About Us

Awards & All England Dance Finals

We also enter pupils for the Janet Cram Modern dance Awards each year. The semi-finals are held in Swindon and those who qualify will dance in London. Former pupil Kerry-Anne O'Brien who went on to The Royal Ballet Upper School won the Premier section in 2004 and James Mackie who went on to train at Laine Theatre Arts won the Boys Cup in 2006. In 2013 Emily Russell was awarded Runner Up in the National Finals at Cecil Sharpe House London. She has also just won the 2015 Class Award in the Senior section.

Brad Corben followed in James footsteps and won the Premier section in 2008 and went on to win a Gold medal at the All England Dance Competition finals in 2009 at the Peacock Theatre London. Brad Corben also won the boys Award in 2012. Other medal winners 2009 were Chantelle Shortland, Jaimie Thomas, Lottie Smith and Lily Laight Silver medalists for Ballet/Modern Ballet and Character.

In 2011 Buckingham Dance Studios Classical Group and Junior Modern Group were awarded honours and special commendations. 2013 was a good year for the school with Alicia Sandercock taking home 4 gold medals in the semi-finals and 2 bronze medals in the finals, along with being awarded honours and a special commendation. Clara Chamberlain won a bronze medal, and along with Sister Chamberlain were both awarded honours and special commendations. Suni Scott was the winner of the Gold Medal in Modern Ballet.

Every year pupils are awarded places in the London finals.

Fonteyn Nureyev Young Dancer of the Year Awards.

The School has also enjoyed enormous success with pupils entered for this new and very prestigious award. In 2006 pupils from Buckingham Dance Studios won three out of the four places available for dancers from the South (from Bristol down).

The finals were held at The Lowry Centre, Manchester. Oliver Taylor pictured receiving his award from Dame Antoinette Sibley won the Junior section and Matilda Naylor came runner up in the Senior section.

West End Staring Role for Pupils

Pupil Oliver Taylor landed the role of Billy Elliot in Londons West End in 2007, the school organised a trip to see him whilst dancing in the All England Finals of 2007.

In 2010 another pupil, Reece Barrett, successfully auditioned for Billy Elliot this time in the role of Michael.

Graduates from Buckingham Dance Studios

  • 2001 Helen Collins scholarship to Bird College of Performing Arts
  • 2001 Adam French scholarship to Bird College of Performing Arts
  • 2001 Claire Edworthy scholarship to Bird College of Performing Arts
  • 2002 Wesley Waring full scholarship to Laine Theatre Arts
  • 2003 Lucy O'Neill scholarship to Performers College
  • 2004 Sophie Gilbert scholarship to Tring Park Arts Educational
  • 2004 Kerry-Anne O'Brien scholarship to The Royal Ballet Upper School
  • 2004 Anna Shircliff scholarship to Elmhurst Birmingham Royal Ballet
  • 2005 Emily Gilbert scholarship to Tring Park Arts Educational
  • 2005 Laura Pinsent scholarship to Tring Park Arts Educational
  • 2005 Hannah Evans scholarship to Laine Theatre Arts
  • 2006 James Mackie scholarship to Laine Theatre Arts
  • 2007 Eleanor Sharpe scholarship to English National Ballet School
  • 2008 Matilda Naylor full scholarship tp Ballet Rambert
  • 2008 Lucy Dennis full scholarship to Whitelodge Royal Ballet Junior School
  • 2009 Brad Corben full scholarship to Laine Theatre Arts
  • 2009 Chantelle Shortland full scholarship to Laine Theatre Arts
  • 2009 Laetitia Coulson full scholarship to Italia Conti
  • 2009 Georgi Franks full scholarship to Italia Conti
  • 2009 Bethan Moorhouse full scholarship to Italia Conti
  • 2010 Lottie Smith full scholarship Bird to College of Performing Arts
  • 2010 Ellie Carwithen full scholarship to The Urdang Academy
  • 2011 Aimie Marles Elmhurst Birmingham Royal Ballet full scholarship
  • 2012 Georgia O'Reilly London Studio Centre full scholarship
  • 2012 Billy Ron Scott Arts Educational Tring Park full scholarship
  • 2013 Bradley Howell full scholarship to Elmhurst Birmingham Royal Ballet School
  • 2014 Alicia Sandercocks Arts Educational Tring Park full scholarship
  • 2015 Letitia Lane full Scholarship to Performers College
  • 2016 Tiffani Bradshaw- Laine Theatre Arts Epsom Surry
  • 2016 Brianna Sandercock - Italia Conti Theatre School London


Pictured here, Alicia Sandercock. Winner of 4 gold medals in the semi-finals and 2 bronze medals in the finals.

