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Interview: Heather is going to Drama School!

Heather started at Song and Dance when she was seven years old, and has grown to be a wonderful young person and a valued member of our team. This week, Heather took up her place to study Drama at TU Dublin Conservatoire. As she starts this exciting new chapter, Rachel sat down with Heather and her dad Brian to chat about her time at Song and Dance, finding her passion, and her plans for the future.

S&D: What do you remember of your first day at Song and Dance, because certainly what we really strongly remember is having to peel you away from your dad’s leg to get you in the door.

Brian: But you did it well! You did it gently!

S&D: Haha, do you remember that, Heather?

Heather: I remember being really nervous. Secretly I think I was enjoying it, I was just too scared to admit it. Drama was my first class, and then dancing. I remember having a conversation with my dad – I really wanted to do dancing, because I could see everyone doing it from outside. My dad was like ‘just go for it, see what happens’. See, when I was at home, there was no stopping me singing, dancing, acting out all my favourite movies, but when I got in front of people, I shut down.

Brian: That started earlier than here. The first school plays in Heather’s primary school, we saw her whole class performing what they had practised, and in behind one of the props, with tears streaming down her face, was Heather. She didn’t run off the stage – she wanted to be there –

Heather: I wanted to be there, but there was so many people.

S&D: We see that all the time here, new kids want to come in but they just can’t let themselves.

Heather: Absolutely. It is nerve-wracking, but I got there in the end!

S&D: So when did you start to settle in?

Heather: I think my second year, I became friends with my gang I’m still friends with, and once I knew that I had someone to talk to when I went in, I felt a bit more comfortable. Because I knew I could trust them, and no one here would ever make fun of me.

Brian: I specifically remember the first two years after S&D finished for the summer, a couple of weeks before coming back, Heather was distraught. She always wanted to go back, but she was crying her eyes out at night going to bed.

Heather: I was so anxious about it.

Brian: And it took until that third year that she didn’t have that about coming back, and then from the fourth year on, they had the same tears when they finished in May!

Heather and her dad Brian

S&D: What have been your standout Song&Dance moments?

Heather: It’s gonna sound so bad, but when I got to the front line. When you’re in the class, that’s a really, really big thing – to get to the front line. And when I got to play Maisie in Seussical. That was the biggest thing ever for me – I had songs, and I had scenes with people. In my little world, I had made it.

Brian: Heather’s first solo on the stage in the Helix, which was ‘Take Me to Church’ by Hozier. That was the first time for Heather to stand in front of several hundred people she didn’t know, and perform. That was the seal broken, and from then, everything was easier.

Heather: Yeah. And I got to wear a microphone and all.

S&D: What has been your favourite class?

Heather: Not just because you’re here, Rachel – but Drama really did give me confidence.

S&D: And with [S&D’s first drama teacher] Lil, too!

Heather: Oh, absolutely. The first play I did, I played a posh lady, I had my hair back in a slick bun, and I was ready until I saw the crowd. I remember she sat me on her lap and said ‘I know you can do it.’ And once she said that, every time I got nervous, I thought ‘no, Lil thinks you can do it, so you can do it.’

Brian: When Heather started in first year, by the second month, she sang a solo on the stage. And that was confidence she wouldn’t have had before.

S&D: You’ve already mentioned your Song&Dance pals, who have turned into your lifelong friends. Are there other things Song&Dance has taught you?

Heather: Working as a group, and having to work with people. Learning that you might feel comfortable doing something, but another person might not, and saying ‘okay, you’re not comfortable? I can help.’

Brian: I also see how Heather works with children. It’s a skill in itself – but I think it has been born of how she was treated and helped here.

Heather as Maisie (Seussical, 2018)

 

Heather: Yeah. I know what’s it like to be that kid who is nervous. I’ve been in their spot. I remember what Lucy and Rachel and Lil and all did for me, so I want to do that for someone else.

S&D: So now, you’re starting drama school! How did you come to the decision to do that?

Heather: I realised, I don’t want it to stop. I don’t want this to be ‘final curtain’. I wanted to keep going. I want to bring new skills to what I do, and I want to perfect it and grow.

Heather with Orlagh in Oklahoma!

S&D: And how do you feel about it, as Heather’s parent?

Brian: Neither myself or [Heather’s mam] Lorraine would ever have a very fixed view of what you must become, but you must have a plan. So when she came and spoke to us both individually to say ‘I have this plan, this is what I want to do’, from our point of view, follow the dream.

S&D: And you’re so lucky, Heather.

Heather: Yeah, I really am. I swore going into my Leaving Cert ‘I am not going to pick a course where I’m going to dread going in to college the next morning’. Like I am never going to dread going into a drama class, or a critical analysis class, or a dance class.

S&D: Yeah. I mean, wait until it’s January, at nine o’clock in the morning…! But, still, knowing that underneath it all, you love it –

Brian: Exactly. I’m sure there’s times where an engineering student has to do… applied maths, or something really boring for them! But last week, we got to download Heather’s timetable, and I could see by her eyes as she was reading through, it’s all she wants.

 

S&D: Anything else to add?

