Meet the Team
Louise Parkes, M.A. Hons, RAD RTS
Louise Parkes is a registered teacher of the Royal Academy of Dance. She trained in Harrogate, North Yorkshire at the Veronica Robson School of Dance where she spent her early years taking the RAD ballet and IDTA modern dance examinations to vocational level.
Louise went on to take an M.A. in Modern History at the University of St Andrews, where she continued to choreograph and perform and was instrumental in developing student societies for classical and modern dance.
After a highly successful corporate career in Public Relations, Louise retrained under the expert guidance of RAD teachers Anna Gregory and Jane Wheatley to qualify as an RAD teacher. In 2005 she opened her own dance school in Marlow. Now celebrating its 12th anniversary, the Louise Parkes School of Dance has become an extended family of children and adult dancers who have one thing in common – a passion for dance. Whether her students are training for a professional career or dancing as a leisure activity, Louise never loses sight of her role as a mentor, knowing all her students individually and maintaining a ‘hands on’ approach.
Sam Plummer B.A. (Hons) Dance & Theatre, ISTD DDI & DDE in Modern Theatre
Sam’s passion for all things dance including Ballet, Tap and Modern saw her gain numerous distinctions up to Advanced level at the Allied School of Dance where she trained from the age of 3. At 18 she was offered a scholarship at London Studio Centre where she was awarded a B.A. (Hons) in Dance and Theatre.
After graduating, Sam performed professionally with Spirit Productions in 2009 and then decided to qualify with the British Ballet Organisation to become a full time teacher in 2012.
Sam has been with the Louise Parkes School of Dance for over 4 years. In that time she has established a flourishing tap and modern division whilst completing her DDI and DDE in Modern Theatre with the ISTD gaining over 90 per cent in her practical exams.
In addition to managing all the tap and modern classes, Sam teaches ballet from Pre-school to Grade 8 and she plays an integral role in producing and choreographing the school’s bi-annual Shows and Summer Workshops.
Faye Parker, B.A. (Hons)RAD RTS
Faye started ballet at the age of three in Oxford training in the RAD syllabus up to Advanced 1. Early on Faye decided that she wanted to pursue a teaching career in ballet so she became a full time student at the RAD Headquarters in London and graduated in 2013 with a B.A. (Hons) in Ballet Education.
Her love and energy for teaching is such that she balances her work in Marlow with freelancing for several nursery schools, as well as growing her own school in Oxford. As well as teaching both the graded and vocational syllabi, Faye loves nurturing the little ones and parents often comment on her inclusive and inspirational teaching style and are amazed at the progress their children are making.
Born in Italy, Valentina’s ballet and modern training started in Rome and then continued in Trieste where she also achieved an Honours Degree in Marketing before relocating to Amsterdam with her husband.
There she decided to abandon a corporate career for teaching and she trained under the excellent guidance of ARAD teacher Pauline Holden. After completing her IDTA/RAD teaching diploma with honours in 2011, Valentina taught in Amsterdam for a further two years.
She then relocated to Marlow in the UK where she now teaches the RAD syllabus from Grade 1 to Intermediate as well as her very popular adult classes. In addition to syllabus work, all her students love Valentina’s fun and challenging choreography and there’s nothing she likes more than seeing her students reach their full potential.
Darren’s formal training began at the Jackie Palmer Stage School and Agency where he trained in Tap, Modern and Ballet and performed in many theatre, TV and film productions. He soon realised his real passion lay in teaching and he went on to become a fully qualified IDTA teacher (International Dance Teachers Association) and licensed Children’s chaperone.
He taught extensively at JPA and has helped to shape the dance careers of many students who have gone on to perform professionally. During this time he also established, with his business partner, the Step To It Academy in Chesham teaching children and adults of all ages.
Not satisfied with an already busy schedule, Darren freelances for other schools in the Buckinghamshire and Berkshire area and I feel very fortunate to have him at our school where his adult jazz classes are one of the highlights of the weekly timetable and his choreography is much loved by the children. Darren also teaches at our annual 3-day Summer School which is now in its 7th year and he is a key choreographer for our bi-annual shows.