Instep dance company started in 1980, when Jackie Mortimer (founder and Artistic director) saw a demand for an after school dance class for students at Brockhill Park Performing Arts College( then St Leonard's Secondary School for girls ) in Hythe, Kent where she was teaching Dance and PE. The classes started with 14 students, some of whom now work at Instep !
Jackie soon expanded and was asked to start a class at the Marsh Academy (then Southands School ) but as the demand at BPPAC increased the class at the Marsh Academy had to cease . Many of those Southlands students came over to BPPAC to carry on their classes, expanding the demographic and the reach of classes and creating the first step towards Instep becoming a community dance project.
Instep became an essential part of the youth dance scene developing a reputation regionally and nationally in festivals and competitions for Youth Dance Companies.
After Jackie had her daughter she started classes for preschool children, whose mothers also asked if they could have their own class !
Then as Jackie returned to teaching full time, those children and mothers wanted to continue and so did their brothers and sisters !! From small acorns .....
Instep has gone from strength to strength and now Instep runs 3 company classes on a Wednesday, for students who have gained a place through an audition . This is Instep's gifted and talented strand for those who wish to take dance more seriously and perhaps aim to study it further.
Alongside this strand Instep offer additional classes on a Thursday for children and adults of all abilities from pre school to age 30 .
These classes offer the chance to develop skill and confidence in an environment where everyone is valued for their contribution. . Students are encouraged to learn physical and expressive skills and to think creatively developing the confidence to work alone and with others .
The philosophy here is still to strive for excellence and to be totally inclusive. This can be hard to achieve but through a culture of celebration we have achieved that balance.
Instep also runs a company for elders on a Wednesday afternoon. These dancers aged between 45-79 have recently performed at Sadler’s Wells theatre and were the only dance company there to represent Kent.
In 34 years Instep has formed a reputation of being one of the best youth dance companies in the Country having enjoyed considerable success with over 40 students going on to study dance at Universities and conservatories and many going on to establish careers in dance ranging from teaching to performance.
Currently, six dance departments in our regional schools are either being led by or include ex Insteppers , (Folkestone School for Girls, Homewood, Brockhill, Highworth Grammar and Mascalls School)
Past members are also currently dancing with the Ballet Boyz , Verve Dance Company, Lila Dance and National Youth Dance Company .