Juliet Ratnage - Principal
My name is Juliet and I'm the principal of the Juliet Ratnage School of Performing Arts. I actually started dancing myself at the tender age of three at a local school here in Milton Keynes. My mum, who used to dance herself, took me along and, as they say, I took to it like a duck to water. I was actually trained in my earlier years by Kathleen Woollard and Myra Tiffin and was always taking part in festivals and competitons, gaining many trophies and awards. I was even nominated by my comprehensive school for a national competition, 'Champion Children Of The Year' and reached the final three out of thousands. If I wasn't dancing then I could be found taking part in local amatuer productions and pantomimes and performing at every opportunity.
At sixteen I successfully auditioned for the Italia Conti Academy of Performing Arts, in London, and so began three years of my life that, although hard work, I loved every minute of. During my final year I was given the title of Head Girl and when I finished my course, I walked out from the academy with five teaching qualifications in both dance and drama. This was something which had never been achieved before and at our award ceremony I received the title 'Student of the Year'. I then stepped out into the big wide world and spent ten years travelling all over the world performing. This included countries such as Portugal, Greece, Turkey and Japan until I finally decided it was time to hang up the fishnets and turn to my teaching.
I was very lucky as my timing couldn't have been any better. Gaynor Cameron, a student I knew from Mrs Woollard's classes, had a well established school and was looking for someone to take over the teaching of her tap and modern classes, and so began the next paragraph of my life. I don't mind saying that I was very nervous on my first day but enjoyed every minute and haven't looked back since. As the school grew Gaynor and I went into a partnership and then, in 2005, Gaynor retired and I achieved a life time dream and become the pround owner of my very own dancing school.
The school has gone from strength to strength with many of our students going on to full time performing arts colleges and working professionally themselves. It is great to see them all living the dream, as I did. I always try to encourage the students to take part in as many opportunities to perform, as I loved it so much myself and it builds their confidence so much for later in their lives. That's why, as a school, we are always taking part in performances at such prestigious venues as Sadlers Wells, The Royal Albert Hall, Disneyland Paris aswell as participating in professional pantomimes and touring productions at both Milton Keynes Theatre and the Derngate at Northampton.
When I am not teaching I am always organising something and love to choregraph. For the past five years I have been associated with the Milton Keynes Amateur Operatic Society in productions such as 'Chess' to Sussical the Musical'. My absolute favourites are the pantomimes as they are filled with so much magic and I am known for being such a Disney fan. Ask any of my friends at MKAOS and I am known for the phrase ' this next bits easy..... honest!' But the boot is on the other foot this year as, not only am I choreographying, but I will also be appearing in their production in June 2009 of 'Boogie Nights'
So, that's a little bit about myself and my dancing school. I pride myself that I set high standards but at the same time try to ensure that the students are having fun. If you want more information give us a call and come and meet us, new students are always welcome, they are the performers of tomorrow.