Brian: To see her go to college to do something that’s in her heart and in her mind, that was born here, I think it’s a really lovely progression to see. It’s going to be a good three years.

Categories
News Classes

Classes Resume from 14th September

REOPENING: Tuesday 14th September!

Song and Dance is delighted to resume all classes this autumn.

Government guidelines announced on 31st August 2021 brought some good news for Song and Dance – indoor classes for children and adults can resume (with precautions in place) from 20th September!

Song and Dance is still going to open on 14th September,  ‘thinking outdoors’ in our enclosed yard for one last week. We’ll resume the following activities outdoors:

  • All Junior Classes (Tuesday and Saturday)
  • Musical Theatre Age 7-10 (Tuesday)
  • All Hip-Hop (Wednesday)
  • All Drama Classes (Saturday)
  • All Song&Dance Classes (Saturday)

All other activities, i.e. Musical Theatre (age 11+) and all Choirs, will resume from Tuesday 21st September.

Full Autumn Schedule

We’re almost ready to launch the booking for this term. It will open in phases over the coming days (registered students first, followed by new students). Please keep an eye on your emails for notification of your chance to book a place.

We appreciate your support over the last 18 months, and we look forward to seeing you back at class soon.

Categories
News Song and Dance Studios

Song and Dance Studios Gets New Ventilation System

Hi Ken here, with an exciting update on the latest technical developments here at Song and Dance Studios. The technical team (led by Jimmy ‘The Ideas Man’) are always working away in the background on additions to our facilities. 

The Winds of Change...

As part of our continuous upgrade and improvement programme, we have had our eye on a mechanical ventilation system for some time. Covid-19 accelerated our planning for adding ventilation. We knew it was more important than ever to provide additional amounts of fresh (non-recirculated) air for the Song and Dance kids – for weekly classes and during shows.

Energy Efficiency

As we are always interested in improving our energy efficiency and protecting the planet, we wanted a system that would recycle the heat already in the building so that we can make best use of the electricity and gas we use to keep everyone warm in the colder months.

We're Dancing in the Air: Our New System

So, in October 2020 (with support from Fingal Country Council, the Facebook Small Business Grant, and Stage Lighting Centre) we took the jump, and in true Song and Dance style we went big! A brand-new, state-of-the-art Mechanical Heat Recovery Ventilation system (or MHRV to those in the industry) was installed. It was ‘all hands on deck’, and Jimmy and I had great help from our trusty crew – Noel, Tony, Stephen and Tomás!

How it works: The technical bit

This system uses a high efficiency fan to suck in huge amounts of fresh air from outside, via one big hole in the wall of the studio (see the diagram below). It filters the fresh air and continuously pumps it down the side of the building into Studio 1 and Studio 2.

Another fan sucks air out of the opposite side of Studio 1 and Studio 2 and pumps it back outside through another hole in the wall. At the same time, the machine swaps all of the heat from the air going out into the air going in. This means that the building stays warm, uses as little heating as possible, and we are now getting up to 900,000L of fresh air per hour (previously, we could only achieve this level of air exchange by keeping all windows and doors open).

Air exchange diagram for Song and Dance Studios

A New Ad-vent-ure!

We know that this will help keep us healthy – not just in Covid-19 times, but well into the future – by ensuring our studios are as fresh inside as the sea breeze outside!

Categories
News

We’re back!
Outdoor Classes Starting 8th May

We’re back!

In accordance with government guidelines implemented on 26th April 2021, Song and Dance is delighted to offer Outdoor Dance Classes from Saturday 8th May.

 

The Important Details

Where?

Song and Dance Studios

When?

Saturdays, 8th May – 26th June (8 week term)

Times?

Age 3-4: 10-10.45am

Age 5-6: 11-11.45am

Age 7-8: 12.15-1pm

Age 9-10: 1.30-2.15pm

Age 11-12: 2.45-3.30pm

Age 13-14: 4-4.45pm

Age 15+: 5.15-6pm

 


 

BOOKING IS NOW LIVE – CLICK THE BUTTON BELOW TO START!

Please note, places will be assigned on a first-come, first-served basis.

 


FAQS:

Which class should my child attend? Your child should attend the class for the age that they are right now.  If your child is almost at their birthday and you’d like to move up, please email us at info@songanddanceireland.com to join the waiting list for that class.

How many places per class? We have ample space to hold two pods of 14 children (plus two teachers) in accordance with government guidelines. For Junior age groups (age 3-6), there will be 13 children and 2 adults per pod. Everyone will maintain 2 metre distancing at all times.

What about singing and acting? We have definite approval for dancing right now, but the guidelines around singing and acting are unclear (because of voice projection concerns). We are seeking clarification on whether these activities are permitted outdoors, and if we can get that at any point, we will adapt!

Are you offering weekday classes? While we get back on our feet, and test out this new environment, we’re sticking to Saturdays only. If there’s enough demand, we may consider expanding our offering.

Does my child need to wear a face covering? Under the HPSC guidelines for sporting activities, face coverings are not required for outdoor dance classes. However, if anyone does wish to wear a face covering, they can!

Will we have fun? You bet!