Three local showbusiness professionals are out to change the future face of entertainment.
As part of its recent makeover the well established Nicky Figgins Centre Stage Academy has teamed up with actress and director Emma Louise Bennett of Entertaiments Enterprise and professional singer Tracey Jordan to offer a three pronged training in all aspects of showbusiness.
Nicky, a former professional dancer who recently took over full control of the Bispham based academy, says she hand picked her new partners because of their experience and showbusiness background.
“After six years of working so hard in the school and establishing waiting lists in every class it was always going to be hard to meet people who had the same high standards as myself but with Tracey and Emma things are perfect,” said Nicky, who graduated from the Merseyside Dance and Drama Centre with a dance diploma and teacher’s degree and toured the world in Spirit of the Dance as lead dancer.
“We have teamed up because we want to, because we get on well and because we have all learned our skills over the years – the hard way.”
Tracey, a well known figure on the cabaret and clubland scene, said: “Too many youngsters today think that they can just walk on to a stage and that’s it, they’ve made it. What they don’t realise is the discipline and training that goes behind a professional performance – whether that’s singing, dancing, acting or all three. We want to instil that discipline.”
Emma added: “It’s about knowing how to promote yourself and having the right technique. There are so many different aspects to look at and what we want to do is prepare youngsters for the professional life by passing on our knowledge.”
Nicky says she is aware of how many talented youngsters there are in the area but added that a lot of them want things too easy – or are “too cocky in their attitude”.
“There are a lot of opportunities in the big cities but the regions tend to be forgotten and that’s one of the things we want to put right,” said Emma.
A school, is only as good as its teachers, they all agree but Nicky says that with waiting lists for all her current classes and new classes now available in zumba, street dance and ballroom (all ages) and “the fact I teach Irish all ages as well as tap, jazz, modern, ballet and even pop video and ballet/tap from two and half years upwards” the success of her enterprise speaks for itself.
“I really have worked so hard in the last six years to put everything I know into these kids (and adults) and that is why I’m so excited to be bringing Tracey and Emma in to add to the team which already includes Gavin Field who performed in 42nd street in the West End and Wei Wei Wu who is a prima ballerina.”
She added that the new look academy wasn’t out to pinch talent from anywhere else rather than train a new generation of all rounders to fill what was fast becoming a showbusiness vacuum. It’s not exactly healthy at the moment is it?” said Nicky. “Look at the summer scene. It’s top heavy with long established names and missing out on showcases for younger talent and newcomers. Where are the production shows? I suppose I’m on a bit of mission. I’m trying to get across what I learned in 17 years of shows and touring – and now I have added drama and singing to that as well.”
All young students sign a proper contract and are expected to wear the academy’s uniform.
“It’s not a youth club,” she says. “They are here to learn and there’s a regime that goes with it.
“We are the only school which has a team of youngsters in show after show – not just out own annual production.
“The reward is seeing the change in confidence and attitude,” added Emma.
Nicky and some of her students can be seen performing in Tazz On Tour tomorrow at All Hallows for Trinity Hospice (for tickets call 07969 847760.)
The new look classes start from Saturday. More details from Nicky (07708 642908), Emma (07974 658221) or Tracey (07717 285554).