PUTTING ON A PERFORMANCE!
To tell you the truth I haven't actually met Gemma, its not intentional (but are followers on those pesky little Instasquares) but we've never got a time in to have a coffee and once you've read how Gemma's day pans out you'll know why!
Intrigued and inspired by her writing through @gemslittletreasures I approached Gemma to be part of the stylishschoolruncommunity and I am so glad I did. She is the epitome of all us working mums - juggling small children and family life but taking a chance early in her career. Following her dreams, taking that leap and through hard work and dedicated she has made something she loves into her daily life. Its not quite 'do what you love and you never have to work a day in your life' but more 'let the beauty of what you love be what you do!' She teaches, she coaches, she loves, she inspires and she nurtures budding young talent to grow, develop friendships, learn techniques and build confidence all needed to not only follow their dreams but succeed in the tough environment of performing arts. Intrigued... read Gemma's story...
Tell me, a little bit about yourself…
Hey, I’m Gemma and I am a wife, mother of 2 boys (5 and 1yr), a family/lifestyle blogger and Owner of Stage Plus School of Performing Arts in Princes Risborough. I also volunteer at my local Youth Theatre, offering up my Sundays to choreograph for Panto’s and Musicals throughout the year. When I have a minute I love spending time with my friends, reading, going to the theatre and being horizontal on my sofa with a G&T a packet of crisps and a good box set.
How did you get into Performing Arts?
I danced from a very young age and it was my safe haven, somewhere I loved to be, doing something that made me feel free. My dance school became family and at 18 after my A-levels I decided to continue my studies and audition for a professional dance college. After 2 years I graduated from North London Dance Studio with a Diploma in Performing Arts and my ISTD teaching qualifications. After a few years of performing abroad (which was one of the best times of my life) I was offered the opportunity to buy a long standing school that I was covering maternity leave at. I was only 23 and it was scary but something I had always dreamed of, I couldn’t believe it was happening – though a very tough learning curve.
Why Stage Plus?
I was lucky in the fact that it almost fell on my lap. After returning from performing abroad due to a death in the family I covered maternity leave and lessons for a few local dance schools to earn some money. I was planning on returning to my show in Tenerife but it closed suddenly at the same time that I met my now husband. Then one day the lady who had started Stage Plus back in 1983 said she was planning on moving abroad and would I be interested in buying the school. I couldn’t believe it and although maybe I should have done a slightly better bargaining job and a little bit more research, it was certainly one of the best decisions I’ve made, even when I sometimes think I must be crazy!
What's your usual week / day look like?
Always Up and about by about 6.30am with the kids and getting everything sorted to get my eldest to school, before heading home for a bit of playtime with the little one. While he naps out comes my laptop and I get going on emails, advertising and general administration for the School, making phone calls, editing music, prepping classes. When P wakes we either head out to the park or have some time reading books, building blocks or watching a film before lunch. When he naps again in the afternoon I get back to the laptop, prep dinner (or if I’m lucky grab half hour with a cuppa and my book) before doing the school run. My in laws then come round to look after the kids while I head off to teach classes from 4-9. On the nights I’m at home we then have to go through homework, dinner, bath time and bed routine before getting a moment to collapse on the sofa with that Gin.
What inspires you?
So many people. My husband for his constant PMA, My graduate students for showing me where hard work and dedication can get you, My dance teachers for giving me something to aspire to, mums everywhere for doing so well at keeping most of the balls juggling. I have some friends who make it look so easy and some that I know find it to be chaos but the love they have is immense and my kids are a great reminder to take a step back and be present and a little crazy from time to time. Which is much needed when running your own business and trying to do it all.
What did you want to be growing up?
A Dance or PE teacher! Dreams do come true!
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Besides my own kids, its certainly my dance kids. Watching them grow and develop their confidence, technique and friendships all under my wing is so wonderful to watch. Seeing how many of my students have gone off into the world of Performing Arts, be that on the stage or behind the scenes or have told me how much their training at Stage Plus has shaped them into the person they are today is such an amazing feeling.
What’s next on your to do list?
It’s never-ending for sure but currently it’s choreographing a lot of new dances for a show at the Waterside, Aylesbury in April as well as planning our summer awards ceremony. I would like to complete a Studio Management course I’m currently doing but struggling to fit it in at the minute.
I would also love to build my blog. I used to write quite a bit but at the end of last year with our show taking over gemslittletreasures was the thing to take a back burner. I am back to writing at least one post a week but would like to learn more and increase my following.
When are you happiest?
One of my favourite places is at the Theatre, whether that’s watching a show, directing one or performing in it myself (which I still do from time to time). Other than that a Sunday Morning with all 4 of us crammed in to our bed reading stories, dozing and cuddling up.
When was the last time you laughed out loud?
Earlier today having a Tickle fight with my youngest. His giggle is just too much!
How as women, can we help to empower others?
Positivity, Support, simply being there and helping women realise they are not alone. Cheering people on! I have always wanted to prove people wrong and I believe that you can achieve anything you put your mind too-you will just need to ask for help occasionally. You do not have to do things alone and to have a wonderful group of people around you simply lifts you higher.
What’s your style?
Comfortable! I used to live in dancewear but have tried to mix it up a bit more on the days that I don’t teach, and then I am a jeans, jumper, boots girl.
Yes the naughty stuff gin, chocolate and crisps. And I’m not great at moderation!
If someone thinks you can’t do something – prove them wrong! Especially if that person is yourself (this bit I struggle to add sometimes)
Can’t live without…
My Family (mascara and a G&T)
Get in touch with Gemma