach within her school and I learnt an awful lot from her. From there I went on to study and take my IDTA Dance Teacher qualifications for which I gained high marks but that was through the amount of hard work I put into my study and classes I taught whilst studying. Just because I am not qualified doesn’t mean I have stopped learning too. I learnt an awful lot through working with Wayne and Monica last year and now with Daniel. I take every opportunity I can to gain knowledge and experience which all in makes me a better teacher.
Were you also out there performing?
I never performed professionally. I enjoyed performing in amateur production as a child and a teenager which included 42nd Street, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Hello Dolly, I love a good musical!
Why didn’t you transition to a professional dancing company at some point?
Mainly due to a lack of confidence and ability in myself, I only ever attended one professional audition for work in the UK and was completely overwhelmed by it.
What was the desire to open your own school about? Why did you start your own versus continuing to teach at your alma mater?
After I had my daughter Abigail I no longer wanted to work a 9-5 job and teach dance on a weekend, I decided to open my own school with the blessing of my own teacher so I could spend more time with Abigail through the week. My dance school is something we are able to enjoy together and it now means I am able to earn a living from doing the thing I love most in the world, I am very lucky.
When the Big Ballet auditions were announced, you signed up. Why?
The chance to perform in a ballet which I thought any chances like that had passed me by long ago. The chance to meet Wayne Sleep. The chance to learn and gain even more knowledge that I would be able to pass onto my own students. Most of all the chance to call myself a dancer again.
What does working with Big Ballet do for you?
It’s brought my passion for dance back to life again. I’m no longer a woman who teaches dance, I am a dancer who teaches dance. I’ve made some of my very best friends through Big Ballet who I am certain will be friends for life, we’ve been on quite a journey together so far.
What do you feel it does for other people who have watched the program?
I believe it’s given many people the nudge they needed to get back into the dance studio or even take a dance class if they have never danced before but always wanted to give it a go. Dance can bring so much joy into a person’s life you can literally lose yourself to dance.
One of the things you work at besides dancing is a Life Protection Advisor. What is that?
I work alongside my husband who is a Mortgage Advisor. I advise on life protection and am a qualified Will Writer.
Often we find employment that helps to bring out our other passions. Does this work relate to dance in any way?
No it doesn’t relate to dance but it does help pay for the ballet shoes!
What do the kids think about Mom and all of her dancing work? Did they enjoy watching the show too?
They love it. They came to the live performance and we had much fun as we sat down as a family to watch the TV programme. My daughter dances so she is very proud to have a Mum who is a ballerina. My boys both play golf but they too enjoyed the performance and always enjoy my schools dance shows.
Shona, what is next in life for you as far as dance goes and life in general?
Wow, I really don’t know. If that question had been asked of me 18 months ago I would have said I’m just a dance teacher. Now who knows the sky is the limit! We are all working very hard in the studio each week to train and better ourselves as performers. Hopefully the world will want to see what we have to offer as a dance company as I am certain we have so much more to give. I certainly won’t be stopping dancing anytime soon, I feel like my time has just begun.
Learn more about Shona: