Sarah Wilson - Studio Owner and Principle
Sarah started singing and dancing at the age of 2 and has grown up performing all of her life, starting with pantomime child dancer roles when she was 7 years old, gigging and learning her trade performing in Pubs and Clubs from age 12 and performing in many musicals with local arts groups.
At age 16, Sarah moved to London to study at the prestigious Italia Conti Theatre School where she was on the 3 Year Musical Theatre Diploma Course.
In 2007 Sarah entered TV Show “The X Factor” with her brother Sean as part of Same Difference where she reached the final and gained a record deal with Simon Cowells record label “Syco”. She went on to tour the length and breadth of the country, performing to thousands of people at various venues including Wembley, The Palladium and the O2 arena. During this time she also utilised her passion for presenting and acting with roles in many children’s TV shows including ‘Danis House’ ‘Genie in the House’ ‘Smile TV’ and ‘Toonattic’ to name a few.
Sarah then founded ‘Same Difference Pop Academy’ and decided to pass her passion for performing onto the next generation. This led to her touring the country teaching children how to perform and put on a show.
In 2015, Sarah decided that she no longer wanted to tour the country and wished to settle in her hometown of Portsmouth. She studied to achieve her teaching qualifications with Elizabeth Harris at The International Dance Teacher Association and SD Studios was born!
Sarah said “I absolutely adore teaching the children that come through the doors at SD Studios. I started a Dance School because I love to nurture talent and to see them grow into wonderful performers. I feel like SD Studios is more of a family than a business and I adore working alongside families to unlock their children’s potential. I have a passion for singing and dancing myself and it is so exciting when I see this in the younger generation. Performing Arts is a great way for children to express themselves, find inner confidence and meet new friends. My favourite part of my job is putting on the shows and feeling the excitement and energy from our students when they are performing. I love all the children like they are my own and feel proud as punch at all of their achievements
Jamie Wilson - Studio Owner and Business Manager
Jamie is the Studio Owner and runs the business side of SD Studios. He studied at Newcastle University where he gained a degree in Marketting and Management.
Where he is not a performer himself he has had a lot of experience in the music and performing industry including producing events for the likes of Butlins, Haven and P&O, travelling the country as a tour manager and working as an agent placing performers in suitable jobs.
Jamie is the first port of call at the studios if you wish to discuss payments, uniform or to get the best coffee in town!
Jamie said “I really enjoy running SD Studios. I have a lot of dealings with the parents and I enjoy meeting all the families and getting to know them. The best part of my job is seeing the students progress year on year at our annual show. It is the best feeling watching them all on the stage as they all become like family.
Miss Laura - Tour Teams, Ballet, Tap and Musical Theatre
Laura started dancing at the age of 3 at a local baby ballet class in Bedhampton. At the age of 4, she moved to Southsea School of Dance where she continued to train until she was 18 years old. As most senior students do, at the age of 14 Laura assisted the younger classes which led to her love of teaching. She also taught ballet at the Portsmouth Grammar School.
During this time, she attended South Downs College where she gained 3 Distinctions in BTEC Dance and an A in AS Dance.
Laura also attended Portsmouth Players Theatre 11-18 where she met Sarah. Here she performed in many roles such as Fantine in Les Miserables and Lorraine Flemming in 42nd Street.
Laura continued her training at Performers College, Essex where she passed her remaining senior dance exams, gained her ISTD teaching qualifications and graduated with a Diploma in Professional Musical Theatre and Dance. Over the 3 years at Performers, she performed at corporate events and assisted and taught at their junior school.
Upon leaving, she attended GSA for a year to then graduate with a 2:1 BA Honours in Theatre.
Laura went on to teach at another dance school before joining the team at SD, firstly at their intense weekly courses (Pop Academy) and then at the studios.
During the day, Laura is a secondary school teacher, currently at Oakland’s Catholic School. Here she teaches Drama and Music, and also choreographs and assistant directs their school productions. She spent 2 years as an LSA before becoming a teacher and has undergone extensive training to learn and be able to work with those with additional needs.
A strict but fair teacher, Laura always ensures she is getting the best out of the students. She works them hard and creates a good bond between them. With her love for the students, combined with the love for her craft, she is a credit to the team.
Miss Ellesha - Ballet, Tap and Modern, Pop Academy, Street and Contemporary
Ellesha started dancing at The Brenda Horner School of dancing, at the age of 2. Upon the dancing school moving to Byfleet, Ellesha carried on her dance training at Victoria School of Dancing. It was here that under the guidance of principle and head of the ISTD Tap faculty, Patricia Hurlings, that Ellesha started teaching and choreographing. Ellesha completed her dance teacher training under Paddy, before being awarded a scholarship to attend The London Studio Centre.
After 3 years of intensive dance and performing arts training, Ellesha graduated with a 2:1 BA Honours degree in Performance Art.
Ellesha landed her first professional job in her third year at college, being 1 of 6 girls dancing with the prestigious Tap Dogs at Buckingham Palace for the Prince’s Trust.
Other professional work includes: Professional
Cast in the London 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony. BBC Proms: The Broadway Sound. 42nd Street Gala at the London Palladium. Dancer in various Bollywood films and corporate events.
Ellesha has a wealth of knowledge and experience as both a performer, teacher and choreographer. She is strict, but loves the children immensely, and her passion for performing and keen eye ensures that she makes them the best that they can be.
MISS SOPHIA - Cheerleading, Disco, Freestyle and Musical Theatre
I am currently in my third year of BA (Hons) Musical Theatre Performance degree at The University of Chichester Conservatoire. Performing is my world and I have been apart of a wide plethora of shows in countless theatres since a very young age.
The styles of dance that I’ve trained in are ballet, jazz, tap, modern, contemporary, musical theatre, street dance and commercial. Watching others perform in shows and concerts inspires me to be up on stage performing just like them.
The only other thing I love as much as performing is teaching. Nothing else gives that sense of joy and achievement as helping and watching your students grow and thrive.
MISS LIV - Ballet, Tap and Acro
I have been studying performing arts since a very young age, performing innumerable amount of different musical productions, plus other various shows. During this time, i have accomplished four diplomas in dance and soon hope to to achieve a degree qualification in musical theatre. In terms of my dance training, i am trained in Ballet, Tap, Modern, Jazz, Contemporary, Lyrical, Musical Theatre, Street Dance, Commercial and Acrobatics. What inspired most to start performing was the amazing talents and work of a famous performer known as Donald O’Connor, best known for his role in the movie musical Singin’ In The Rain. Performing as well as the performing art industry holds a great place in my heart and i am so appreciative of how it was help become the person i am today. Teaching also holds a place in my heart and is great passion of mine. Teaching is not the easiest job in the world, but just by being able to impact students in a way, helping them to achieve things that they couldn’t before is just a blessing in its self. To see the smile on their faces makes it all worth it.