OUR HISTORY

ABOUT OUR PRINCIPAL, EILEEN EAGLE  LISTD

Eileen.jpgEileen – or Miss Eagle as she has been known to countless students over the years – has been involved in the world of dance, as both a professional dancer and a teacher, for over 60 years.

Having studied under Marie Rambert, founder of the world famous Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance in London and herself a pupil of Enrico Cecchetti, Eileen embarked on her professional dancing career in the mid-1950s as a full time dancer for Lew and Leslie Grade Ltd. At that time the Grade brothers were the most successful promoters in Europe, putting on variety shows across the UK. Eileen danced in many shows and in many styles of dance throughout the summer seasons and then in pantomimes throughout the winters. These shows were enormously popular at that time, and the dancers were kept very busy. The work was hard and the hours long, but it was also hugely rewarding. Even then though, Eileen knew that what she really wanted was to be teaching dance.

In 1960 she met her husband-to-be and moved back to her home of Southampton. She started to run dance classes at what is now The Gordon Hall, and the Eileen Eagle School of Dance was born. The School has been in the same place ever since.

Eileen has a wealth of experience and has established a great reputation for teaching strong technique, with dancers being sent to her from as far away as London for specialist coaching. She is a Licentiate Member of the ISTD as well as being a very active member of the Cecchetti Classical Ballet world, and has taught at Cecchetti Summer Schools held at Tring Park School for the Performing Arts. Eileen has also been in demand locally over the years, working with other arts bodies and choreographing pieces for their productions.

After over 50 years of teaching, Eileen is still very much an active ‘hands-on’ teacher who is as enthusiastic about the world of dance as she ever was. She loves dance with a passion and never tires of the thrill of seeing her pupils excel at dancing.

 

 ABOUT THE SCHOOL

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Eileen retired from full-time professional dancing in 1960 and established the Eileen Eagle School of Dance so that she could pass on her knowledge and experience to the following generations of dancers.

Since those early days, Eileen has taught hundreds of girls – and boys – to dance, with some notable successes along the way.

Past pupils have secured places at Chichester University, Arts Ed, Laine Theatre Arts, Bird College (Doreen Bird), Urdang and The Royal Ballet School. A high proportion of these have gone on to have successful careers of their own in dance and musical theatre, including parts in West End shows such as Thoroughly Modern Millie, Cats, Phantom of the Opera, as well as with the English National Ballet.

Eileen has always preferred to keep the School quite small, allowing young talent to be nurtured, which has resulted in some notable successes in the Cecchetti Southern Area Awards in Shoreham and the Mabel Ryan Awards in London. In fact, Eileen is still the only teacher to have a single pupil win in every category of the Mabel Ryan Awards. In addition, pupils past and present have also secured places on both the Cecchetti Junior Associate and the Royal Ballet Junior Associate schemes. And we have a 100% pass rate in our ballet, tap and modern exams too!

The School has its home at The Gordon Hall, Bitterne, where it has been based since the beginning, and has always been active in the local community, lending its services to school and church fêtes and collaborating with the Southampton Musical Society and other arts groups over the years. We also stage our own shows, at roughly 18-month intervals, and we sometimes even have past pupils return to join in the fun and even choreograph numbers based on the West End shows in which they have performed themselves.

Eileen continues to be a hands-on teacher, with enormous enthusiasm for all aspects of the dancing world, and the School continues to prosper under her leadership.