National Dyslexia Awareness Week. A note from Miss Daisy

I am Miss Daisy and I run Tiny Toes Ballet Bristol and South Gloucestershire. Here is my story about why I teach dance and why I chose Tiny Toes Ballet.

When I was two and half years old my mum and dad took me to my first ballet class. They had no dance background and had no idea how much dance would shape my life and theirs. Like many children I attended ballet class once a week and danced around the home in my tutu’s with my doll’s, trying to teach my parents how to plie and spin just like me.

When I went to school it was clear from a young age I was not academic and struggled to keep up with my class mates. At the age of 6 I was diagnosed with Dyslexia and Dyscalculia which explained why I struggled to keep up in class. Throughout my years in school I continued to fall behind but luckily I had my escape- dance. This is where I excelled, in Ballet, Tap and Modern.

Dance was my escape from the sadness I had in school from not understanding what was going on. School can be a hard place if you can’t read what’s on the white board, do simple adding and taking away. I never understood why I was different. All I knew was I spent most of my early school years upset at why I couldn’t do what the other children could. I never got my pen license (those of you that don’t know what this is, its a little card saying you can graduate from using a pencil to a pen) To this day I’m still waiting for that piece of paper.

When I reached 10 years old I was still behind my peers, although I was excelling in non-academic subjects. So my parents decided to send me to a private school for the smaller classes and one to one help. I owe a lot to Colton’s Girl School and the teachers there who helped me find a determination and strength to learn to read, write and problem solve my own way ,which in turn helped me gain 8 GCSE’s. I learnt so much in my 6 years at the school. They nurtured my differences rather than trying to push them away and I take these lessons with me every day. They have a massive impact on the way I run my business and dance classes.

While at school I continued to dance 5/6 days a week and also competed at local dance eisteddfod’s and performed in many shows. Dance has always been my escape and the one thing I felt I excelled in. It helped me out on days when I felt too dumb to understand what was happening in school.  I always knew I wanted to perform on a stage in front of lots of people but after an injury which resulted in not being able to dance to a high enough level to perform, I went into teaching. After 3 years of teaching experience, I decided I wanted to open up my own dance school. I looked into lots of different ideas and when I met Emma on a Royal Academy of Dance course where she told me about how she teaches, I was very intrigued. After looking into Tiny Toes Ballet I realised this was exactly what I was looking for. A dance programme that allows me to share my love of dance to children but also educate them at the same time. If I learned anything growing up and I am still learning, it is that not every child learns the same way and the school environment isn’t for everyone. I wish I had a dance programme when I was younger that taught me, for example, to count.  My passion for teaching grows every day from seeing the small to the huge improvements in each pupil. Whether it’s them growing in confidence to gallop without a parent, learning to count to 8, walking on their tips toes or being able to tell me their name. I don’t just provide dance classes. I provide a safe space that every child feel’s they can explore who they want to be, what they’re good at and most importantly enjoy the classes while learning.

Tiny Toes Ballet means a lot to me and I hope that show’s in the classes I teach. I may not be the fastest to reply to emails ( things that might take most people 5 minutes to reply to could take me 30 minutes), my Facebook post’s or emails might not be grammatically correct or be spelt incorrectly but I try my best, and in my eyes everything I write makes sense. If you see me using my fingers to count your change in class just know that’s my way of working it out not. I will continue to work my hardest to pass on my love and knowledge, to every pupil.

Thank you Emma and your wonderful concept of Tiny Toes Ballet for allowing me to run your programme and giving me something I feel so passionate about.

And thank you to all the parents for trusting me to provide dance classes to your children and putting up with my emails that might not always make sense (If you ever don’t understand my emails please tell me and I’ll try again) I know Dyslexia and Dyscalculia may be hard to understand if you don’t have it and it can come across like I’m being lazy in my responses like I’ve not checked them. But please know I checked the reply at least 10x and to me it reads perfectly.

And lastly thank you to my students past and present and future for turning up each week willing to learn and allowing me to watch you grow as a dancer and watch your personality develop. I look forward to continuing watching you grow and hopefully carrying on your dance journey with you.

Miss Daisy