Meet the Team
Louise Parkes, M.A. Hons, RAD RTS
Louise Parkes is a registered teacher of the Royal Academy of Dance and she is a Silver Swans Licensed teacher. 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 16th 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.
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.
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.
Victoria Harley BA (Hons) Ballet Education, LRAD, RAD RTS
A highly accomplished dancer in classical ballet, contemporary, jazz, modern, tap and musical theatre, Victoria’s life has revolved round dance since the age of 3.
She trained in Oxfordshire and went on to complete her teacher training and BA (Hons) Ballet Education degree at the Royal Academy of Dance where she was also awarded her Licentiate. Performance, choreography and contemporary dance became a keen focus for her at the RAD and she went on to form Orbital Arts, a youth performance company which she operates from London.
Victoria has recently moved to Marlow and she teaches A-level dance and BTEC Performing Arts at Henley College and we are delighted that she’s joined our team to share her knowledge and expertise.
Vanessa Jowett ARAD, ISTD Licentiate
An experienced dancer and teacher who trained at the Arts Educational School where she gained her Advanced 2 RAD and ARAD status, Advanced 1 ISTD Cecchetti Classical Ballet, Advanced 1 ISTD Modern and Diploma in Classical Ballet. Vanessa went on to dance professionally with the Festival Ballet Company (now English National Ballet) and Dublin City Ballet Company where she was a soloist.
Vanessa gained her ISTD Imperial Classical Ballet DDI and DDE teaching qualifications and as well as being a Licentiate of the ISTD, she is a fully qualified PBT (Progressing Ballet Technique) teacher.
She was formerly the Head of Ballet at the Elizabeth Fenton School of Dance where, as well as training many students for top vocational schools and colleges, she created a highly successful Talent Development Programme. We are very lucky to benefit from Vanessa’s wealth of experience in training our senior grade students.