Claire Still (Thompson)
Claire attended her first Ballet class at 3 years old, and her love for dance grew from there. At 6, she began attending classes in Ballroom and Latin, Street & Disco Freestyle, Rock 'n' Roll and Classical Sequence; all of which fall under the umbrella term of 'Dance Sport'.
Between the ages of 6 and 16 Claire entered ISTD (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing) examinations and competitions in all 5 Dance Sport genres. She set an aim with her dance teacher to achieve Gold Star standard before she was 12 years old (Juvenile) in all 5 genres, which she achieved. She then went on to complete her examinations to Gold Star level in the Junior age category in both her own role; and in a partnering role in preparation for professional work.
Her achievements include winning 6 National Championship Competitions; and 3 National Championship titles - Ballroom, Latin, Sequence in the same year.
Having always strived for a career in dance teaching, to share her passion with others, Claire turned professional at 16, taking her first qualification. From there she worked hard to complete her qualifications in 5 genres to Licentiate level, which allowed her to adjudicate at competitions and lecture on behalf of the ISTD. She has attained between 96% - 99% in all of her professional examinations, in both the practical and theory sections. Claire was also the first Dance Sport professional to complete the FDI and CDE examinations, for which she was used as a mock candidate to help train the examiners at ISTD headquarters.
In 2008 Claire was awarded the Phyllis Haylor scholarship by the ISTD - an award given to the most promising young professional. Just a year later she received the 'Coach of the Year' Award from the West Suffolk Sports Partnership, having been nominated by a number of individuals.
Claire presented her first lecture on behalf of the ISTD in 2009, and has lectured many many times to date, at annual congresses for all faculties; as well as assisting other lecturers. Recently on behalf of the ISTD's brand new Springboard event at Urdang Academy, London; along side other lecturers such as ITV's Britain's Got Talent Dance group 'Flawless' and members of the Royal Ballet School.
Claire now sits on the Modern Ballroom Faculty Committee for the ISTD, helping to shape the future of Ballroom Dance.
Building her school...
In 2003 at just 15, Claire opened up her first set of classes alongside her teacher. After gaining experience and leaving school Claire ran these alone working hard to build and expand the timetable; and those classes have been successfully running in the Newmarket area ever since.
As well as running the Newmarket classes Claire worked to develop more teaching work, and achieved an opening in a local primary school in Cambridgeshire - Foxton Primary. It started by running a before school club which this really took off, and she was soon approached by other local schools to run the same. Claire went on to teach during curriculum time in addition to the before and after school clubs, offering dance opportunities to all children. Twelve years on, and the strand of the Studio 'Funky Feet' , as it has been renamed, has and continues to work in many primary and middle schools across Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Suffolk.
After 7 years hard work, the most exciting venture, Claire achieved one of her dreams - she purchased the premises that is now The Studio - CT. After lots of planning, working and decorating, it was opened in October 2010, offering students the beautiful purpose built dance studio for their training. Five years on and The Studio has gone from strength to strength, adding many classes, and teachers, to its timetable both at the premises and at outside venues.
Pupils of The Studio - CT have been lucky including guest teaching and performances from the professionals of BBC's Strictly Come Dancing, the World Latin American Champions, and Masterclasses from West End cast members.