Alison Axford LISTD AISTD Dip
Jo Denham ARAD RTS, AISTD DDE
Head of Ballet
Alison started dancing at the age of four, attending Ballet and Acrobatic classes, and six years later she won the All England Acrobatic Championships two years running. Alison also studied Modern, Tap, Greek, Singing, Drama and National. Having worked her way up through the major exams, she passed her Advanced 2 Tap and Modern with Honours. Since moving to Devon in 1988, Alison gained her ISTD Associate Diploma in Tap with Distinction and also a Licentiate of the ISTD in Modern.
Over the years, Alison has been very proud to see her school perform locally as well as in London and at Disneyland Paris. She has continually been thrilled to see many seniors progress on to further dance colleges, building on their success in festivals, excellent exam results and professionally staged bi-annual school shows. "To see my past pupils dance their way onto television, cruise ships, professional dance companies and the West End stage is so satisfying!" She is very passionate about teaching and thrives on the enjoyment the children feel as they take part. It is also very rewarding to see her students progress on to vocational dance schools and moreover secure their future with employment in the arts profession.
Enjoying family life and creating that family atmosphere at the school is what Alison builds her foundations on. Getting the best out of every pupil, happy in the knowledge that in every lesson every pupil in her classes has gone home having learnt something is what makes teaching so rewarding.
Jo trained with Ann Lovell and Pamela de Waal before moving to London to study at the Royal Ballet School. Before starting at the school she had won the All England young dancer of the year and the ISTD young dancer of the year.
Whilst studiying at the Royal Ballet School she won the Ursula Moreton Choreographic Competition and the John Field Memorial Award and went on a national tour with the Birmingham Royal Ballet. Injuries put a stop to a dancing career after that, so she qualified to teach both RAD ballet and ISTD modern and tap.
She began working at some of London's top dance schools; Arts Educational Schools London (for 10 years) and Performers College, as well as cover teaching at Urdang, Elmhurst and Italia Conti Associates.
She also worked extensively as a choreographer for the National Youth Ballet of Great Britain, Surrey Youth Ballet and The Place
Guest teacher & choreographer
Jennifer Alden ISTD Teacher and choreographer
We welcome Jennifer to our full time team as Modern, Jazz, Tap, Contemporary and commercial teacher - there is no end to her extensive talents!
Jennifer, as a lot of you will know, already choreographs festival work for the school and has herself won the All England Final in London with a modern solo and a modern trio. She is well established in the festival world and is keen to give back to pupils who are currently studying and walking in her footsteps at the Alison Axford Theatre School.
After a steady professional dancer’s life, she is now settling down and is happy to engage in your festival requests. A very talented young lady who can turn her hand to pretty much any genre of dance!
Miles has a wealth of experience on the professional stage as well as behind the scenes as a choreographer. He has worked all over the world and it is so humbling to know that as a past pupil of mine, he is really keen to come back and work on festival dances at ground level again.
He often makes time to take some guest classes here at the studios and is very keen to become more involved in creating festival work in the summer months during his less busy times.
Guest teacher and choreographer
Richard, now director of his own contemporary dance company, and a wealth of professional experience, is very keen to help out with festival work for his former dance school at our studios.
Richard’s forte is contemporary although he is a very talented young man and can put his hand to various different genres. He has recently been working in Germany with a new piece he has created, but has happily agreed to be available for creating festival work when he regularly visits home.