SJ Academy of Dance was established in Hedge End in 1992 and became a partnership in 2012. The talented and dedicated team of teachers is led by School Principals Sally O’Rourke and Hannah Gell. There are branches in Chilworth and Chandlers Ford making high quality dance tuition available to girls and boys in the Southampton, Eastleigh and Winchester areas. RAD and ISTD qualified teachers work alongside Principals Sally and Hannah to run a friendly and successful school where talent, potential and a love of dance is nurtured and inspired. Each child is carefully taught to their own individual needs whether dance is a hobby or a vocation, and all have the opportunity to study for exams, consistently achieving excellent result in all genres. Students perform in our school shows held at a professional theatre, providing fun, entertainment and a unique dance experience. Many of our students with aspirations to dance professionally are offered the opportunity to compete in dance festivals and competitions around the country, including the Janet Cram Awards and Marjorie Davis Tap Awards laid on by the ISTD. Many former students following their vocation to dance as a career go on to follow courses in the performing arts at colleges around the country, successfully auditioning to study at Laine Theatre Arts; Bird College of Dance; Arts Educational College; Performers; Urdang Academy; Wilkes Academy; Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts; Scottish Conservatoire; Ballet West; The Place; London Studio; Tring and Royal Ballet School. Some students have gone straight in to professional contracts from their study at SJ Academy of Dance, and many successfully audition for pantomimes and musical theatre roles in local theatres and the West End.
Sally O'Rourke is a graduate of the Royal Ballet School teacher's course, and is fully qualified in teaching classical and modern dance. After graduating from RBS in 1986 Sally danced professionally in Europe before working as a freelance teacher in London, then founded Sally Johnson Academy of Dance in 1992, now SJ Academy of Dance.
Hannah Gell is a graduate of the Hammond School and is fully qualified in teaching
classical and modern dance. On graduation Hannah went on to dance professionally
around the world before returning to the UK to pursue her teaching in various places
around the UK before settling on the South Coast.