Dolly Banks-Baddiel has been a Rona Hart student since she was 2 years old. Here is Dolly’s story in her own words.
I started at Rona Hart at the age of two, taking weekly baby ballet lessons. I remember my lovely teacher discussing what was behind the diamond window of our demi pliés and being careful not to wake up the sleeping mice with our gallops and, of course, practicing our good toes and naughty toes. I started jazz lessons aged six, which opened a whole world of excitement that I had never encountered before: the step ball changes and kicks took some getting used to, but jazz at Rona Hart soon became the highlight of my week.
It wasn’t until I was around eleven that I started to take things more seriously. Encouraged by all of my wonderful teachers, I began focusing more on my ballet, taking the Cecchetti exams with my peers, while continuing working in jazz, which had become more technical by this point.
At fifteen I was accepted onto the Cecchetti Associates program, and soon after I decided I wanted to have a career in dance. I continued taking lessons at Rona Hart throughout sixth form, working towards my Advanced 1 ballet and Intermediate Modern; in summer 2019, I passed both with merit and distinction respectively.
During my year off, I continued to train in the Cecchetti material with Miss Janine, whose incredible knowledge and passion for the work made lessons so inspiring and joyful. In early 2020, I auditioned for vocational schools and colleges, eventually deciding on the Classical Ballet course at London Studio Centre, where I’m currently in my second year. While intense and always challenging, I absolutely love the course and am so grateful to be training there.
What I’m also grateful for, though, are the many many memories and experiences that Rona Hart gave me. Throughout my teenage years, Rona Hart was a safe haven where I could immerse myself completely in the thing I loved to do the most, and I will always be indebted to the amazing teachers that fostered my passion for all those years.