Dance class for chart toppers of the future

THE next generation of popstars are being bred in Hampstead, with the launch of a new dance academy in the Town Hall

Marc Mullen

THE next generation of popstars are being bred in Hampstead, with the launch of a new dance academy in the Town Hall.

The Popstars Academy kicks off at the Haverstock Hill venue on May 15 with the aim of fostering talent amongst four to 11-year-olds.

The academy is the brainchild of Keziah Straw from Fitzjohn's Avenue.

The 26-year-old dance instructor says she can't wait to start teaching and is undaunted by the challenge: "I have been running parties and running popstar classes in Buckinghamshire for a couple of years now and you find the kids really get into the swing of it quite easily.

"The lessons last 45 minutes which is just about the right length of time for children that age. They can concentrate for about that long."

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Ms Straw starting dancing and entering competitions at the tender age of three.

After getting a BTEC in performing arts from North Nottinghamshire College, she began teaching and choreographing across south Yorkshire and then London.

She has been running Popstars, High School Musical and Grease-themed parties for children around the area.

The last six months have been spent trying to find an NW3 location for regular classes after she bought her own franchise for north west London from the Popstars Academy.

As well as Hampstead Town Hall, she will be giving lessons at the Kingsgate Community Centre in West Hampstead.

She said: "It has all been going incredibly smoothly, touch wood. The Town Hall is a beautiful building and the rooms are specially made for performing, which is great.

"The Kingsgate Centre is great too, although not quite as stunning a building."

Children will learn choreographed dance routines to many of the current chart toppers.

They will also get to use props such as pom poms, blow up guitars, glitter, microphones and hats.

"They will learn techniques so that they can develop their skills. Boys are welcome too," added Ms Straw.

"We will do a show every summer so parents can see their children performing. If they go all the way through, by the time they finish they should be quite good dancers.

"It would be fabulous for our academy if in 10 years' time any of our dancers turned professional."

The Popstars Academy at Hampstead Town Hall starts on Thursday May 15, with classes for children in years one and two at 4.30pm and from 5.15pm for years three to six.

At the Kingsgate Centre on Kingsgate Road classes will be held on Wednesdays from May 21.

The lessons will be held during term time and each session costs £6, with payment per term.

Ms Straw is also offering free trials. Anyone interested should call her on 020-7681 7719 to book.