Past Alumni

Mathilde Barker - studying at Laine Theatre Arts

I started ballet, contemporary and modern classes at Katie Ventress School of Dance in 2017, up until I left in July 2021. 

As the years went on, I realised that I wanted to seriously think about my career in dance and what I would need to do to achieve a successful future in what I love most. 

My teachers here advised me to take on tap, which I did, and start taking a few exams (which I had never done up until this point). 

At the age of 16, I started tap, and soon after I achieved a distinction in my grade 6 tap exam. 

In addition, when I was in Y10 at school, I asked Katie if I could assist her in classes for 2 weeks for my work experience. I’ve always had a passion for teaching so I knew this would be the perfect opportunity. Katie then offered me a Saturday job assisting and I eventually started taking my own ballet classes on Saturday morning. I was so grateful for this experience to expand my skills. 

I enjoyed classes here, the teachers were fantastic and I learned a lot during my time. The atmosphere in classes allowed me to have a nice break from life’s stresses and I looked forward to having time in the studio. 


Then, unfortunately, covid struck, and dancing on zoom was extremely challenging for me. I also had the task of taping and sending off all of my audition videos as I had decided to apply for Musical Theatre courses at renowned colleges in and around London. My determination didn’t stop me and with help from my teacher Laura - I sent off auditions for over 10 colleges. 

I was extremely lucky to be awarded a place at Laine Theatre Arts which is the most prestigious Musical Theatre college with an outstanding reputation. I couldn’t believe it (I still can’t and I’ve been here a year!) I felt so happy to be continuing with what I loved most. 

In September 2021, I moved to Epsom, Surrey, to start my training at Laine Theatre Arts. The step up from a hobby to a career was immense. The commitment required for this industry is unimaginable and you have to be ready for setbacks and obstacles on the way. 

Since training here at Laine, I have been offered a job in the children’s department - teaching and assisting tap, ballet, contemporary, body conditioning, and modern classes on a Saturday. I have also achieved a distinction in my ISTD intermediate modern exam and am taking my teaching exam in a week to be qualified to teach modern theatre dance. 


I can only thank everyone at Katie Ventress School of Dance for the experience I had that has led me to where I am today. I am living the dream at Laine Theatre Arts and feel so lucky to be here. I couldn’t have done it without my KV teachers.

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