and more reading ideas


I just finished re-reading A Dancer in Wartime, by Gillian Lynne. I highly recommend it to all teachers and older teens and parents. It is good to get a perspective on dancing through difficult times. In fact, perhaps I never told you, but my own teacher, Miriam Williamson, was right there as well, dancing with the Sadler’s Wells at the same time. She used to tell us about dancing while the bombs were dropping… no one ever left the theater. Heroics of an extraordinary measure.

Additionally, I think reading Tamara Karsavina’s Theatre Street, and any of the autobiographies by dancers who experienced the Russian Revolution would also be valuable.

There is also a young adult level book, historical fiction, called Dancing Through Fire, about the Paris Opera House and the fire and war, in 1870. It is by Kathryn Lasky.


Some interesting reading


I would like to share a book that I read a while ago, and am re-reading, as it seems relevant to the current situation, and may inspire dancers struggling with the loss of their classes (or careers). It is not a kids book, best for older teens, but if any of you parents want to read it, you can share the appropriate stories with your dancer. I think it would be fair to say that the more general events of the story, dancing and the war, would apply very well to the experiences of my own teacher, Miriam Williamson, who told us stories of how they were performing as the bombs were dropping, and no one ever left the theater. The show must go on! It is good to get some perspective.

Name: A Dancer in Wartime, by Gillian Lynne. Here are a few reviews:

A Dancer in Wartime: The Touching True Story of a Young Girl’s Journey from the Blitz to the Bright Lights

Gillian Lynne
Penguin Random House, 2012 – Ballerinas – 292 pages

A unique memoir about ballet, World War II, and a peerless group of dancers, this is an irresistible read for all ballet lovers

Gillian Lynne is one of the world’s preeminent choreographers, but she started her career as a ballerina, learning to dance alongside Margot Fonteyn during World War II, and here is the story of her extraordinary childhood. From Miss Madeleine Sharp’s Ballet Class for Young Ladies in Bromley to being evacuated with her theater school to a crumbling pile in rural Leicestershire, and from performing in the West End with doodlebugs falling to touring a devastated Europe to entertain the troops, the early years were hard, exciting, and dramatic. And when the call came to join Sadler’s Wells–well, what ballerina hopeful could have asked for more? An irresistible mix of wartime nostalgia and the story of a leading ballerina’s hard-won path to success, this is the perfect read for all ballet lovers, and is illustrated throughout with exquisitely charming black-and-white photos, programs, and keepsakes.

And here is a very good write up from an amazon review by (S. Riaz)

Gillian Lynne is a choreographer, who began her career as a ballerina. Her mother took her to the doctor as a child, feeling she was hyperactive. As the author says, if such a thing happened now she would undoubtedly be given a named condition, but, luckily for her, the doctor suggested dance class for all that excess energy. So, Jill (as she was then) headed for Miss Madeleine Sharp’s class for young ladies at the Bell Hotel ballroom in Bromley. At ten, she won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dancing, but life was interrupted by the sad death of her mother in an accident (her supporter and greatest champion) in 1939 and then the outbreak of war, which led to her father being recalled to the army (he had also fought in WW1).

Without her mother, Jill could not attend the Royal Academy for classes and ran away when evacuated. However, with the help of family members and the support of her father, she auditioned for the Cone Ripman school. This was a theatre school, strong in dance, but weak in other ares of the curriculum. Bombing meant the school had to move at least twice. A chance concert in London, led to her working with Molly Lake at the Ballet Guild. At the end of 1942 she gave up academic education for ever and was asked to change her name. A professional career was beckoning.

This, then, is the story of one girl during wartime. A girl who dodged bombs to make her way across London from her aunts house to dance class. Who was often noticed and approached by those who recognised her talent – she was appalled when her aunt turned down an approach by Ninette de Valois to join her company (Sadler’s Wells Ballet and Opera), but they agreed to wait until she was eighteen and ask again. In 1944 she did join Sadler’s Wells and danced in the same company as Margot Fonteyn, where she went back to the bottom rung of the ladder and had to make her way up again.

The company suffered along with the rest of the country – bad housing, rationing, broken sleep and danger. Yet, the author claims that her love of dance was so great that she felt no fear as she sat in trains waiting for the bombs to pass. The company were dancing on stage when a doodlebug passed over them and they all stood, poised on stage and listening, until the explosion happened outside and they were able to breath again. There are also tours, to Belgium and France, and later to Germany, to entertain the British and American troops. The author was shocked at the devastation in Germany, despite having lived with bombing for so many years.

This is a story told with no self pity and in a very no nonsense way, much as you imagine the author herself to be. She copes with everything life throws at her and simply gets on with things. It is a fascinating account of those years and of the dedication involved in becoming a dancer. At the end of the book you feel how proud her mother would have been of how far her daughter had come from those early dance lessons to the great dancer, and very sensible young lady, she had become.

Studio update


Hello dancers, families and friends!
I hope you are all doing well and working hard in the garden while practicing your plies and tendus! I am sharing some news with you about the studio…we have moved out of the Solar Suites location. We have all the studio items packed in storage now. Who could have imagined that it would take 8 days to move one little ballet school?
But never fear, we are working on plans to create a new space for SoHum Dancing and will keep you posted when the situation has settled down and we have a secure plan.
Whenever we are able to meet for class again, we can make plans as to how to move forward, as I know we did not finish the session that was paid for, but more important, we did not have a RECITAL!
Stay tuned for further news!


