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Sarah Dean (Principal)

Sarah Dean trained at The Arts Educational School in Chiswick and then went on to become a professional dancer performing in the UK, Europe, Japan & America. Sarah founded DAPA in 1998. In addition to overseeing the running of two Performing Arts Academies she is one of Britain's busiest professional choreographers. Her close connections with the professional theatre gives DAPA a unique opportunity to prepare ambitious students for careers in the arts, and gives all pupils the chance to appear on big stages in real theatres.

For the last ten years Sarah has also been the Dance Co-ordinator for First Family Entertainment, the country's leading producer of pantomimes. Each year she has overall responsibility for over 350 dancers and ten top choreographers, working at Brighton Theatre Royal, Bristol Hippodrome, Bromley Churchill Theatre, Glasgow Kings, Liverpool Empire, Manchester Opera House, Milton Keynes, Richmond Theatre, Stoke Regent Theatre, Sunderland Empire, Wimbledon Theatre and Woking New Victoria. Sarah regularly choreographs London's biggest pantomime at The New Wimbledon Theatre and has worked with an array of stars: Bradley Walsh, Flawless, David Badella, Louise Dearman, Steve McFadden, Suzanne Shaw, Brian Blessed, Paul O’Grady, Ruby Wax, Anita Dobson, Pamela Anderson, David Hasselhoff, Richard O’Brien, Louie Spence, Barry Humphries, Ben Adams, Pricilla Presley, Wayne Sleep, Ashley & Pudsey, Eric Potts, Tim Vine, Warwick Davies……and many more!!!

Sarah produced her own production Celtic Journey - the hugely successful Irish Dance show which opened at the Marlowe Theatre in 2004 and went on to play at The Churchill Theatre, Bromley, The Stevenage Theatre and returned to the Marlowe in 2013.

Like most DAPA students, Sarah began dancing as a very young child at her local dance school. She was born in North London and started attending classes from the age of two. Her family moved to Bedford when she was ten, and a whole new range of dance opportunities opened up. Her best friend at school was Irish, and before long they were attending Irish Dance classes together. Sarah achieved National Champion status, and acquired a skill that would one day see her land a leading role in Spirit of the Dance in the USA. However, back in Bedford she kept up her ballet, tap and modern, and her obvious talents steered her towards the career of a professional dancer. She trained for the stage at Arts Educational School in Chiswick. Even before graduation contracts flowed. As a performer Sarah appeared in numerous productions in Britain, Ireland, Europe and Japan. By 1994 she had established a base in East Kent and her close association with the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury began. She appeared in the next eight pantomimes, and played Tiger Lily in Peter Pan opposite Toyah Willcox and Dave Willetts. Between stage roles, she can list many television credits including EastEnders, Dangerfield and Family Affairs. After a highly successful career as a professional dancer, she began choreographing twenty years ago.

As a choreographer Sarah was responsible for ten pantomimes at The Marlowe Theatre Canterbury, before moving on to the First Family Productions. She choreographed celebrated productions of Oliver! starring Ron Moody as Fagin, Annie with Vicki Michelle, The Wizard of Oz starring Stephen Gately, Peter Pan starring Brian Blessed, and The Mystery Plays in Canterbury Cathedral with Edward Woodward playing God. Sarah is also the Artistic Director and Choreographer for the St Margarets Festival Ballet - producing full scale ballets with stunning sets and beautiful costumes - giving local children the chance to work with professional ballet dancers. In between all these shows, she can be found at 4pm most days at the DAPA Dance Centre in Deal or The Prince of Wales in Canterbury working with the students at DAPA!

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