JA Performing Arts

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Our Team

Claire – Co Owner

Claire and her sister Gemma run JA Performing Arts. Claire has many years of experience as a PA/Secretary and has managed our office since 2008.

Claire danced from a very early age taking various ISTD exams in Ballet, Tap and Modern. She trained at The Jacqueline Annis School of Dance through to her teenage years.

Since September 2015 when Jackie retired, Claire and Gemma have been running the school together. Claire and Gemma are very dedicated to the future of JA Performing Arts and have many exciting plans! Claire will always be your first and foremost point of contact for messages, emails and telephone calls – there are not many questions Claire cannot answer!

Claire has two boys with her husband Mark. Zach, aged 13 and Harrison aged 9. When not working, Claire enjoys spending time with her family, walking her dog Lily and running.

Gemma – Co Owner

Gemma and her sister Claire run JA Performing Arts. Gemma trained at the Jacqueline Annis School of Dance until she gained a place at The Midlands Academy of Dance and Drama in Nottingham. There, she completed a three-year Musical Theatre diploma. Gemma loved her time there and was trained by the industries leading professionals. She then went on to perform in many productions, securing both musical theatre and acting roles. Gemma then worked for Colchester Institute and Essex University, becoming Course Leader for the Dance programme.

Gemma left her position there to focus solely on the running of JA Performing Arts with her sister, Claire. Gemma teaches Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip Hop, Musical Theatre and Drama at the school. She has many qualifications from the ISTD and has a Certificate In Education. Gemma is an advocate for professional, technical training and believes students building their confidence and enjoying their time with JA Performing Arts is most important to her.

Gemma and her husband, Simon have a daughter called Beatrice who is 4 years old. When Gemma is not teaching she enjoys spending time with her family, walking her dog Frank, going to the theatre and cooking.

Jackie – Teacher

Jackie retired from JA Performing Arts in 2015 but guest teaches our adult ballet classes. Jackie has a wealth of teaching experience and started dancing at the age of 9 at the “Ivy Baker School of Dance” in Clacton-on-Sea. In 1968, she commenced three-year performing arts and teaching course at the prestigious “Bush Davies” school in Romford where she gained major examinations in ISTD and RAD Ballet, Tap, Jazz and National Dance.

She went on to successfully gain her Associate teaching examinations in Classical Ballet, Tap and Modern Theatre. After owning a school in Colchester for over 10 years Jackie then opened the Clacton-on-Sea based “Jacqueline Annis School of Dance”.

Jackie re-launched the school as JA Performing Arts to reflect the school growth in the Performing Arts. Jackie retired in July 2015; the School is now run by her two daughters Claire and Gemma.

Fiona – Teacher

Fiona teaches ballet, tap and adult tap at JA Performing Arts and has been a part of our team for many years.

Fiona started dancing at the age of three at Tiffany Stage Academy in Clacton-on-sea. Whilst there she took part in the opening ceremony of Euro ’96’ at Wembley stadium and performed in shows at Sadlers Wells Theatre, Her Majesty’s Theatre and the London Palladium.

She also competed in the Marjory Davis Star Tap awards and won 1st place in 1998 in the junior section and outstanding dance in 2000 in the senior section. At 16 she was awarded a full 3-year scholarship to further her training at Bird College and whilst there she played Jessie in ‘Matchgirls’ at The Stag Theatre Sevenoaks, was a featured dancer in the I.S.T.D Gold Tap demonstration DVD, and took part in performances at the Peacock Theatre.

Upon graduating in 2003 she then went on to work as a session singer for various songwriters and also sang at various corporate events. Although she loved to perform, her passion was always to choreograph and now she gets to do that as a full-time dance teacher and hopes to continue to inspire future generations for years to come.

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