Dear dancers and families, I thought this was a good time to check in with everyone. Unfortunately, I do not have any news to post, just waiting like everyone else to see when we can move forward with our public interactions.
What I would envision for a positive direction, is that classes can resume in May and we could plan our recital for later in June. But…. I am not sure that will happen.
Some teachers are offering Zoom dance classes, but I have not risen to that challenge yet. Would there be a strong interest in some zoom classes? If there is, I could look into the process.
Well, I hope everyone is well, and that we see each other again soon!



Dear dancers, I have decided to cancel classes for the rest of the month until we see how the situation develops. Please stay safe and healthy as we support our community’s efforts to prevent the spread of the covid-19 virus. Enjoy the rain, the sun, and time at home! When we get the go-ahead for classes to resume, we will make plans to reschedule the recital.

Exam Demo


Hi Everybody! This is a bit of a late notice, as my planning was not on task, but I hope some of you can join us! If you cannot come on Wednesday, please feel free to stay and watch your dancer in class on Monday and we will set up chairs for you all!
Exam Demo
Dear parents and families,
We will be doing a demo of the exam prep work the students have been doing in class this session. It will take place Wednesday, March 11 and start around 4:30pm. We hope to show you each of the levels that are participating.
Performing in front of an audience will help the students gain confidence for this year’s exam or prepare them for their first exam whenever that happens.
Students not participating in the exams are welcome to join us, as all students have been preparing the same exercises. We do hope that more students will be part of the exam experience in the future, as we feel more confident in our skills as teachers with the exam protocols and ready to take in more candidates.
Hope to see you there!

New schedule


Winter Session 2020, January 13-May 16

No classes Presidents Week February17-21, and Spring vacation April 13-17

Student Showcase:

Studio group rehearsals Monday April 27 at 4:30, and Tuesday May 5 at 4:30

Recital week May 11-16, at the Redwood Playhouse Wed-Saturday

Load in Tuesday, set up Tuesday and Wednesday

Tech rehearsal Wednesday at 5pm

Dress rehearsal Thursday at 5pm

Performance Friday at 6pm and Saturday at 1pm

Clean up right after show on Saturday

Class information:

Mondays and Wednesdays:

3:30- 4:15 ballet 1, ages 5-6

4:15-5 ballet 2, ages 6-8

5-6:15 ballet 3, ages 9-12

Tuesdays and Thursdays:

4:00-6:00 teens


Pre-ballet, ages 3-4 10am

10-2 teens

Adult ballet Tuesdays at 10













Annual fees: paid once a year, in addition to class fees, which are paid by the session (twice a year)


Registration $10 per year per family

Costume use fee:

pre ballet $35 per year

Ballet1, 2, 3 and teens: $50 per year




Class fees: total amount due is based on number of classes per session, paid at the beginning of the session

pre ballet, ballet 1, 2, and 3:

1x week $12/week

2x week $22/week

Teens: $30/week


All class fees for the winter/Spring Session are based on a 16 week schedule.

1x week $192

2x week $352

teens $400


This is a very long session.  Please let us know if you need to make a payment plan; some scholarships are available.


Contact Kathy, updates on SoHum Dancing on facebook,



Classes Resume


Happy New Year!  I hope everyone has had an enjoyable vacation!

Ballet classes will resume Monday, January 13.  We will be following the same schedule, same students in the same classes.  The only change may be to the schedule for pre-ballet.  We will keep you updated on that.

We will start the session focusing strictly on class work to ensure that all students are familiar with the material in their level.  In May we will have an end of the year Student Showcase at the theater, May 14, 15, 16.  Please mark that on your calendar.  I will post an official session schedule soon.

We look forward to seeing you!

pre-ballet Tuesdays, possibly Thursdays, at 3:30

ballet 1: Mondays at 3:30

ballet 2: Mondays and Wednesdays at 4:15

ballet 3: Mondays and Wednesdays at 5

teens: Tuesday and Thursdays at 4:15, Saturdays at 11

Show Week Notes


SHOW NOTES FOR SHOW WEEK, at the Redwood Playhouse

Wednesday: We will be taking costumes, scenery, flooring, etc. to the theater around noon. Please let us know if you can help for an hour or two.

Wednesday at 5 is the tech rehearsal for all dancers except for Nina’s class.  Please arrive at 4:30 so we can start on time.  We should be done at 6.

Thursday at 5 dress rehearsal starts.  Please arrive at 4:30 so we can start at 5.  We should be done by 6 or 6:30.  This is for all dancers.

We could use a few parents to help set up the chairs before we start.  Please let us know if you can help.

Friday, December 13: performance at 6pm

Saturday, December 14:  performance at 1pm

*Nina’s students arrive 30 minutes before show time, hair and make-up done already

*Natalie’s ballet 1 arrive 45 minutes before show time, hair and make-up done

*Natalie’s ballet 2 arrive 45 minutes before show time, hair and make-up done

*All of Kathy’s students arrive 2 hours before show time for warm ups and prep, some rehearsal

Saturday after the show we will clean up.  We will need a few parents to stay after and help put away chairs, etc. 

Goodie table:  We will be setting up a table for refreshments.  If you can bring some cookies or easy to hold snacks, that would be great!

Backstage moms: We will need two moms/grandmas to help backstage during the show with the younger dancers. This basically involves making sure they are all ready to go on stage, and getting them to the bathroom if there is a need.  Please let us know if you are available to help.  After Nina’s dancers have performed, we will allow a moment between scenes for them to get with their families in the audience.

Seating:  If you are planning to watch the show, please purchase a ticket at the door.  If this is a problem, please let us know, as we can always accept help in exchange for tickets. 

We ask that seats are saved ahead of time for audience members with special needs only.  Thank you.