For years Angelina Hayward-Simas taught dance for other people. Now she’s dancing to her own tune, with the opening of Vision School of Dance in Pembroke.
She is currently holding summer dance workshops at the school, and will start the first term on September 16.
“I just wanted to grow and further my dancing skills and teach a lot of different varieties and creativity to dancers,” said the 35-year-old, who taught at Jacksons School of Performing Arts for 16 years.
In addition to standard fare such as ballet, tap and jazz, she’ll be offering hip hop classes for boys, a range of options for adult dancers and dancehall and afrobeat classes.
She hopes to get her students performing at different events around Bermuda for different holiday events, at parties and at nursing homes. She’d also like to take her students abroad to perform and take workshops.
A particular dream of hers is to see her students perform at Busch Gardens in Tampa, Florida.
She describes her style of dance teaching as “very creative”.
“Technique is one of the most important things,” she said. “I like to keep things fun, and also I love to build up children’s self esteem when they are learning. I try to make sure that students come to class happy and leave happy. Also, keeping the parents happy is a big thing.”
She said today’s generation of children tend to lose interest in things very quickly.
“I always have to stay on top of things and make sure they stay interested,” she said.
In addition to teaching classes at the new studio, she’ll also be teaching dance in several schools on the island.
She started dancing at Jacksons when she was three years old. While she took to dance immediately, she didn’t necessarily give her teachers an easy time.
“I spent a lot of time in the coo-coo corner,” she laughed.
But at 12, she was entranced when she watched senior dancers performing in a recital.
“Their performance was just so beautiful,” she said. “I loved the gracefulness. There was one piece I remember seeing by teacher Barbara Frith. It was a jazz piece. That dance just blew me away. I thought this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.”
As an adult she did intensive training at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.
So far, she has three other instructors hired, and 45 students signed up, and could take up to 250.
“I wouldn’t put more than 20 students in a class,” she said.
Vision is located upstairs of the Treecon Building at 1 Cemetery Road, Pembroke. The studio is 1,900 sq ft, and has an office, changing rooms, a shower, kitchen and dance store.
“What I love about this location is I have private parking for parents,” she said. “Across the street there is a café where dancers can grab a bite to eat. Five minutes away there is The Garden Market and Buzz. It is very convenient. It is also walking distance from a lot of schools.”
Ms Hayward-Simas said going out on her own was scary at first.
“I was thinking of the what-ifs,” she said. “But ever since I made the decision I am very happy.”
She said she’s excited and so are her students, parents and teachers.
“The biggest challenge has been to get the place ready because of time and commitments,” she said. “Another big challenge is trying to get students, and also for my summer programme, are they happy? Do they like what I am doing? Will they continue in the future?”
She will take students from two years old to adulthood.
The tagline of the school is ‘power of dance’.
“We want to prove to Bermuda that we are going to be one of Bermuda’s premier dance schools on the island,” she said.
She thanked her friends and family for their support through the process.
On Friday, Vision will holding its summer dance recital at 7pm at City Hall in Hamilton. Tickets are $25, available from www.bdatix.bm or from the City Hall Box Office.
On August 24 and September 7 the school will be holding open houses at its premises on Cemetery Road.
The first class is $200, and there are discounts on the second and third class. There is also a sibling discount of five per cent off the price.
• For more information e-mail email@example.com or call 705-0206.