Modern & Jazz
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Past Pupils.
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Helen Barton L.I.S.T.D.

Helen Barton was born in Bangor and lived locally in Holyhead. She began dancing at the age of 3 years, joining the Holyhead School of Dance, which was then run by Mrs Mae Thickens, at the request of her doctor as she suffered from asthma! At the age of 17 she successfully auditioned for a place at the Merseyside Dance and Drama Centre in Liverpool, which she attended for three years. During her training she gained all ISTD Advanced 2 dance exams and her Associate (AISTD) teaching qualifications.


Following her graduation she then performed professionally for almost four years, travelling around

the world with various dance companies. Helen has performed with a dance group which toured the UK, and performed in various theatres in Europe. She was lucky enough to be offered a 6 month post in a theatre in Singapore, followed by 3 months in theatre in Israel. Helen was then offered a teaching post

at Merseyside Dance and Drama Centre by the principal Miss Gaynor Owen, who is currently

head of the Modern Theatre dance faculty with the ISTD. Here she taught full time dance students

at the centre and children’s evening classes. After gaining teaching experience Helen completed

her qualifications by gaining her Licentiate Diploma (LISTD) in 1989, passing with distinction.

She taught for many happy years before marrying and settling in Holyhead.


After returning to Anglesey, Helen re-opened the Holyhead School of Dance in 1990. However, after demand for classes continued to grow and the formerly small school expanded, new branches were opened in Llanfair PG, and Bangor. During her maternity leave, Helen enlisted the help of Miss Michelle Harper to teach the pupils in her absence. Following the birth of her daughter Georgia in 1995, Miss Michelle continued to teach, allowing the school to grow further. The school now boasts branches in Holyhead, Llanfair PG, Bangor and Llandudno and as a result has now been renamed the

“Barton Dance and Drama Academy”.


Helen has taken the school to perform in the West End, performing at The Royal Albert Hall, London Palladium, Her Majesties Theatre and Sadler’s Wells theatres. The school has successfully entered competitions, gaining places in finals held at Sadler’s Wells and the Liverpool Empire, and has

twice won first place in the “Dawns Creuadigol” section of the National Eisteddfod. Many pupils

have taken part in the prestigious “Janet Cram Awards”, gaining places in the final in London.

The school was invited to perform at Disneyland Paris twice and Disneyworld Florida, performing in the

Magic Kingdom at the Fantasyland Theatre, and taking part in master classes with the Disney cast

having rave reviews from the Disney cast and crew. The Academy has appeared on television many times with “Uned 5” and “Stwnsh Sadwrn” for S4C, the children’s tv programme “Mas Draw” and on “See Hear Saturday” for the BBC. In 2006 the school performed on a Mediterranean cruise, performing in the main theatre of the ship for 7 nights, which was a wonderful experience for all involved.


The Academy has continued to go from strength to strength and Helen now employs three teachers,

as well as continuing to teach herself, in order to offer classes to each of the 400+ children and adults

in the school. She is currently the ISTD area organiser for North Wales and is responsible for

organising centre exams and courses for the region. In addition to all this, she is tutoring the

sixth form students at Holyhead High School in the dance element of the new

Performing Arts A-Level which the school now offers.


Helen is a qualified instructor of Pilates, Zumba, Zumbatomic, Zumbatoning, Bokwa

and the new FitSteps fitness craze currently sweeping the nation.


Each year the Academy prepares, rehearses and performs a fantastic variety show, with numbers ranging from ballet and tap, to disco and cheerleading. The Academy is currently working towards this year’s musical delight which will be held at Venue Cymru in Llandudno and Holyhead High School.

Helen Barton