More pupils have followed suit, with pupils appearing in Cbeebies trailers, Little Einstein & pantomime & musicals.
As a School pupils have taken part in Charity Events, our own School Productions & I.D.T.A. & L.A.M.D.A. Examinations, and our most recent honour was to be selected by Mox Productions/BBC Worldwide to take part in a new TV programme “Best In Town”, which was aired in the Asian Region, Nordic Region, South Africa &, in July, in the UK on Watch TV. I won the Big Test, which was a challenge at the Crescent Theatre in Birmingham.
Our move into Handsworth Wood in the 90s gave us a change of scene with more local children attending classes. Now here, we are still striving to give our experience and love of dance to many more children and adults.
I am fortunate to have a daughter who has caught the love of dance & now works alongside me, as our founder (mom) and I did, and continues to teach our stars of tomorrow, in the same manner as our Founder Principal taught us.” As our students become more advanced they too can come & learn to teach. For experience, sometimes past pupils call in to work alongside us.
May I thank everyone for their continued support & dedication shown in the job I love and have loved for the past 42 years, since becoming a member of I.D.T.A. & receiving my 40 year life membership in 2012.
Sue Bellingham, Principal
Miss Sue gained an educational scholarship to train full time at Birmingham Theatre School at the age of 17, where she continued her dance training and also studied Speech, Drama, Mime, Fencing, Make-up and Stage Management. She became a professional dancer and actress appearing in Repertory at the Alexandra Theatre, Derby Playhouse and Pantomime and made her first TV performances in BBC’s Newcomers and ATV’s Crossroads. She gained her
L. A. M. D. A. qualification in 1970 and her I. D. T. A. qualification in 1972.
As we went into the 1970’s Miss Sue married our School Administrator, Mr Pete Banford, and the school name changed to Bellford Stage School. It was around this time our patron, Toyah Willcox, became a student and trained in dance with Sue, who was now also holding a children’s dance class at the Birmingham Theatre School where Miss Rawlins was the dance teacher in the day school for students aged 16 and above.
Sue became unwell during the 70’s and her work in TV stopped, but she still found the strength to carry on teaching and this helped her through her years of illness and the loss of our joint principal, Stage Director and her father during 1977.
Miss Rawlins and Miss Sue continued to teach and the school became very busy with excellent examination results, pupils taking part in dance competitions and show work. Miss Sue had her very own little pupil, Miss Hayley-Roxanna, and a few years later a brother for Hayley. The 80’s were excellent years with yet more students gaining high examination results and winning medals and trophies in competitions and championships.
Miss Hayley began her dance lessons at the age of 2 and won her first gold medal at 3. During the late 80’s Miss Sue began working again in the occasional TV programme, such as Soldier Soldier, Chancer, Boon, Woof, etc., with sometimes Hayley and her son working alongside her. At the age of 8 Miss Hayley had her first professional stage job in “Wind In The Willows” at the Birmingham Rep. She won numerous awards for examinations, dance competitions & West Midlands tap championship. She still passed her 11+ entrance examination to King Edwards Grammar School, where she gained 11 GCSE’s, 4 “A levels & a place at Birmingham University, graduating with a B.Sc. in Mathematics & Psychology, and a PGCE in Education, whilst still attending dance classes & studying for professional dance examinations.
After years of studying dance, working in the theatre, cabaret and radio as a soubrette and dancer, Miss Dot Rawlins founded our school in 1952 as The Dot Rawlins School of Dance.
It was here, that for many years, children of all ages were trained and gained the experience of appearing in dance productions under the direction of Miss Rawlins and Percy Bellingham (her late husband and joint Principal of the school). He, like Miss Rawlins, had been a professional entertainer, who from the age of 12, toured in the theatre for many years, both before and during the war years. After the war they married.
At the start of the 60’s the school’s name was changed to the Dot Rawlins Stage-Dance School and was going from strength to strength. Pupils began to take tuition from Miss Sue Bellingham, a student teacher, who was trained by her Mum and Dad from the age of 4 and decided that this was the career she wanted to follow.