Lisa Wragg with two of her young pupils
From Hillsborough to the bright lights of London, Lisa's back in Sheffield doing what she loves: teaching dance
LMW Dance’s Lisa Wragg on how her dance dreams came true
A born-and-bred Hillsborough girl, I started dancing, acting and singing at an early age. After my A Levels, I took a gap year and started to audition for stage schools. During this time, I worked part time as a student dance teacher and began my IDTA dance teacher training, gaining my first associate teaching qualification, as well as also working part time as a waitress at The Admiral Rodney in Loxley.
After auditioning and being offered a scholarship placement at The Midlands Academy of Dance and Drama in Nottingham, I left home in August 2004 aged nineteen to follow my dream! I took a three- year professional diploma in Musical Theatre/Dance Major and I also took optional evening classes outside my course hours, gaining more IDTA dance teaching qualifications along the way.
After my three years at MADD which I absolutely loved I graduated in July 2007 with Distinction. There was no doubt in my mind that my next stop would be London!
One week after graduation off to London I went. My dad hired a van to move all of my bits and bobs a little bit further down the country!
During my time in London, I did what most performers do around auditioning to make the rent, I worked in cafes, restaurants, pubs, I did the odd bit of flyering and promo work but I always taught. I have always loved teaching and believe that the arts are for all and strive to make performance- based subjects accessible to all. I enjoy watching my students develop new skills and grow in confidence through learning a creative subject and, every now and then, when you get a kid that says that they want to be a performer, well that’s always really special.
Eventually as time went by and I started to build up my CV, make friends and get to know people in the industry I found that I didn’t need to do the hospitality jobs anymore and I was making a living out of been a full time creative both performing and teaching.
It was great – really hard work – but absolutely great! Some of my professional credits include: dancer in Bollywood movie Chikka Bukku; dancer in Bollywood Steps UK Tour; backing dancer for Tinchy Stryder at the UEFA Champions League Final at Wembley Stadium; dancer in The Outcast for the BBC; live dancer and skin artist/Bananas in Pyjamas for the Milkshake Party Party Live TV on Channel 5; actress for Walkers Crisps TV commercial and Principle dancer and understudy Evil Queen in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs at The Mansfield Palace Theatre.
As a teacher I taught all over London in private dance Schools, gyms, leisure centres, academic Schools, teaching both IDTA and LAMDA syllabus work as well as free work and show work both as a sub-contractor for other companies and for my own company LMW Dance that I founded in 2012. I set up LMW Dance during the time that I was still working a second job in hospitality. I would work early mornings/late nights and full weekends, any hour that I could snatch in a local coffee shop and a central London pub around training, auditioning, performing and teaching to fund the cost of the website, flyers and equipment needed to get the company going. I was always on the move from one place to the next, I met some amazing people.
During my spare time in London I would love walking around by Barbican and London Bridge - my favourite bit of London with all the old cobbled roads and view of the river. I loved Covent Garden, especially at Christmas and practically haunted this area of London as that is where my home from home, Pineapple Dance Studios, is based and where I would go to train, audition and where I once taught a Chicago-themed workshop.
I moved around a lot at first and lived both North and South of the river before eventually settling in Bushey, a lovely little nook in Hertfordshire just between Stanmore and Watford. This is where I learnt to drive - something I will be forever proud of doing on London roads… although I didn’t have the Sheffield hills to contend with!
In 2017 after ten years in the Smoke I made the decision to move back home and concentrate solely on my company and open the LMW Dance School back home in Steel City. I moved back last December just two weeks before Christmas. London has been a massive part of my life and will always hold a special place in my heart but I am so loving been back home with my family and having our beautiful country side right on my doorstep.
LMW Dance has just come to the end of its first term in Sheffield with children’s classes in cheerleading, street dance and ballet currently running in the Crosspool and Fulwood areas. It has been a very successful start with good numbers attending all classes and I’m very pleased with how things are going.
I have had several children’s dance and cheerleading party bookings in just the first few months of being back home in Sheffield, which is great!
Looking to the future, I am excited to be launching LMW Dance’s first adult dance fitness class in Walkley in May 2018 and I plan to set up more children’s classes in the styles of musical theatre, rock ‘n’ roll, modern jazz and drama.
I believe that we are always learning and that there is indeed always something to learn and so I am also back in the classroom as a student too with my old dance teacher furthering and adding to my IDTA dance teaching qualifications. It’s all go at the moment but it’s good to be busy and it’s definitely exciting and fun which is what it’s all about!
LMW Dance School runs both children’s and adult’s classes in the Sheffield 6 and 10 areas of the city. Alongside the school, LMW Dance also specialises in wedding dance tuition, private dance and drama tuition, dance and cheerleading parties and shows and events. www.lmwdance.co.uk