Sarah Dean (Principal)

Sarah Dean founded DAPA in 1998, and has personally overseen the school’s emergence as one of the largest and most successful Performing Arts schools in the country. It is a remarkable achievement for a dance school to celebrate twenty years of existence, but even more amazing when one thinks of the thousands of children that have passed through the classes. Before DAPA nobody in East Kent had a chance of seriously training in dance, drama or musical theatre, and now thousands have!

But Sarah has combined her role as the Principal of DAPA with a glittering career as one of Britain’s leading professional choreographers. Her close association with the professional theatre has given many DAPA students the unique opportunity to appear on big stages in major theatres, most notably the DAPA troupe that performed at the Savoy Theatre for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in the presence of Princess Eugenie, the emotional contribution DAPA made to the Stephen Gately Memorial at the Palace Theatre and more recently performing with BGT winners Collabro at the Leas Cliff Hall in Folkestone.

Sarah trained at one of Britain’s leading dance colleges Arts Educational in Chiswick; she had a successful career as a professional dancer for many years appearing in many shows and wide flung places like Tokyo in Japan and Reno in the Nevada Desert (where she starred in The Spirit of the Dance) before settling at the Marlowe Theatre Canterbury and slowly moving from performing to choreography.

Fifteen years ago, Sarah became the Dance Co-ordinator for First Family Entertainment, the country’s leading producer of pantomimes, with overall responsibility for four hundred dancers and nine top choreographers in ten different theatres. Her work in pantomime brought her into contact with scores of celebrities – she taught David Hasselhoff to dance, Priscilla Presley became a friend and took her shopping in Las Vegas, and everyone lost count of the number of dwarfs she taught “Whistle While You work” – though it was always a multiple of seven, she waltzed with Bradley Walsh and pirouetted with Wayne Sleep, plus many, many more amazing memories.

Closer to home, perhaps Sarah’s greatest achievement was “Celtic Journey”, the Irish dance show she devised, directed and choreographed - though creating the St Margarets Festival Ballet has been an enduring pleasure, bringing classical ballet to the village that has become her home. But between all these amazing experiences and brilliant shows, she can still be found at 4pm most days at the Deal Studio in Hamilton Road or The Prince of Wales in Canterbury working with the students at DAPA, taking them that one step further down the road to achieving their dreams.



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