Oxford Academy of Dance was founded in April 2001 by Paula Nattrass. It provides high quality professional tuition in RAD Ballet, ISTD Ballet, Tap, Modern and Jazz. Pupils are taken from the age of three right through to adults. The aim of the classes is always to have fun and enjoy the dancing, while also recognising that dance is an art form which requires hard work and dedication to succeed.
All levels of students are catered for from Nursery through to majors.
Principal – Paula Nattrass LISTD, RADrts
Paula trained at the Doreen Bird College of Dance, where she gained full teaching qualifications and at the Drama Studio, London. She worked professionally in both the West End, where shows included Jesus Christ Superstar and Hello Dolly and in repertory theatre at Bristol Old Vic and Birmingham Rep. Film work includes The Scarlet Pimpernel and Ragtime with Donald O’Connor and an Elvis Costello video called “I Write The Book”. Teaching work includes 10 years at the Guildford School of acting, teaching Ballet, Tap, Modern Jazz and Historical Dance as well as choreographing operetta and drama projects.
As well as running Oxford Academy of Dance Paula also teaches Ballet at The Manor Preparatory School in Abingdon.
Ségolène Tarte studied ballet with Geneviève Guillée, of the Paris Opera Ballet, at the “conservatoire municipal du XVe – Frédéric Chopin” (Geneviève danced with the Paris Opera Ballet company for 20 years, reaching the grade of “grand sujet” in 1961; she further sat as a panel member on the jury of the Paris Opera Ballet company’s annual internal promotion contest in the 1980s, whilst teaching at the conservatoire). Ségolène pursued her ballet training in Berne (Switzerland) with Ivana Halamka (soloist at the Prague Chamber ballet, at ballet Karlsruhe, then ballet mistress at the Berne Statdttheater Ballet) and joined the semi-professional company City Ballett Halamka for 5 years where she danced a number of solos, whilst completing a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. In parallel with pursuing her academic career, working as a Digital Humanist in close collaboration with Classicists at the University of Oxford, Ségolène’s move to Oxford in 2008 has seen her debuts as a choreographer, improviser, and ballet teacher. She has shown her work at various venues in Oxford, including at the Pegasus Theatre and the Old Fire Station, and teaches for a number of well-established dance schools in Oxford. Drawing on her training in the French School of ballet and, to a lesser extent, in the Russian School, through her ballet classes, Ségolène strives to share the joy of movement and the subtleties of intention through movement. Her favourite technical foci are: presentation and articulation of the feet and lower legs; fluidity and breath in the movements of the upper body; and precision and clarity in the orientation of the body in space.
Vicky trained as an actress at The Guildford School of Acting. She is currently artistic director of Offcentre Theatre Company, head of performing arts at St. Georges School, Windsor and a part time Lamda tutor. In recent years VIcky has become a very busy musical theatre director and choreographer, recently staging “A Little Night Music” at The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford.
She has danced since the age of four and became a choreographer at the age of sixteen when she took oon a school production of Grease. She has worked for Paula for the last foourteen years creating dances for examinations and helping to choreograph the bi-annual shows.
Georgina Bygott MPhil, CMath, MIMA
Georgina’s dance training has covered many styles of dance – Ballet, Modern, Tap, Ballroom, Latin and Salsa – as well as singing and drama. She trained initially under her mother at Tankerton Dancing Academy. During this time Georgina developed her talent for choreography.
Since 2004, Georgina has enjoyed working with the students at Oxford Academy of Dance, specialising in choreographing tap routines for shows and examinations.