Royal Ballet Associate programme

The school also encourages pupils to audition for The Royal Ballet Outreach Programme, which enables children from age nine to sixteen can travel to Bristol or London to attend classes with members and ex members of The Royal Ballet Company.

Over the past fifteen years a total of 26 pupils from BDS have attended the RBS Outreach Programme.

There are now classes available at Dartington Hall.


But you don't have to be an expert or a budding ballerina to join Buckingham Dance Studios with plenty of Modern, Tap, Jazz and Street Jazz style classes. It's a fun way for your children to exercise and be a part of something they will remember all their lives.


The Teaching Staff

Pamela de Waal - ARADAdv Solo Seal fellowship ISTD & UK British federation & All England Panel Adjudicator.

Founder of the School which she ran for 45 years after leaving The Festival Ballet (now ENB) Pamela De Waal handed over into the extremely capable hands of Pollyanna Buckingham in 1999. She remained as active as ever helping with festival work, and toured the length and bredth of the country as an All England Adjudicator, annoucing at the London Finals in 2009. She influenced so many dancers including Derek Deane and Lauren Cuthbertson, and so many hundreds of others, teaching them the love of dance. Sadly in 2011 she lost her battle with cancer, but she lives on in all the teaching staff at Buckingham Dance Studios.



Pollyanna Buckingham - ARAD PDTC Dip. LONDON AISTD BBO

Pollyanna started dancing at three at the Pamela de Waal School of Dancing. At sixteen she went to full time training at Doreen Bird College of Performing Arts where she gained her Teaching Associates. Pollyanna went on to dance professionally for twelve years in shows such as Starlight Express, Cats, and Beauty and the Beast to name but a few. During this time she also choreographed numerous pop videos and pantomimes. In 1992 Pollyanna attended the Professional Dancers Teachers Course at the Royal Academy of Dance London, where she graduated with distinction. She has since taught for the Academy on International Summer Schools in London, Germany and Italy. In 1997 Pollyanna choreographed the full-length ballet of Jayne Eyre for the London Children’s Ballet. It remains today their most popular production and was in fact repeated again this year under the supervision of Fiona Chadwick from the Royal Ballet, overseeing Pollyanna’s original choreography from ten years ago. Pollyanna returned to Devon in 1998 to choreograph festival work for what was her previous school, Pamela De Waal School of Dance, and in 1999 was asked if she would like to take over the school. Since then the school has gone from strength to strength, attaining some of the highest exam results in the country and every year boasting a 100% success rate at Merit or Distinction level with two pupils - Olivia Ford and Elizabeth Thorpe - attaining 99 marks. Over the past ten years of running the school Pollyanna has enjoyed enormous success in the West End with two pupils performing the two leads in Billy Eliott. In 2007 Oliver Taylor took to the stage as Billy, and Reece Barrett is now in his second contract appearing as Michael. Reece was a novice tap dancer until Working Title Pictures gave Pollyanna just four months to turn him into a pro.

Kim Hooper - AISTD

Kim trained at Laine Theatre Arts, Epsom where she completed a dance teacher diploma and was awarded Associate Teaching Qualification in Modern and Ballet. In her final year she was head girl. One of her first jobs was the musical Funny Girl starring Marti Caine. Kim has appeared in many summer seasons and pantomimes working with Jim Davidson, Brian Conley, Cannon and Ball, the Nolans and many others. Her dancing career has taken her all over the world taking part in trade shows, cabaret and even a magic/circus show in Copenhagen for the late Jeff Richer. Whilst working for Brian Rogers Kim made many television appearances in the New Entertainers and the Royal Variety Show. Now, Kim is very happy teaching for Pollyanna at Buckingham Dance Studios.





Jaqueline Weeks - ARAD AISTD

Jaqui started dancing in Exeter with Miss Joyce Hoare and continued her training in London with Phyliss Bedells and the Royal Ballet School. She danced professionally in London and Essex before returning to Exeter to teach for Miss Olga Cooper, a RAD Major Examiner, and Miss Pam De Waal. Miss Jaqui as she is now known has been teaching at the school for over thirty years and her wealth of knowledge is greatly appreciated.




Lucy O’Neill - AISTD

Lucy started dancing at the age of five. When introduced to Pollyanna at fourteen she started to take more interest and continued on taking her teaching associates. Three years later, she graduated from Performers College with a Diploma in Dance Theatre. Since then she’s worked for various artists in the pop industry, such as The Scissor Sisters, NDubs, Tinchy Strider, Taio Cruz, Marina and the Diamonds, Cee Lo Green and Mel B from the Spice Girls. She toured the world with musical theatre legend Sarah Brightman with her arena tour performing at such places as Madison Square Gardens, NY, and also performed on celebrity TV series with John Barrowman, Justin Lee Collins and Peter Kay. Was part of the Tap Dogs for a private performance for the Queen and Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace, worked with the famous Osmond family in a Christmas Special Show in Niagara Falls, then onto being a part of the Playboy 50th Anniversary huge production show in South Carolina and recently finished an international tour of the Michael Jackson show Man In The Mirror as the main featured female dancer… Now recently married, Lucy has decided to go from Buckingham Palace to Buckingham Dance Studios to choreograph dances for festivals, to start a new hip hop/commercial and contemporary class! Lucy is looking forward to getting her teeth stuck in with the pupils and try to inspire them with something new, the way Pollyanna did with her!

Georgina Johnson - ARAD AISTD BTEC

Georgina joined Buckingham Dance Studios at the age of 12 in 2005. She has appeared in numerous shows as both a dancer and principal roles. Georgina has performed in the Babbacombe summer season as a junior and Paignton Pantomime starting as a Junior when she was seven and then progressing through the ranks to a dancer and now a principal! She has been fortunate enough to play her all time favourite, Cinderella, in 2011/2012 as well as several fairies in past years. This year she is playing the title role of Sleeping Beauty. Georgina completed a two year BTEC Performing Arts Course and now enjoys teaching Tap and Greek at Buckingham Dance Studio. She wishes everyone a brilliant show, a great Christmas and fantastic New Year!!




Elaine Johnson - AISTD

Elaine started dancing at the age of 7 years and trained at dance college for a further 3 years, training to teach. However at the age of 19 when she performed in pantomime to get her equity card, she loved performing so much, she put the teaching on hold and continued to do numerous professional shows, dancing in pantos, summer seasons and hair and fashion shows, some of which she choreographed. Elaine came to Torbay to do a summer season and settled here. In more recent years she has choreographed for many local societies in the Bay, Exeter and Exmouth. She has taught National Curriculum Dance and also taught for Impact Stage School for 3 years. Elaine is currently involved with a company called Theatre Learning, and regularly performs in Murder Mysteries, which she has been doing for ten years, along with choreographing Paignton Pantomime Productions. Elaine loves helping out at Buckingham Dance Studios and watching the youngsters grow and develop in confidence.

Sonora Dicker

Sonora was accepted by Elmhurst Birmingham Royal Ballet School at the age of 11yrs where she studied from 2004-2008, during this time she danced with The National Youth Ballet.

She attended BDS for a year to take her Advanced 2 RAD Ballet, for which she gained Distinction before successfully auditioning for Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance.

In 2010 & 2011 Sonora was a semi-finalist in the Genee Awards in both London and South Africa.

Sonora then attended a degree course in classical ballet at Ballet West, before dancing with the company in Swan Lake. To complete her training Sonora then went on to the Imperial College London to gain her RAD Teachers Certificate, and has been teaching out in Florida at the Sarasota Academy. We are very fortunate to have Sonora return home to the West Country and join the BDS teaching staff.



Audra Mitchesson - Drama Teacher

Having debuted on the West End stage at 11years old in BugsyMalone Audra's career continued within the musical theatre world. She has appeared in many BBC and ITV productions and performed as a soloist at many prestigious venues like The Royal Albert Hall, O2 Indigo and many many more. Born in Brixham and educated at Dartmouth Community College, she has always flitted from her home town to London incorporating some UK tours on her way.

As a teacher she has taught Musical Theatre Performance Workshops for students from all over Europe, Drama therapy workshops for Seale Hayne, Street Dance workshops in local and Devon schools and most recently held Drama and Dance workshops for UK, European and International Latin and Ballroom championship dancers in between teaching drama for over 15 years! Audra has also worked with many outstanding actors, choreographers and directors such as – Roger Redfarn, Sam Mendes, Gillian Gregory, Richard Armitage, Meg Johnson, Brian Glover, Martin Clunes, Kin Criswell and Mickey Dolenz to name but a few.

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